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Learn how to grow kale in your vegetable garden. It’s nutritious, grows well in many climates, and tasty too. You might be surprised at when it grows best. For more beginning gardening advice, check this out.
For month by month planting times for each fruit or vegetable, check this out.
How to grow kale
It grows in early spring and continues to grow in the warmer summer months. Then it will come back and produce even more in the fall. It’s a real powerhouse in the garden. There are many health benefits to eating kale.
You can grow kale from seedlings or direct sow seeds in the garden. You may want to germinate your seeds inside and then transplant your seedlings outside to get an early garden start. Transplant seedlings around your last frost date.
Kale holds up to a freeze as long as it’s not a really cold snap like under 20 degrees. Kale also continues to grow when it’s fairly hot. In Oklahoma, we can grow kale until about 90 degrees or so. Then the plant goes dormant until it cools down, but it does not burn up. If we have a mild winter, I can grow kale year-round from the same plant.
Kale is a fairly small plant, so it grows well in containers. Plant it in at least a 12-inch pot or for multiple kale plants in one container, use a larger pot or small raised bed. Kale plants need to be 8-12 inches apart. Remember when gardening in containers, you’ll have to water more frequently than in the ground.
Whether planting kale plants in raised beds, containers, or in the ground, plant kale seeds or seedlings about 8 inches apart. Kale doesn’t have a super deep root system, so it’s a great plant for raised beds and containers.
To plant seeds, make a small hole in the soil about to your first knuckle. Drop a seed or two into the hole and cover with soil. Pat it down lightly no harder than you would rub your eye. Plant seeds about 8 weeks before your last frost date so they will mature in time to eat before the hot summer settles in.
You can grow kale in winter without cover to about 29 degrees. If you are going to get cooler weather than that, you cover your kale plants with plastic and keep them through colder temperatures.
We love to grow several kinds of kale for a fun variety. When eating kale raw, you can massage it with dressing to make it easier to eat. I love to use it in recipes that call for kale, greens or spinach. The kale has a better flavor than spinach and holds up better in the recipe. I love kale in soup! You might be interested to find out what vegetables can grow in winter.
Need help to get your garden started, click here for beginning vegetable garden help.
How to harvest kale so it keeps growing
You can harvest kale by snipping individual leaves with scissors leaving about a 2-inch stem on the plant, more kale will grow back on the plant. It’s what is called a cut and come again plant. It will keep producing year-round in the right conditions.
Kale plants grow about 2 feet tall. Kale is ready to harvest whenever it has leaves. The smaller leaves are more tender. When you harvest it, make sure to keep it moist and cool until you’re ready to eat it. Don’t ever cover fresh vegetables with plastic. They need to breathe to stay fresh.
It takes about 2 months from planting time for kale to be ready for harvest.
Kale is super easy to grow and has just a few pests. It’s hardy in most weather which makes it a winner for us. If you grow too much kale to use, you can make it into green powder or chop it and freeze it to use in soups or casseroles later. For more ideas on fruits and vegetables that will grow in shade, check these out.
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