With a little planning, you can be harvesting kale for most of the year.Start harvesting three to four months later – whole plants once they are 15cm high, or a leaf here and there once the plants reach 25cm.For larger specimens to see you through winter and spring, sow seeds into trays or modules in mid- to late spring, then move the plants into their final positions in early to mid-summer.You should be able to start picking leaves from late autumn. .
10 Tips for Growing Kale
Start spring seeds indoors approximately six weeks before the last frost to give plants a chance to mature before summer’s worst heat.Plant your crop again in the fall, six to eight weeks before the first expected frost — you can keep harvesting even after snowfall.Kale is buddy-buddy with beets, celery, cucumbers, herbs, onions, spinach, chard, and potatoes.Protect young plants with row covers like this to stave off flea beetles and provide a buffer against any unexpected temperature dips.Picking off unhealthy-looking leaves and keeping your plants well-fed with compost and water will also reduce insect damage in your vegetable garden,.Use straw or grass mulch at the base of your plants to keep the soil cool, conserve moisture, and make it easier for roots to feed.This content is created and maintained by a third party, and imported onto this page to help users provide their email addresses. .
Expert advice on growing Kale
Kale is one of the most tolerant vegetables and it will produce a decent crop in almost all conditions except heavy shade or water-logged ground.The last two methods will require you to transplant the young plants later in the season, but in the meantime, the ground can be used for other purposes such as new potatoes.However, the taste of Curly Kale improves in cold weather which is why most people prefer not to sow it earlier.To sow Curly Kale in pots / modules, fill with compost nearly to the top.Curly Kale sown in seed beds or modules / pots will need to be transplanted to their permanent growing area.Before transplanting, scatter a couple of handfuls, per square metre, of fish, blood and bone onto the planting area.Harvesting regularly will encourage new shoots and large leaves left on the plant will only become bitter and inedible.A nitrogen rich feed, such as Growmore, in mid February will encourage more side shoots.We have written a page dedicated to the best kale varieties which are easily available in the UK - that page can be be found here Kale suffers from far fewer problems compared to the rest of the brassica family of vegetables (cabbage, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower etc.).but it does occasionally suffer from similar pests and diseases such as caterpillars and Cabbage Root Fly.They were bred by Tozer Seeds who wanted to create a new vegetable which had the taste of kale but the convenience in harvesting of Brussels Sprouts.The result is a vegetable which is slight larger than a sprout, has a milder but more nuttier flavour and has open leaves resembling baby kale.However, the majority of the Kalette seed packs on sale are a mix of three varieties, which in effect extends the cropping season up to four months. .
How to Harvest Kale
However, you still have to know the right time and method to harvest.The timing and methods you use depend on if you are growing plants for baby greens or mature leaves.When to Pick Kale.How to Harvest Mature Kale.Make sure to leave at least five central leaves on the plant so it can continue to photosynthesize and produce new growth.How to Harvest Baby Kale.My preferred method is to grab a handful and cut them off one to two inches above the ground, using a knife.This will leave the smaller ones intact so the plant can continue growing. .
The Greatest Way to Quickly Freeze Kale
In the rest of this post I’ll walk you through the extremely easy process I use to freeze piles of kale every summer.De-stemming the kale.Use a knife to cut the leaves from the stems and chop the leaves into desired bite-sized pieces.If you rinsed your kale, try to dry the leaves off a bit before freezing.If you don’t mind the kale leaves freezing into one big chunk, simply pack the leaves as densely as possible into freezer bags.Then pack into freezer bags.I don’t find this to be a necessary step because even when you freeze the kale in a block it’s pretty easy to break off a chunk.The best place to store your frozen kale is in a chest freezer.If you’re getting serious about easy food preserving you’ll want to invest in one.When you freeze your kale it will last up to one year – unless you eat it all first!You can also use plastic tupperware type containers for freezing vegetables.How Much Kale to Freeze.It’s best to try to eat your frozen kale and other vegetables within one year.I checked my records and I usually freeze 15 quart bags of kale for winter and tend to use them up by the beginning of the kale harvest season the next spring.I simply take out a freezer bag and use the whole chunk, or cut off what I want with a knife.If you love massaged kale salads you should use your fresh kale.Favorite Recipes for Using Frozen Kale.Once you have that down you can start searching out recipes that highlight the vegetables you’ve put away.If you love the idea of having a stash of kale to use in your favorite dishes all winter long, make a plan to plant more than you can eat fresh this season.Then, when the plants are pumping out fresh leaves during harvest season, have a blast gathering piles of kale and using this simple method to freeze it! .
Saving Brassica Vegetable Seed
This is a great thing to learn as it's the same for a huge range of vegetable seed.So a single new skill gives you lots of veg - once you can do this you can keep your own Cabbage, Cauliflowers, Kale, Broccoli, Sprouts, and all the Chinese and Japanese Greens.(Though Sprouting Broccoli can be a pain, so pick regularly, or it will cross with your seedcrop).Then it's pretty simple: Flower stalks from a good-sized population are hung up to dry,.It's very easy to stop them contributing to next years seed - just don't let them flower, and eat them instead.There's room for some organised neighbourly cooperation here; in Kent, 5% of allotment seeds were home saved last year.If you pick too early then the seed will not have filled out properly, having too little stored energy to give healthy baby plants.A helpful thing to know is that all the brassica seed is green when immature, and then gets a black surface once it has filled with starch and started to dry out.The bottom pod is full of completely ripe seed, and the pod itself will very soon go dry & papery, splitting open and releasing its seed at the slightest touch.They are as good as they will get, energetically speaking, and will ripen nice and brown once you cut the plant.Just keep an eye on your plants, and periodically pick open a pod & look inside.You might notice that the stalks and pods change colour too in some varieties, but it is the seed-coat that is the foolproof indicator.Cut the whole stem off, and pile on an old sheet somewhere airy (and bird-free - they love the seed) to dry.Once dry, jump all over them and you'll get lots of seed mixed with broken up stem & pods.Seed that is air-dry is not really properly dormant - its just napping; so it is still burning through its stored reserves of energy and will soon run flat - like a mobile phone left on.And without a sealed container, it will soon reabsorb water from the air on the first humid day, and start getting ready to germinate.Put your seed in a bag made by cutting off the foot of the tights, and tie it in with a rubber band.If you are sure you avoided crossing, and that your plants were nice and healthy, then you have a valuable thing there.Now that's actually three-quarters of a million seeds - and if every one of those was given away or swapped, and then grown, you will have created more than 500,000 kilograms of kale!So you can see that even one person, on a small scale, can make a real contribution to local food security.Get to gether with your friends or family and set up a seed-circle: one person can grow kale seed, another parsnips, another cucumber, etc etc. .