Kale provides life lessons. Before it has sprouted it is just a pretty picture in the Johnny's seed cataglog. So much promise and youthful adventure in such names as Toscano, Russian Red. First romance comes to mind in the Sunrise variety. All those glossy photos show what kale can be; unblemished, blight free.
This year I planted too much kale. This happens in spring we make promises that we can only mostly keep. There is energy to keep kale under floating row cover. Swattled against flea beetle. Powdered with diatomaceous earth to deter slug and cabbage worm. So much care given to tender micro greens with the hope of growing a robust provider.
However, by summer kale turns bitter with heat while my attentions turns to more fleeting vegetables like sweet peas and cherry tomatoes. It can't be helped. There is so many diversions. But by autumn time is measured by chores completed: the wood is stacked, the apples sauced, the socks are darned.
The garden is emptied, brown and rotted. Withered by a few frosts and the neglect that comes with too many green tomatoes and not enough time. There are a few cabbages left to pick and brussel sprouts have yet to have their day. Pumpkins are still be to pied and carved. And when it is all has been canned, frozen or put by for the shorter days, Kale will still be standing like green sentinels in the garden. Mature in its flavor after a touch of frost when so much else succumbs to the season.
Kale persists. Thank goodness for that.