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Tenaya’s Kale Infinitum

Today I completed a process that has taken a year from start to finish. Last year our friend Tenaya gave us (Marcia and Todd) a single baby kale plant. I planted the little thing in the corner of a raised bed, and the little thing grew to be a hearty and singular kale plant in a bed of broccoli. After we’d gotten a dozen helpings of kale leaves from the plant, I let her go to flower and then to seed over the winter. Eventually, the plant grew to a majestic height of eight feet and made hundreds and hundreds of long slender seed pods. I only needed a hundred or so seeds for planting a couple new beds of kale, so I wondered what I might do with the surplus. I shared my wondering with our friend Marion who was visiting from England, and she said, “Well, people pay good money to buy little bags of kale seeds for making sprouts.” Voila.

I waited until the seed pods began to open of their own volition in the garden and then harvested them in a big brown paper bag which I left near, but not too near, the woodstove for a few days. When the pods were mostly yellow and dry, I reached into the bag and squeezed the pods and broke them and shook the bag and squeezed the pods some more and shook the bag some more, and then I dumped the works into a big stainless steel bowl and started sorting out the empty pods and opening up the less cooperative pods to release their seeds. Eventually, I got the bowl full of seeds you see in the accompanying picture. Close to two cups. From one kale plant. This will make many big batches of delicious sprouts. Yum.

By the way, the bowl in the picture was given to Marcia twenty-five years ago by the same Tenaya who gave us the kale plant, and we thought Tenaya would be surprised and possibly impressed to see what her wonderful gift has so far turned into. I say so far because fifty baby kale plants grown from seeds from Tenaya’s gift are on their way to becoming more food and flowers and pods and seeds. Wow! Isn’t nature wonderful? Truly the gift that keeps on giving.

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