Common Name Kale, ornamental kale Botanical Name Brassica oleracea Family Brassicaceae Plant Type Annual/biennial, vegetable Mature Size 1–2 ft. tall and wide Sun Exposure Full sun, partial sun Soil Type Loamy, moist, well-drained Soil pH Acidic (6.5 to 6.8) Bloom Time Spring Hardiness Zones 7–9 (USDA) Native Area Europe.Kale can be planted three to five weeks prior to your area’s projected last frost date in the spring.The fullest growth will occur when the plant gets six or more hours of direct sunlight on most days.However, if you live in a hot, dry climate, provide your plant with some shade, especially from the strong afternoon sun.Kale plants like to grow in a rich soil that's high in organic matter with a slightly acidic pH.The high nitrogen content provided by organic matter is crucial for healthy leaf growth.Water your kale plants regularly, so the soil stays evenly moist but not soggy.Along with cool temperatures, moist soil helps to keep the kale leaves sweet and crisp, rather than tough and bitter.Kale is a biennial plant, taking two growing seasons (or years) to complete its life cycle, but it's usually grown as an annual.Expect to wait approximately two months for your kale plants to mature from seeds.Check the days to maturity on your seed packet or plant label for more precise timing.Spring-planted kale will be good for harvesting throughout the summer months, but it's especially tasty after a light frost.You can harvest young kale leaves to use fresh in salads or allow your plants to mature for use as a cooked green.Remove the older outer leaves, and allow the center of the plant to continue producing.Plus, container growth is ideal if you don’t have garden space or the right soil conditions.An unglazed clay container is a good option because it will allow excess soil moisture to escape through its walls, helping to prevent root rot.Transplant your kale into the pot at the same depth it was growing in its previous container, and water it after planting.Plant the bottom half of the stem in a moistened soilless potting mix in a small container with drainage holes.If you can gently tug on the stem and feel resistance, you’ll know roots have formed.Start plants indoors in a seed-starting mix about six weeks before your last expected frost date.Kale seeds germinate quickly in warm soil and should sprout up within five to eight days.Kale is a member of the cabbage family, which is notorious for attracting insect pests and for rot diseases.Kale is susceptible to black rot and clubroot, as well as aphids, cabbage loopers, cabbageworm, cutworms, flea beetles, and slugs.The best defense is to monitor the plants often for signs of eggs or feeding, such as holes in the leaves.Kale is an easy vegetable to grow, as long as it gets sufficient light, water, and nutrients.Kale can be grown indoors, though you'll likely need a grow light if you don't have a window that gets lots of direct sun. .

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. .

Kale, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, and cabbage are all varieties of

Per capita consumption of it peaked way back in the 1920s, when the average American ate 22 pounds of it per year.This makes it pretty interesting that kale and cabbage — along with broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, collard greens, and kohlrabi, and several other vegetables — all come from the exact same plant species: Brassica oleracea.About 2500 years ago, B. oleracea was solely a wild plant that grew along the coast of Britain, France, and countries in the Mediterranean.This also happens with domesticated animals: we pick out the qualities we prize, whether it's the ability to produce lots of milk (dairy cows) or friendliness and loyalty (dogs).


how to grow kale, with sarah kleeger of adaptive seeds

If you want to coax the best character from your kale-growing efforts, timing is everything, says Sarah Kleeger (half of the Adaptive Seeds team, with Andrew Still).“Its flavor and texture improve tremendously in cold, even frosty, weather.In summer it is prone to aphids, the leaves get tough, and taste is markedly less sweet.Here’s what else I learned in Sarah’s and my recent Q&A (that’s her with Andrew and some of their other specialty crops, winter squash, above):.Q. I know you are Oregon, in Zone 7, and you have told me your last frost is maybe mid-May—so people will have to adjust a bit from your timeline, of course.This means we usually sow at the beginning of March, as plants usually need about 5 weeks from seed to transplant size.But if you have a lot of plants and a small amount of space you can squeeze them in and thin as they grow.Speaking of thinning and such: With all that kale to draw upon in your collection, I suspect you eat a lot of it, yes?Lots of recipes say to throw the kale stems out, but I think they’re a delicious, crunchy snack when raw, and add a nice texture when cooked (just throw them in the pan a few minutes ahead of the leaves).This year we had one week of 5˚F lows, and two of our 12 ‘Kale Coalition’ plants survived uncovered.Russian Frills is nice and frilly when large, and makes attractive bunches.Russian Hunger Gap holds on three weeks later than other kales before bolting (sending up raab), which gives more food later into the “hunger gap,” when your storage veggies are all out and the spring plantings haven’t yet come on.Madeley is a standout oleracea variety, hugely productive of tender, somewhat smaller leaves, but we’ve sold out and I don’t know anyone else currently offering it.


10 Health Benefits of Kale

Kale is a popular vegetable and a member of the cabbage family.It is a cruciferous vegetable like cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, collard greens and Brussels sprouts.Given its incredibly low calorie content, kale is among the most nutrient-dense foods in existence.Eating more kale is a great way to dramatically increase the total nutrient content of your diet. .

How to Grow Kale: Guide to Plant, Harvest & Use Kale ~ Homestead

Kale is one of the most popular dark leafy greens around, prized for its high nutrient-density and numerous health benefits.In this article, you’ll learn everything you need to know to grow kale at home – from seed (or seedling) to table.Tips for ongoing care, potential pests, and how to harvest, use, and preserve kale are included too!Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links to products for your convenience, such as to items on Amazon.Homestead and Chill gains a small commission from purchases made through those links, at no additional cost to you.It is generally considered a ‘cool season crop’, like its fellow members of the brassica plant family, such as cabbage, cauliflower, and broccoli.Yet in moderate climates with only mildly warm summers or little-to-no winter frost, kale can continue to grow for up to a year, or longer!Kale grows exceedingly well as a fall crop in many regions – where there is a longer period of cooling weather ahead.In fact, kale leaves taste better in colder weather, and develop a sweeter flavor after a kiss of frost!Hardy kale grows longer into the freezing winter months than most leafy greens, said to withstand temperatures down to 10°F.On the flip side, brutal heat can quickly cause kale to “bolt” – or begin to flower and go to seed.Note that fall-planted kale that have grown through winter may be triggered to bolt by the lengthening daylight hours of spring, even if temperatures are still cool.SubscribePlanting calendars are available for every growing zone in the Homestead and Chill subscriber free garden planning toolkit.If you don’t have one yet, grab a planting calendar here to help guide your timing – they are available for every USDA hardiness zone!Sow kale seeds in light, well-draining soil about ¼ to ½ inch deep.As long as they’ve been properly hardened off, the stem of tall seedlings can be buried up to their first set of leaves.It is not an incredibly ‘heavy feeder’, though it is best to amend the soil with well-aged compost and/or a well-balanced natural fertilizer before planting kale.Ample nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, minerals, organic matter, and beneficial microbial activity within the soil will lead to the most robust kale plants possible.If you’re growing kale in the spring with hot summer weather on the horizon (regularly over 90°F), consider a planting location that receives some afternoon shade.That added protection (along with choosing the right variety) will help your kale survive longer before it ‘bolts’ and goes to seed.I also try to keep kale along the back (north side) of garden beds since it can quickly become tall and shade out smaller, shorter plants.This raised bed is facing east, so it gets morning to midday sun but then is shaded in the afternoon by the tall westerly fence behind it.There are a handful of general kale types, and within those groups, dozens of unique cultivars to choose from.Varieties include classic Tuscano, extra-dark Black Magic, or purple-veined Dazzling Blue – our personal favorite.Russian Kale – Generally have wide, mostly flat leaves with fringes around the edge – resembling the shape of large arugula or oak leaf lettuce.– Generally have wide, mostly flat leaves with fringes around the edge – resembling the shape of large arugula or oak leaf lettuce.– Hailing from the Mediterranean, this lesser-known type of kale has large, wide, flat paddle-like leaves with thick white veins.In this south-facing garden bed, I should have ideally swapped the kale locations and/or put that middle row of bok choy in the very front.As the growing season continues, we transition to watering the garden beds with homemade compost tea (made from worm castings) once every few months.For especially long-lived kale, apply a fresh top-dressing of compost mulch once the plants reach 6 months old (if you intend to keep them around a bit longer).There are a number of ways you can extend your kale growing season, be it into the warmer summer months or through the depths of winter.While established kale plants can withstand some frost and snow, young seedlings are more sensitive and need protection.Even mature kale plants will also appreciate a little added frost protection for extended cold periods, which can increase their winter lifespan in the coldest climates.The best way to harvest kale is with the ‘cut and come again’ method – by removing a few of the oldest leaves on the plant each week (or as needed).The oldest leaves are those on the bottom, outermost portion of the stem – closest to the soil rather than the center of the plant.The most common pest insects that fancy kale include cabbage worms, flea beetles, harlequin bugs, and aphids.Our greatest struggles here are aphids and cabbage worms, but both are easy to control in an organic manner – especially if you practice proactive prevention, or catch the problem early!Occasionally, treat with DIY soap spray (for aphids) or bacillus thuringiensis (for caterpillars) if the infestation is more advanced.To enjoy cooked kale, we love to simply sauté it – with a little splash of olive oil, a sprinkle of salt and pepper, and sometimes a bit of garlic and onion.Crunchy homegrown kale chips, seasoned with sea salt, nutritional yeast, olive oil, and homemade garlic powder.The quick and easiest way to de-stem kale is to hold the end of the stem in one hand, pinch the base of the leafy portion with the other, and then simply pull them in opposite directions – stripping the leaf away.I’ll admit that we consume most of our kale fresh or cooked, and don’t preserve a great deal of it.The texture won’t be great for eating raw once it defrosts, but is the perfect addition to soup, smoothies, or stew.I hope you picked up some valuable tips on growing kale today, and have a kale-r harvest in your future! .

An Easy Beginner's Guide To Growing Kale

Any guide to growing kale will start out by telling you it is a cold weather crop, which tastes best after it has been touched by frost.The flavor, output and duration from seed to harvest will change depending on the temperature, weather patterns, variety and soil condition, but kale is a hardy crop that is willing to adapt to our expanding desire for it.In these leaf shapes you’ll find a number of varieties with varied growth time from transplanting to harvesting:.The pot or container must have at least six square inches of space for the plant to grow in.Make sure to move kale grown in containers into a partially shaded area when summer arrives.Kale is a hardy biennial (it take two years to go to flower and complete its life-cycle), but it is usually grown as an annual.If you’re planting during the cool season, find a spot where your kale will receive full sunshine.Kale also prefers loamy, well-drained, moist (but not soggy) soil of average fertility.Surprisingly, it isn’t a fan of soil that is too rich in nitrogen, so it will do best with a pH between 5.5 to 6.8.No matter when you plant, the soil temperature must be at least 40 degrees or higher for good germination.Sow seeds in small pots filled with a mix of soil and veganic fertilizers/compost.You can directly sow seeds in the garden starting 2 to 4 weeks before the last frost date or as soon as the ground can be worked in the springtime.It is also always a good idea to plant more seeds or buy more starts than you think you’ll need in case some of them don’t make it.Before planting, distribute a good amount* of vegan organic fertilizer over the area you will be using and work it into the soil.No matter the shape of the stem, set the transplants perpendicular to the ground so they will grow straight up, and place them deep enough to support the plant, but no further than the base of their first leaves.With compost and mulches, you usually want to go a couple of inches deep, while other amendments like seaweed powder or rock dust only require a good sprinkle.**When a seed first emerges from the soil it has a set of two leaves called cotyledons.Once the true leaves emerge, the cotyledons become unnecessary and eventually wither and fall off.– Side dressing (fertilizing along the rows) with compost throughout the growing season will help keep your kale producing.Giving your plants the nutrients they need and picking off any withered leaves will help reduce insects found in your garden.If you choose to do so, keep it lightly moist and place it in a bag, but unsealed, in the crisper bin.Look out for our posts on the health benefits of kale and simple delicious ways to enjoy it! .

How to Harvest and Save Kale Seeds

This easy-to-grow leafy green thrives in cool temperatures, and a generous selection of cultivars make it a beautiful and delicious addition to the garden.With plenty of open pollinated varieties to choose from, reproducing plants true to their parents is easy.In spring, this cold weather brassica is one of the first plants to awaken and quickly yields fresh leaves early in the season.By summer, plants have finished their life cycle and will set buds before sending up tall flower stalks.If stems begin to flop as they mature, gather a handful together and attach them to a bamboo stake for support to preserve your harvest.Tie off the opening with garden twine then hang the bags in a cool, dry location out of the wind.Once the pods are thoroughly dry, in 10 to 21 days, shake and slap the stems inside the bag to dislodge the seeds.Or, on a breezy day, use a mesh strainer or winnowing basket to gently toss seeds up in the air and let the breeze take away the chaff.Temperatures of around 50°F with a humidity of 40 percent are ideal – which makes the produce drawer in your refrigerator a sweet spot for storage.If your unheated areas flirt with temperatures close to freezing, place your seed containers in a small insulated beverage cooler before storing.It ensures plants grown from seed will be true to their parent, and you get complete control over their growing environment.You’ll never have to buy seedlings again, and you can create your own heirloom lineage of plants – perfect for the self-sustaining or organic gardener.Plus, you’ll never have that excruciating wait for your local garden shops or direct order companies to be stocked for spring before starting your plants! .

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