Until the end of the Middle Ages, kale was one of the most common green vegetables in Europe. By the fourth century BC, curly leaved varieties of cabbage already existed along with flat leafed varieties in Greece - these are considered to be the ancestors of modern kales.
Today, the varieties differ according to the low, intermediate or high length of the stem, with varying leaf types. The leaf colours also range from light green, green, dark green and violet-green to violet-brown.
Red Russian Kale was introduced into America via Siberia by Russian traders in the 19th century. It is very frost resistant and has a distinctive sweet flavour compared to the other varieties.
The cooler the better
All varieties of kale grow more widely in cooler climates. Kale is rarely grown in tropical areas. Red Russian Kaleis no different as a very a robust cabbage type. It will also tolerate nearly all soils provided that drainage is satisfactory. Another advantage is that Red Russian Kale suffers less from pests and diseases – pigeons, club root and cabbage root fly - compared to other members of the cabbage family.