Kale is one of the 10 super-foods that should be in everyone’s weekly diet. You can pick it up for about $3 a bunch at the grocery store, or you can buy a seed packet for around $3 and have enough Kale to last you all year long. And remember, even ornamental kale (as pictured) is edible! It is not as tender of traditional kale, but still has great nutritional properties and it is very pretty! Here is an easy guide on how to grow kale this year.
Seeds or Transplant
Kale is a cool season crop, but it is hardy enough that it can grow year round in some zones. If it is late in the season, grab a 6-pack of Kale at the nursery. If you have time, definitely grow Kale from seed. It comes in a variety of colors and textures. When planting from seed, sow the seeds six inches apart and no more than 1/4″ down. Water the seeds or transplants in well until the seeds sprout or when the plants set down roots – usually 7-10 days.
Knowing your zone helps to ensure that your plants survive when you plant them! Check here to see what plant zone you are located in. In the cooler areas of the US, you are typically in Zones 4-6 which means you can plant Kale once the last frost has left your area, so in late April or May. Whereas in Zones 7-9, plant in both October and then again in February. In some areas, you can grow kale year round – lucky!
The success of any garden is in the soil. Amending garden soil is essential or plan on planting in a raised bed or a container. Use high-quality potting soil or compost to add to garden soil. Make sure to also include nutrients such as earthworm castings, bone meal, and blood meal, which are natural plant fertilizers. Add these soil amendments monthly to the soil surrounding your Kale plants and gently rake in. Then water the soil and plants very well.
Kale can be harvested when as early as 14 days and the way through its life cycle. You can also let it grow to full size at 14-16 inches. Cut the leaves down to the base and more will grow in its place!
Enjoy growing Kale – it is an easy and fun vegetable to add to your garden this year.
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