Kale is one of the most versatile vegetables to grow. Although kale prefers cold weather (it can tolerate temperatures a low as 20 degrees Fahrenheit), it can actually be grown throughout the entire growing season if given the right conditions. Special note: if the temperatures are over 80 degrees Fahrenheit kale will become bitter and tough so plan on an early spring crop and a late summer or early fall crop for the best flavor if residing in warmer climates. One of the green leafy vegetables, kale lends itself well to many great cooking recipes and is fantastic cooked or raw.
Kale thrives in cooler temperatures. The best time of year to plant a successful crop of kale is in the early spring as soon as the soil can be tilled, and late summer to early fall before the temperatures plummet but after temperatures have spiked for the year. If kale is started from seed in lieu of garden starts it is preferable to start seeds indoors or in a greenhouse at least 6 weeks before ready to plant.
How To Plant Kale
Kale seeds should be planted ¼ to ½ inches deep. If planting in rows kale should be planted 12 to 18 inches apart. Kale germinates in 5 to 8 days and prefers a soil temperature of 40 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit. Average harvest for kale seeds is 55 to 75 days after sowing seeds in the garden. If using transplants the average harvest time is 30 to 40 days. Kale prefers a soil pH of 6.0 to 7.0.
Kale is notably sweeter if harvested after a first frost. If one prefers a less sweet vegetable then pick prior to the first frost.
Year Round In Some Climates
If living in a climate that averages 70 degrees Fahrenheit year round, one can grow kale year round. A delicious addition to any garden. Kale does not typically do well in a greenhouse but will grow in containers as long as the containers are at least 8 to 10 inches deep.
How It’s Served
Kale is delicious fresh from the garden and eaten in a salad. Kale is also delicious as a stir fry, crisp fried and lightly seasoned into a chip or in soups and stews.
Many gardeners prefer to plant kale in containers and bring them indoors if weather exceeds 80 degrees Fahrenheit. This is also a great way to get a jump start on a growing season and simply start plants indoors in large containers and move containers out of doors when the weather warms up and back indoors when it gets too hot. No matter where one grows kale, it’s a delicious healthy addition to any meal.