Gardening When It Counts likes the thought experiment. You know, the author likes to ask questions like, "What if I no longer was able to irrigate my garden? What could I grow in my climate?"
Or: "What if had to create a garden with no outside input? If I had no access to any kind of garden nutrients created outside of my own homestead? What could I grow?"
Or: "What if I had one season to grow all the food my family was going to eat that year, and was starting a garden from scratch? What should I grow?"
The answer to the first two questions is probably, 1) cacti and stinging nettle, and 2) for just about everyone, not really possible long term, although we can greatly reduce our outside input.
I need do no further research to answer the third question. Kale will just not stop growing. It doesn't care about the weather; it thrives with only the tiniest sips of water; it's not picky about soil.
We had mountains of kale all winter long, cooked in every concievable way.
I heard on the Natural Gardener that you should clear out all cruciferous veggies by March 1, or various kinds of cruciferous-loving bugs will overrun the garden. So I did.
Here's my harvest.
I blanched and froze I-don't-know-how-many bags of kale.
By the way, look closely and you can see a small cabbage peeking out from underneath the kale -- the last one of the season.
But the kale wasn't finished with me yet. Oh, no. See Part II for Son of Kale.