How to garden in a concrete crack; or kale will grow almost anywhere

April 15th, 2016

I was doing some tidying up in the “back yard” of our rental house where we’re living while we’re building our forever home and I moved this plastic adirondack style chair and what did I see under it? Boom:

Kale Growing Through a Concrete Crack

Kale Growing Through a Concrete Crack

A 16 inch tall kale plant. What is this sorcery? I’ve planted kale this Spring in my garden, it is, 3 or 4 inches tall. I planted kale late last fall, some of it survived the winter, and it is doing even worse, even smaller, than the stuff newly planted this Spring. So where did this bit of tuscan kale come from? Did I drop a seed last fall, have it germinate, and through the protection of the slatted adirondack chair get just enough insulation to thrive? We even had some serious flooding rains in December or January where an inch of water was flowing over this spot for a good time.

Or was it a seed I dropped this Spring that grew super fast because under this concrete is a cache of super soil?

I’m not sure really, if I had to guess I would say it is likely a seed I dropped last fall that germinated this Spring and has managed through just a little bit of shelter and warmth to thrive. Heat really is perhaps the most under appreciated aspect of gardening and or plant growth. Seeds need certain soil temperatures to germinate, and plants need certain heat levels to grow well (but of course, if it gets too hot, their growth will slow). A little shelter, a little insulation, a little chair provided microclimate was just enough for this little kale plant to take off.

And now, I get to eat it.

What can be learned from this? To quote Dr. Malcolm from Jurassic Park “Life finds a way.” Or, you really don’t need that much space to garden.

4 Responses to “How to garden in a concrete crack; or kale will grow almost anywhere”

  1. Justin  Says:

    Dude, Kale is best! It even grows in Vegas, where I’m from. Low maintenance and pack full of goodies.

    – Justin

  2. Janice Goole  Says:

    Enjoyed your blog. It is amazing where things will grow and thrive. Several years back we planted sweet peas in our garden. In the fall we pulled the plants and disposed of them. Evidently, when they passed over an area where we had river rock they seeded themselves. The next year we had a very colorful river rock are with beautiful, colorful sweet peas.

  3. Mike  Says:

    Brassica are by far one of the easiest seeds to germinate. I grow red winter kale and have for years it will survive some surprising frosts. There is one surprising effect from the frost the leaves begin to grow 1/4 or less there original size, from the same plant that grew all summer with big bountiful leaves. That might explain its dwarfism.

  4. Vidyut  Says:

    I know this feeling, except with mint. I grow in containers and when I started, maybe mint didn’t like my soil mix or something, but it was willing to grow anywhere except the pot I planted it in, it seemed. I even found it growing in some damp soil collected between two pots in the balcony, but the plants in the pots I was trying to grow it in were…. reluctant.

    Thankfully, it seems to have got resigned to its fate since.

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