You’ll find that growing kale (any of the varieties) is incredibly easy as you needn’t worry so much about pests like cabbage white caterpillars. In fact, pigeons will probably be the only real problem. That’s not to say they are completely immune to cabbage whites, slugs and other pests, but kales don’t tend to attract pests nearly as much as other brassicas like cabbages and broccoli.
We’d still advise popping a net over them to keep pigeons off, especially while the plants are still young and vulnerable, and it’s definitely worth casting an eye over them for signs of caterpillars every so often, but they should remain relatively untouched and you can rest assured you’ll get a good crop from a few plants. The other thing that makes kale easy to grow is that it is so hardy and self-sufficient. You can plant it in a shady spot and it will still thrive.
Interestingly, kale is the oldest brassica that we grow here in the UK (cabbages, cauliflowers and broccoli were cultivated much later on in our agricultural history) and is the closest to original wild cabbages/brassicas. This is because it hasn’t really been tampered with, and this more natural evolution may also explain why it is less pest-prone than other heavily cultivated and cross bred brassicas.
So, if you’re a little dubious about the success you’ve had with brassicas in the past, then we’d highly recommend trying a few kales this summer, and if you can plant some sacrificial nasturtiums as companion plants nearby, then you’re almost guaranteed to have a caterpillar free crop!