Common Name(s): Kale, Borecole
Days to Harvest:
If you need to store picked kale, place it in the refrigerator and keep it moist but not sealed. It can retain its crispness this way for a week or two.
Hanover Salad Fast grower and early producer. Nice for fresh use.
Lacinato An heirloom kale from Tuscany, with thin puckered leaves. Hardy enough to harvest after a snowfall.
Kale plants like to grow in a rich soil, high in organic matter and slightly acidic (5.5 - 6.5 pH). Youre growing it for the foliage, so a high nitrogen content is good.
Kale can be direct seeded in the garden or started indoors and set out as transplants. Start plants indoors about 6 weeks before your last expected frost date. Kale seeds germinate quickly in warm soil and should be up within 5 - 8 days.
Transplant seedlings after danger of frost. Set plants out with about 16" spacing between plants. This gives them room to spread out and still allows for air circulation.
You can direct seed in cold climates, in the spring, as soon as the soil can be worked and the soil temperature is at least 45 degrees F. Kale matures quickly, in about 2 months or less, so if you prefer you can start your plants later or even plant multiple crops in succession. In warm climates, kale can be direct seeded in late summer / early fall, as well as in the spring. A winter crop of kale in warmer climates can be much sweeter than a summer crop.
Cover seeds with about ½ inch of soil and dont allow the seeds to dry out before germinating. Plants will grow more slowly outdoors than indoors under lights.
Maintenance: Keep your kale plants well watered.. Along with cool temperatures, moist soil helps keep kale leaves sweet and crisp, rather than tough and bitter. Side dressing throughout the growing season with compost or feeding with fish emulsion will keep your kale growing. Mulch is important to keep the ground cool.