Heirloom. Good looks and great taste combine in Lacinato kale, which makes a striking addition to any garden setting. Dark blue-green to black leaves often have a heavily crinkled texture, which inspires one of its many common names, dinosaur kale. The flattened leaves are perfect for making kale chips. This kale dates to 18th-century Italy, which is why it’s also called Tuscan kale. Thomas Jefferson grew it in his garden at Monticello.
Kale is a super food, and Lacinato leaves extend excellent health benefits, lowering cholesterol, fighting cancer, and decreasing inflammation. Prepare leaves steamed, sautéed, or roasted. Kale is a classic fall flavor and combines nicely with garlic, peppers, chickpeas, sausage, squash, and apples.
A cold-hardy vegetable, kale leaves sweeten after frost. In northern regions, leave a few plants in the garden to harvest after the snow flies.
- Light: Full sun to part shade
- Leaf size: 6- to 18-inch long
- Matures: 45+ days
- Plant spacing: 18 to 24 inches apart
- Plant size: 2 to 3 feet wide and tall
* Photos and description courtesy of Bonnie Plants.