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.You can direct seed in cold climates as soon as the soil temperature is at least 45 degrees Fahrenheit.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

Here’s how to grow your own kale, whether you’re planting directly into the ground or using a container garden.Plant your crop again in the fall, six to eight weeks before the first expected frost — you can keep harvesting even after snowfall.Plant more seeds or transplants every two to three weeks for a long, continuous harvest.Planting Kale.Harvesting Kale.Always leave a few of the small central leaves attached to encourage growth.This content is imported from {embed-name}. .

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

Of all the “grow guides” we’ve published here, I’m not sure why it’s taken me so long to write about how to grow kale… After all, it is one of our favorite versatile veggies – and also quite straightforward to grow!We’ll explore the optimal conditions and time of year to grow kale, ways to extend the growing season, and different varieties of kale to grow.Tips for ongoing care, potential pests, and how to harvest, use, and preserve kale are included too!Not all kale grows quite this tall, but given the right conditions and time, it can!When to Grow Kale.In most locations, kale has two distinct growing seasons: spring and fall.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!Hardy kale grows longer into the freezing winter months than most leafy greens, said to withstand temperatures down to 10°F.You can grow kale by sowing seeds directly outdoors, or by planting seedlings – either nursery seedlings, or ones you start indoors yourself.The exact time to plant kale depends on your climate, and if you’re starting with seeds or seedlings.As a general rule of thumb, plant kale seedlings outside in late winter to early spring, as early as 3 or 4 weeks before your last average frost date.Protect tender young seedlings from hard frost after planting with frost cover or cloches.For a fall harvest, plant kale 6 to 8 weeks before your zone’s first average fall frost date.Yet places with moderate winters (zones 8, 9, and 10) can plant kale later in the fall and even into winter.Water well after planting.Soil Conditions.The soil should also be well-draining.Plan to provide your kale plants at least 6 to 7 hours of direct sun per day.Even though we don’t usually have incredibly hot summers, we did have a few good heat waves.A few curly kale varieties include Blue Curled Scotch, Dwarf Blue, Vates, Winterbor, and Redbor – a beautiful deep burgundy-purple curly kale.A few curly kale varieties include Blue Curled Scotch, Dwarf Blue, Vates, Winterbor, and Redbor – a beautiful deep burgundy-purple curly kale.Varieties include classic Tuscano, extra-dark Black Magic, or purple-veined Dazzling Blue – our personal favorite.Portuguese Kale – Hailing from the Mediterranean, this lesser-known type of kale has large, wide, flat paddle-like leaves with thick white veins.Also akin to collards, Portuguese kale is more heat tolerant than other kale varieties.A few Portuguese kale varieties include Tronchuda and Beira, and is sometimes also referred to as Portuguese cabbage or sea-kale.Also akin to collards, Portuguese kale is more heat tolerant than other kale varieties.A few Portuguese kale varieties include Tronchuda and Beira, and is sometimes also referred to as Portuguese cabbage or sea-kale.Kale grows best when it is provided consistent and moderate water.Add mulch to the soil surface to aid in moisture retention, and also to buffer the soil and roots against temperature swings.As the growing season continues, we transition to watering the garden beds with homemade compost tea (made from worm castings) once every few months.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.We have also found Dazzling Blue to be fairly heat tolerant.Related: Using Hoops and Row Covers for Pest Control, Frost Protection and Shade.The thing is, kale LOVES to be harvested!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.Always leave behind at least a handful of leaves.Also, avoid harvesting leaves from the center of the plant.It is best to harvest kale in the morning, or any time the weather is cool and the plants are most perky.Related: How to Harvest Kale and Leafy Greens (with demo video).Organic pest control methods we use include covering crops with insect netting, companion planting, routine inspections and hand-picking pests, blasting aphids off with water, and hand picking cabbage worms.Aphids hiding on the bottom of a kale leaf.( (That is, unless it’s going into soup or something that will cook for a long time to soften it.).Homemade green kraut on top of sautéed fresh greens (both made with kale, bok choy, and mustard greens) atop a bed of brown rice with garden avocado and cheese (somewhere under there!). .

Kale Seed Starting Tips

Bolting can be slowed by picking the oldest leaves first, but the flavor of kale will suffer in warm and hot weather.Make sure there is good air circulation around maturing plants to avoid disease.Kale grows best in full sun but can tolerate light shade.If sowing seed in summer for fall harvest, place the seed in a folded damp paper towel placed in a plastic bag and kept in the refrigerator for 5 days before sowing.Kale planted in the fall can winter over under straw and will begin growing again early in spring.2 weeks before the last frost in spring direct sow in the garden; minimum soil temperature should be 45°.10-6 weeks before the first frost in fall: transplant seedlings into a plastic tunnel or cold frame.‘Toscano’ also called dinosaur kale, dark green, savoy leaves. .

9 Kale Varieties You'll Want To Grow

Kale has been eaten for thousands of years, and in the Middle Ages, it was used to feed both humans and livestock.Originally descended from wild cabbage, most kale varieties are native to Europe and parts of Asia.Able to withstand frost and cold climates, kale often symbolizes the coming winter season.Germans still celebrate the arrival of winter with a dish that features kale called Grunkohl.Thomas Jefferson was said to have grown it at Monticello, and recent food critics have touted it as a superfood.One cup of kale has 80 milligrams of vitamin C, which is almost the full amount recommended for daily consumption.There are dozens of different kinds of kale, ranging from frilly and red to dinosaur skin textured and dark green.As they grow larger, they will form a large and hard stem on each leaf.Plants grown from seed can take 50 to 75 days to mature, so as you check your kale for caterpillars and common pests, be sure to enjoy the progression as it grows from tiny curled kale, to large frilly leaves.Many plants can grow to be 1 to 2 feet tall, although they usually have a more sprawling growth habit.A popular cultivar is ‘Winterbor’, which is cold hardy and can grow 2-3 feet tall.Be sure to massage the leaves with olive oil if you are using it in a salad to soften their texture and make them easier to eat.Curly kale can be de-stemmed by tearing pieces of the leaves away from the hard stem.It may start out as a more flat leaf, but the color, flavor, and curling of leaves is increased by cold weather.Flat leaf varieties include Siberian kale, which is actually more closely related to the rapeseed plant.The leaves of Red Russian kale are tender and keep their sweet and slightly peppery taste, even at maturity.The texture of the leaves is bumpy and looks almost like reptile skin, hence the name dinosaur kale.Lacinato kale is great for eating raw because it has a more mild, nutty flavor.It is cold hardy and has flat, wide leaves that grow close to the ground.Chinese kale is a heat tolerant plant, so it can be grown year round in warmer climates.The flowering stalks, buds, and young leaves of Chinese broccoli are best for cooking.The leaves, buds, and flowers can be steamed or stir-fried just like any other type of leafy green kale.It’s part of the savoy family, and it’s full name is Brassica oleracea var.The leaves of Savoy sit in a bunch directly on the ground, and it looks similar to cabbage.Look for it in your grocery store, as it has been bred specifically for this purpose, and is almost impossible to find as seed.This leafy green packs more vitamin C than most other vegetables, and is incredibly cold hardy.One year, I decided to do some research to figure out how I could grow peppers on my apartment balcony, and it worked!I’m a Master Gardener Volunteer in Florida, and I’m currently in Year 2 of flipping my all grass yard (front and back) to a mix of natives, pollinator and wildlife friendly patches, a food forest, and raised beds.I raise Coturnix quail, and I would love to add chickens to my flock one day. .

how to grow kale, with sarah kleeger of adaptive seeds

‘ANYONE CAN GROW KALE,’ the seed farmers at Adaptive Seeds—who have collected kales from around the world and made them a specialty—said recently, seeming to beg me to ask, “How?” Do I start indoors, or direct sow?how to grow kale, the adaptive seeds way.But let’s talk timing first: when, and where, you sow your seeds.For us, with our last frost mid-May, planting the spring/summer rotation out the first week of April works well.This means we usually sow at the beginning of March, as plants usually need about 5 weeks from seed to transplant size.We plant out with 12-inch spacing in all directions in the garden, and give them plenty of fertility.‘Red Russian’ and ‘Siberian’ are the two most well-known napus varieties in the United States.[An article by Adaptive’s Andrew Still on Russian and Siberian kale.].The spring kale rotation can make it through to the next spring if you give it some love mid-summer.At our 44˚N latitude in Oregon, it is crucial to have the fall rotation of plants in the ground by the second week of August, so the plants can size up before the day length decreases and the growth slows dramatically.If your kale does make it through the winter, one of the best things about kale is the raab–or flower shoots–that form in the spring.They are almost like a cross between broccoli and asparagus, very sweet and tender when young, and abundant!The Kale Coalition (14 varieties of Brassica oleracea kales that all crossed; photo below and also above) is full of diversity and resilience. .

Kale: An Easy Beginner's Guide to Growing

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.I’m here to tell you that while cold weather may be kale’s preference, you can grow it during any season and in most climates.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 hearty 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:.Once you’ve picked the varieties that best suit your taste then it’s time to get planting.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.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 weathered leaves will help reduce insects found in your garden.If you can’t eat the kale leaves fast enough and they begin to turn brown, pull the old leaves off, and compost them, to free the plants of insect attractants and unnecessary energy drains.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 my new post on the health benefits of kale and simple delicious ways to enjoy it everyday, coming soon! .

How to Grow Kale and Collards from Seeds – West Coast Seeds

All are easy to grow, vigorous, nutritious, resistant to cold, and easy to harvest and prepare.And the greens even get sweeter after frost.Direct sow in early spring to mid-summer for summer to winter harvests.Or start indoors 4-6 weeks before the last frost, and transplant out as soon as the soil warms up.Sow 3-4 seeds 5mm (¼”) deep in each spot you where a plant is to grow.Prevent disease with a strict 4-year crop rotation, avoiding planting Brassicas in the same spot more than once every four years.Companion Planting.More on Companion Planting. .

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