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How To Plant and Grow Kale

Kale is the favorite of chefs and foodies, who use it in everything from soups to stir-fries. Growing and planting this superfood is easy.

Kale is in fashion for everyone from chefs at the top of their game to home cooks. Learn how to plant and cultivate kale in your backyard garden, and you’ll be able to harvest fresh kale to mix into salads sautee, cook, braise or add to soups and stir-fry dishes.

Kale is the fad of health-conscious eaters and an emblem of an eco-friendly, organic lifestyle — is actually an uncultivated type of cabbage that isn’t able to grow into a head that is round. Called a superfood for the reason that it’s so nutrient-rich, kale pops into everything in everything from soups to snacks as well as smoothies.

Kale plants are beautiful with their textured leaves with shades of purple, green, and red. Kale is a cool-season plant and is tolerant of frost, which makes it the ideal option for autumn gardeners. Kale is a fast-growing plant, growing from seed to harvest in less than two months, contingent on the type of kale. It’s a biennial that’s planted in the form of an annual.

Here’s everything you need to be aware of when planting kale and cultivating the kale.

Kale 101

Kale is cultivated for over two thousand years. The Greeks cultivated it, as did the Romans who introduced the green across Europe. In the middle ages, Kale was a common vegetable within European gardens. Kale was introduced to the New World by Europeans and by the late 1980s, American growers were introducing an array of kale colors -from purple to pink — creating a brand new market and an increased appetite for the vegetable. It was once a rare vegetable that was only consumed by vegans and hippies it is now a popular choice of chefs, foodies, and even the average person. Panda Express puts kale in its stir-fries, to make sure it’s not a tin of kale.

Kale is an annual plant, flowering in the springtime of its second year of growth. Since we plant Kale for its leaves, not for its flowers, the majority of people tend to grow the plant as an annual.

Kale is extremely cold-tolerant and capable of enduring freezing temperatures which is why it’s a favorite of northern gardeners since it is able to endure the coldest day of winter. It is best to plant directly into the soil or move it into the garden in the latter part of winter or in the early spring of warmer climates. It can also be planted in the late season in hot climates to ensure an autumn/winter harvest.

Kale can be grown either in the garden or in pots in case you don’t have enough space in your garden. Kale can be grown from seed or from nursery starts.

Botanical Name: Brassica oleracea
Common Name: Kale
Bloom Time Early spring
Genus: A biennial that is it is grown as an annual vegetable
Hardiness Zones: 7 to 9

Planting Kale

Begin with your first row of seeds for kale in the spring or in late summer, or even begin the nursery’s transfer. You won’t need lots of plants as you can trim leaves when you require them and leave those mature plants in the soil throughout the year to continue growing leaves.

Pick a location with full sun. Kale needs a minimum of six hours of sunshine every day. In a hot dry environment, your kale may need a bit of shade to stop it from turning brown.

Remove the soil and amend it with organic matter prior to planting. Kale requires fertile soil with a moderately acidic pH in order for healthy leaves.

Plants should be spaced 18-24 inches apart. If you have planted seeds, reduce the seedlings once they reach 4 inches in height.

Caring for Kale

Hydrate kale frequently, giving it 1.5 inches of water every week when there’s no rain. It’s an extremely fast-growing plant, therefore it requires constant moisture.

Maintain soil moisture by mulching. This can protect roots from extreme temperatures too.

Kale is tolerant of temperatures as cold as. It can withstand frost that is as low as 10 degrees.

When to Harvest Kale

Kale in the majority of varieties is ready for harvesting six weeks after planting transplants.

Harvest Kale by cutting off the leaf’s outermost edges as soon as they attain the proper shade and are large enough to be eaten. The leaves taste better after they’ve received a slight frost.

Pests and Diseases

Kale is prone to the following issues:

Cabbage Worms chew holes into the leaves. Take them out as soon as you spot them.

Aphids will take the sap from the leaves of kale. Spray them with insecticidal soap to remove the insects.

Recommended Kale Varieties

“Lacinato” is an ancient heirloom cultivated throughout Tuscany, Italy, for hundreds of years. It’s also known as Tuscan Kale, also known as dinosaur kale. It is a common ingredient in ribollita and minestrone. This is among the most well-known varieties of kale because it is smaller, more delicate, and therefore more versatile.

“Red Ursa” is an avalanche-proof type of red Russian Kale. It’s kale with a flat leaf prized by its sweet flavor.

Vates’ is dwarf kale with greenish blue leaves that are also tolerant of cold and heat. It’s also known as Scotch Kale.

“Winterbor” is a kind of curly kale, with green leaves that are ruffled and ruffled. It’s great for salads and soups The plant is robust enough to stand up to cold temperatures in your garden.