Friday, March 04, 2016

Kale: You Can Grow That!

Kale is "king" according to nutritionist and trendy chefs alike. This frilly cabbage cousin is packed full of nutrients and antioxidants. Kale is a versatile green and can be used as a spinach substitute in virtually any recipe.

In the current issue of Washington Gardener Magazine,
our "EdibleHarvest" columnist Elizabeth Olson provides the following advice for growing kale.
Growing requirements for kale are very similar to those of cabbage. Gardeners who want to grow kale in spring should either purchase transplants in early to mid-spring or start seeds indoors about four to six weeks before the last expected frost date. 

Seeds for autumn-harvested kale should be started in mid-summer and the plants should be installed in the garden by mid-September.

   Be sure to harden off young plants before transplanting them to the garden and do not crowd them to ensure good air circulation. Space them based on usage (such as harvesting whole young plants or growing them to maturity and harvesting leaves as needed) and the recommendations for each cultivar. 

    Kale grows best in full sun. The soil should drain well and be well-worked and amended with compost. Fertilize the plants with an organic vegetable fertilizer. A consistent moisture level in the soil is necessary for the highest-quality leaves; supplement rainfall with a soaker hose that is installed soon after planting. Keep the kitchen garden well-mulched and free of weeds.  
   The plants should be covered with a floating row cover to protect them from flying insects. It is challenging to extract pests that get into the leaves, especially the ruffled ones.
Read more about growing kale along with a few kale recipes in the February 2016 issue of Washington Gardener Magazine.

All who are involved with You Can Grow That! (YCGT!) believe that plants and gardening enhance our quality of life. We want people to be successful with what they grow and to become more aware of the many gifts that horticulture brings. Find out more at

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