Barbara Damrosch’s Washington Post column today is about couve tronchuda, otherwise known as Portuguese kale or cabbage – you should go read it, but basically it’s a rave. And I agree.
I just started growing this collard relative last year, and I’m already very fond of it, for its taste and culinary usefulness, for its gorgeous appearance, and for its relative heat tolerance (as these things go for brassicas).
Not a great photo (from last May), but I think it gives you an idea of how attractive this plant is in the garden, with those great big white stems and veins. Unfortunately, it’s not any more bug resistant than other cabbage family relatives, but at least since the structure is open it’s easier to get the caterpillars out. Or you can of course use floating row cover. You can grow it from spring into early summer, and then again in fall (but not winter, unless you have a greenhouse – really cold temperatures will kill it).
Here are this year’s seedlings – probably started a bit too early, since the growth rate of tronchuda is more like kale or collards than like traditional cabbage:
But I’ll have some nice big plants to go into the ground in early April.