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. .
Is Kale an Annual or a Perennial?
There are plenty of reasons why you might want to know whether kale, Brassica oleracea, the star of many a spring or fall veggie garden, is an annual or a perennial.As biennials, in their first season in your garden, kale plants will put all their energy into leaf production, growing bushy and lush under the right conditions.In USDA Hardiness Zones 7 to 10, biennial kale will continue to produce edible leaves throughout the winter.While in colder zones, these plants will go dormant during the winter – which means their leaves may die back, but their root systems will remain alive.While the biennial is focused on reproduction in the second year, its edible leaves will not be as tender, so they may be better suited for use in cooking than eating raw.Shortly after your plants start flowering, you’ll begin to see long, slender seed pods developing.ramosa) Named after a French naturalist, ‘Daubenton’ is a short-lived perennial variety that doesn’t go to seed – instead it is propagated through cuttings.Sometimes known as perpetual kale, the leaves of this green vegetable are mild and nutty tasting, less bitter than its biennial relatives.This cruciferous plant gets its vivid common name from its long stalks, which were traditionally dried and repurposed into – you guessed it – walking sticks.Hardy down to 10°F or lower and perennial in USDA Zones 6 to 9, ‘Walking Stick’ prefers neutral or alkaline soils.The proper harvesting of the leaves will encourage this plant to grow long stalks, which easily grow to 6-10 feet tall at maturity as a backyard garden plant, but can rise to a towering 20 feet tall with favorable conditions.The leaves of this plant were traditionally used as animal fodder, but seed saving enthusiasts have brought it back as a culinary oddity.It is hardy in Zones 6 to 9 and will grow well in coastal areas of the Pacific Northwest, where the cool summers are similar to those of its native habitat.If the young shoots and leaves from this plant are blanched while they are growing, or hidden from the sun to stop the process of photosynthesis, this gives them a pleasant nutty flavor when cooked. .
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!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.This list may sound a tad daunting, but we generally find our kale to be fairly resilient.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! .
How to Grow Kale
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.
What to Do When Leafy Greens Begin to Flower
In most cases I advocate harvesting and eating leafy greens like kale before they begin to flower.Moreover, there are ways to put flowering kale and similar bolting plants to good use.When this happens, these a kale plant that’s flowering becomse a source of homegrown seed for your next crops.Garden fowl love to peck away and munch on leafy greens — even if they’re a little stringy and astringent for your pallet.In fact, we have an entire series of lessons in our program focused on growing, harvesting and eating kale and many other delicious plants. .
How to Grow Kale and Collards from Seeds – West Coast Seeds
Kale contains higher levels of beta-carotene than any other green vegetable, and is also high in vitamin C and calcium.They are perfect for juicing and a long-lasting green that stores well, delicious in crunchy salads.Continue reading below for some expert tips on how to grow kale and collards.Or start indoors 4-6 weeks before the last frost, and transplant out as soon as the soil warms up.Kale likes well-drained, fertile soil high in organic matter.Protect from cabbage moths and other insect pests with floating row cover.Prevent disease with a strict 4-year crop rotation, avoiding planting Brassicas in the same spot more than once every four years.All Brassicas benefit from chamomile, dill, mint, rosemary, and sage. .
Kales are considered to be closer to wild cabbage than most of the many domesticated forms of Brassica oleracea.Kale originates from Northern Middle English cale (compare Scots kail) for various cabbages.Kale originated in the eastern Mediterranean and Asia Minor, where it was cultivated for food beginning by 2000 BCE at the latest. At the time, kale was widely grown in Croatia mostly because it was easy to grow and inexpensive, and could desalinate soil. For most of the twentieth century, kale was primarily used in the United States for decorative purposes; it became more popular as an edible vegetable in the 1990s due to its nutritional value.During World War II, the cultivation of kale (and other vegetables) in the U.K. was encouraged by the Dig for Victory campaign. The vegetable was easy to grow and provided important nutrients missing from a diet because of rationing.Kale is usually an annual plant grown from seed with a wide range of germination temperatures.Many varieties of kale and cabbage are grown mainly for ornamental leaves that are brilliant white, red, pink, lavender, blue or violet in the interior of the rosette.Raw kale is composed of 84% water, 9% carbohydrates, 4% protein, and 1% fat (table).In a 100 g (3+1⁄2 oz) serving, raw kale provides 207 kilojoules (49 kilocalories) of food energy and a large amount of vitamin K at 3.7 times the Daily Value (DV) (table).Kale is a good source (10–19% DV) of thiamin, riboflavin, pantothenic acid, vitamin E and several dietary minerals, including iron, calcium, magnesium, potassium, and phosphorus (see table "Kale, raw").Boiling kale decreases the level of glucosinate compounds, whereas steaming, microwaving or stir frying does not cause significant loss.In the Netherlands, a traditional winter dish called "boerenkoolstamppot" is a mix of curly kale and mashed potatoes, sometimes with fried bacon, and served with rookworst ("smoked sausage").In Italy, cavolo nero kale is an ingredient of the Tuscan soup ribollita.A traditional Portuguese soup, caldo verde, combines pureed potatoes, very finely sliced kale, olive oil and salt. Additional ingredients can include broth and sliced, cooked spicy sausage.In Scotland, kale provided such a base for a traditional diet that the word in some Scots dialects is synonymous with food.In Ireland, kale is mixed with mashed potatoes to make the traditional dish colcannon. In Cuthbertson's book Autumn in Kyle and the charm of Cunninghame, he states that Kilmaurs in East Ayrshire was famous for its kale, which was an important foodstuff.The locals agreed, but a gentle roasting on a shovel over a coal fire ensured that the seeds never germinated. .
How do you keep kale from bolting?
Kale plants will bolt naturally in their second year shortly after the winter ends and warm weather returns.When kale begins to bolt, the leaves become more tough and bitter, and suffer a diminished nutrient count.Even after the leaves have turned bitter, the flowers the plant produces are pretty tasty, and can be eaten like you would broccoli florets.If you end up with more leaves than you can use in one meal, toss them into a plastic bag and store them in the dehumidifier drawer of your refrigerator.You can easily make kale chips for snacking by taking the chip-sized leaves, seasoning them, and quickly broiling them in your oven for only a few minutes until they are nice and crispy. .
How to grow kale / RHS Gardening
Kale is usually sown into a seedbed, away from the main vegetable plot, then later transplanted to its final growing position. .