We've got the dirt

KALE

There are several types of kale, and some find that these were the primary type of cabbage. Kale does not grow a head and has robust leaves and thick leafed stems.

It is grown the same as the cabbage, although it can be placed a little closer. This crop is very resilient and can survive in the open field in regions where it is not too extreme to freeze during the winter.

Kale’s flavor is strengthened by frost. Kale is used in winter for salads, often as a substitute for cabbage.

How To Grow Kale Overview

Kale is one of a group of cabbage cultivars produced for their edible leaves, though some are used as ornamentals. Kale plants have green as well as purple leaves, and no head is formed by the central leaves (as with the headed cabbage). Kale are known to be similar to wild cabbage than any of Brassica oleracea’s other domesticated types.

  • Plant kale in a sunny location to promote development in the cold winter months.
  • Add a lot of compost to the soil before planting, and if your soil is not particularly fertile, improve its fertility by adding a balanced organic fertilizer like chicken manure pellets one to two weeks before planting.
  • Kale requires a great deal of space to grow properly.
  • Position kale plants 18 inches (45 cm) apart.
  • Water thoroughly when finished planting.
  • Harvesting occurs typically in the autumn.
  • Pull down or twist the leaves away from the plant, or use a knife to slice off the leaves.
fresh kale juice from the backyard garden
purple and white kale in the backyard garden
fresh kale salad from the backyard garden

Kale Nutrition Information

Raw Kale, 1 cup (25 grams)

NameAmountUnit
Water21g
Protein1.07

g

Total lipid (fat)0.232

g

Carbohydrate2.19g
Fiber, total dietary0.09g
Sugars0.565g
Vitamin C30mg
Choline0.2mg
NameAmountUnit
Calcium, Ca37.5mg
Magnesium, Mg11.8mg
Phosphorus, P23mg
Potassium, K123mg
Sodium, Na9.5mg
Energy (Calories)12.2kcal
Carotene, beta1480µg
Zinc, Zn0.14mg
Iron, Fe0.368mg

Garden Vegetables & Fruits Plant Preferences Profile

Specific Plant Growing Requirements and Information

Biennial plant grown as an annual

Full Sun is best

55 days from transplanting, 70 to 80 days from seed

2 to 4 feet wide

Fertile, well-drained soil with a soil pH between 5.5 and 6.8

Zone 4 to 7

Growing Kale Detailed Information

When To Start Kale Seeds

Kale is a healthy and delicious vegetable that takes two months of cold weather to grow. Sow seed indoors or outdoors 4 to 6 weeks earlier to last spring frost or when the soil is ready. Kale is often begun indoors and transplanted into a garden when seedlings are between 4 and 6 weeks old. The kale leaves are similar to the cabbage. Scotch kale has gray-green stems, crumpled and curly. Siberian or blue kale is less curly and has a green-blue hue.

Where To Grow Kale

Kale favors fertile soil with a pH between 5.5 and 6.8. Kale can withstand full sun or partial shade, as they planted for the leaves and not for the flowers. (Ample sunlight usually yields better flowers on plants.) If you live in a mild, dry environment, add some shade to your plant, particularly during hot afternoons. Heat can wilt the leaves and lose flavor. Grow kale in cold weather for maximum flavor.

How To Plant Kale And Plant Spacing

Plant Kale seeds 1⁄2 inch deep separated by 3 inches. Thin out the plants roughly 1 foot apart when 4 to 5 inches high—space garden rows between 18 inches and 2 feet apart. Place the transplants up to the first set of leaves if it has crooked roots.

How to Water Kale

Routinely water the kale plants, so the soil remains moist uniformly. In addition to cooler temperatures, moist soil makes the kale leaves sweet and crunchy rather than harsh and bitter. Mulching your plants can help keep your soil cooler and maintain humidity.

Feed and Fertilizer For Kale

Place fertilizer in the top 3 to 4 inches of soil while planting. Fed your kale during the growing season and follow the directions on the label of your fertilizer. Using compost or a variety of fertilizers with higher nitrogen.

When to Harvest Kale

Expect to wait for your plants to mature from seed for around two months. Check your seed or plant label’s maturity days for more accurate timing. You can harvest fresh kale leaves in salads or encourage your plants to grow up to be used as a cooked green.

Remove old outer leaves and allow development to begin in the center of the plant. Kale is perfect for harvesting during the summer months, but after a light frost, it is especially savory.

Put it in the refrigerator and keep it humid, but not in a sealed plastic bag if you need to store picked kale. For a week or two, it will maintain its crispness.

Bacon Garlic Kale Recipe

Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time15 mins
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Keyword: bacon, bacon kale salad
Servings: 4 people
Author: Heidi

Ingredients

  • 6 slices bacon chopped
  • 1/2 cup onion finely chopped
  • 2 bunches kale washed chopped with stems removed
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • salt & pepper to taste

Instructions

  • Cook bacon until crisp over medium heat.
  • Remove bacon and set aside reserving drippings.
  • Reduce heat to medium-low and cook onion in the drippings until tender, about 10 minutes.
  • Add kale and garlic stirring until cooked, about 5 minutes.
  • Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  • Sprinkle with bacon and serve

We Want To Help Your Garden Grow Big & Beautiful

Sign up for our Newsletter for helpful tips, gardening ideas, and special gardening gifts 

for subscribers only. 

In compliance with the FTC guidelines, please assume the following about links and posts on this site: Some of the links on GrowAtHome.org are affiliate links of which receive a small compensation from sales of certain items. Please visit our Disclosure for more information.