The kale we planted in the cold frames last fall is going crazy. The hot weather this march has made things look like midsummer for the leafy greens in people’s gardens across town; parsley, sage, chard, even leaf lettuces have been blooming like it’s July, and the kale from our cold frames was bolting up at the frame lights with spires of flowers when we came to take the lids off. While we’ve been here for spring break, the group of OSWAMP gardeners have had several meals featuring kale from the garden, and it’s been growing back strong even through regular pruning.
It’s not that the plants are huge, but they’re putting out flowers like they’re nearing the end of their season, which I guess means the cold frames worked. I think if they were better insulated, we might have seen bigger plants. Though things like this make me look back on my experience setting out plants in my garden last summer; the tomatillos we put out from starts seemed to be incredibly productive very early, but their fruit was not the size you’d expect from a mature plant. A farmer I know told me it may be that the plants were stressed by the transplant, and were adaptively inclined to put out ripe fruit prematurely to keep their genes in the pool. I wonder if the kale, which looks too young to be sprouting flowers, was stunted during its winter in the cold frames and is really producing seeds at a regular time, or it’s stressed by the fluctuations in temperature. I think, in this case, it’s the former, which is good news! Yay cold frames!