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Kale: How to grow from Seed to Harvest

Kale is a nutrient-packed leafy green vegetable that has become increasingly popular in recent years due to its many health benefits. It’s a cool-season crop that can be grown from seed to harvest in a relatively short period of time, making it an ideal choice for home gardeners who want to try their hand at growing their own vegetables.

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In this blog post, we’ll walk you through the process of growing kale from seed to harvest, including tips for planting, caring for, and harvesting your kale plants.

Choosing the right Kale seeds

The first step in growing kale is to choose the right seeds. Look for seeds that are labelled as “cold-tolerant” or “hardy,” as these will be more likely to thrive in cooler temperatures. You can choose from a variety of kale types, including curly kale, Tuscan kale, and red kale.

Starting your seeds

Start your kale seeds indoors 6-8 weeks before your last expected frost date. Use seed-starting trays or small pots filled with a high-quality potting mix. Sow the seeds ¼ inch deep and keep the soil moist but not waterlogged.

Kale Seedlings Emerging
Kale Seedlings Emerging

Once the seedlings have developed their first true leaves, you can transplant them to larger containers or into your garden bed.

Preparing your soil

Kale prefers well-draining, fertile soil that is rich in organic matter. Work in compost or aged manure to improve the soil’s texture and fertility. Aim for a soil pH of 6.0-7.5. We use this soil tester to make sure the pH balance is where we need it to be.

Planting your kale

When your seedlings are 3-4 inches tall, you can transplant them into your garden bed. Space the plants 12-18 inches apart to give them plenty of room to grow.

Vates Blue Kale Seedling
Vates Blue Kale Seedling

Kale can be planted in full sun or partial shade. If you live in a hot climate, choose a spot that gets morning sun and afternoon shade to help protect the plants from the heat.

Caring for your kale

Water your kale plants deeply once a week, or more often if the soil feels dry. Mulch around the plants to help retain moisture and suppress weeds.

Fertilize your kale plants every 4-6 weeks with a balanced fertilizer that is high in nitrogen. Alternatively, you can top-dress the soil with compost or aged manure.

Watch out for pests and diseases, such as aphids, flea beetles, and powdery mildew. If you notice any signs of damage or disease, take action immediately to prevent it from spreading to other plants.

Harvesting your kale

Kale ready to be harvested.

You can start harvesting your kale when the leaves are large enough to use. Cut the outer leaves from the plant, leaving the central growing tip intact so that new leaves can continue to grow.

Kale can be harvested throughout the growing season, and it will continue to produce new leaves as long as you keep harvesting regularly.

In conclusion, growing kale from seed to harvest is a relatively easy process that can yield a bounty of nutritious and delicious greens. By following these simple steps, you can enjoy fresh, homegrown kale throughout the growing season. We have more growing guides for you to enjoy and we are adding more all the time.

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