I love having different varieties and who knew there were so many varieties of kale to choose from and so many names for the same variety. There are only a few that I've seen at the grocery store (dinosaur, red russian and curly). Baker Creek, where I got most of my seeds from this year, has 9 different varieties to choose from while Territorial Seed had 16! I narrowed my selections for this year down to 6. One of the seed packets I received was a "Wild Garden Mix" which I originally thought was a single variety but as the starts grew I realized it was actually a mix of three varieties. The varieties are not listed on the seed packet but I think I've figured out what they are (blue curled, dinosaur and red russian).
- Premier (Early Hanover) - This is a newer variety I received from Mike the Gardener's seeds of the month club. It has large, smooth, dark green leaves up to a foot long and grows 12-15" tall and 12" wide. This variety is cold hardy. 55-65 days to maturity.
- Vates Blue Curled - I got these seeds on sale at the end of last season from Seattle Seed Co. The blue-green leaves are curly and more rigid than other varieties and grows to 15" tall and up to 24" wide. Best used as a garnish or in soups and stir fries. 50-60 days to maturity.
- Tronchuda (Portuguese & Sea Kale) - This variety came from Baker Creek which I found on sale at a local nursery for 50% off. This variety is more heat tolerant than other varieties and can also take a freeze. The leaves are very large (up to 24"), flat and round, similar to collards but with white veins. This variety tastes more like cabbage and was previously called Tronchuda Cabbage, a non-heading cabbage variety. Grows 12-24" tall and 24-36" wide. 50-60 days to maturity.
- Scarlet - I received this variety through a local seed exchange but Baker Creek was the original source for the seeds. This is probably the most beautiful of the kales. The tightly curled leaves are dark green/purple. It grows 24-36" tall and 24" wide. 60 days to maturity.
- Red Russian (Siberian & Ragged Jack) - This one came from the Wild Garden Mix from Seattle Seed Co. This variety is cold and heat hardy with tender oak looking blue-green leaves with purple veins. It grows 2-3' tall and 12" wide. 50-60 days to maturity.
- Dinosaur (Lacinato & Tuscan) - This is one of the most common varieties and is the other variety I chose to plant from the Wild Garden Mix from Seattle Seed Co. The rigid dark blue-green blistered/bumpy leaves are long and narrow and curl in at the sides. It is cold and heat hardy and grows to 2' tall and 2' wide. 60 days to maturity.