Nutrition Articles

Fruit and Vegetable Gardening A-Z: Kale

A Guide to Gardening, Growing and Harvesting Edibles

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Kale is part of the cabbage family and is closely related to collard greens. It has a distinct, strong flavor and comes in two edible varieties: curled leaf and straight. There is also ornamental Kale, which flowers beautifully.

Hardiness Zones:
6-11 (Find your hardiness zone.)

When to Plant:
Directly sow seeds in early spring (for a summer harvest) under just 1/2 inch of soil, or start seeds indoors 4-6 weeks before you want to plant outside. Kale can handle a light frost.

Conditions:
Kale plants will grow in average and poorer soils, but like any plant, they respond favorably to richer soil that is high in nutrients.

Space Needed:
Thin seedlings to space plants 8-12 inches apart. Space rows 18-30 inches apart.

Maintenance:
Provide plenty of nitrogen for a greener crop and keep the soil moist. Kale will turn bitter if under-watered. Like all plants in the cabbage family, white butterflies and cabbageworms (green caterpillars) can be a major problem.

When to Harvest:
Kale matures in 55-60 days, but young leaves can be harvested whenever you like.

Average Yield:
A 4-foot row of kale will produce about 5 pounds per season.

Continuous Yield:
Yes

Life Cycle:
Annual

Difficulty Rating (1-5):
1

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About The Author

Jenny Sigler Jenny Sigler
Jenny is a stay-at-home mom to her young children, Augustine and Olive. An avid gardener and baker, she enjoys writing about health and childcare topics to empower people to make healthy choices. See all of Jenny's articles.

Member Comments

  • Love Kale and plan to do an late summer, early fall planting. Thanks much for thr info - 7/22/2012 11:39:04 AM
  • Kale is great and easy to grow. I even saw somebody grow a massive dinosaur kale plant in a simple crate. I'm looking forward to growing that type this year. Last year, I planted three types but the deer got to them right before I was about to pick them. I left the stumps in over the winter, and now a bunch of them are growing new leaves! I just harvested some the other day. We had a mild winter so maybe they would have died otherwise, but I'm not sure. They are pretty hardy plants. Anyway, it's seriously easy to grow (just harder to keep the deer away!) and it's so good for you anyone considering growing it should really give it a try. - 4/1/2012 9:48:18 AM
  • Never tried this, although I see it in the grocery store. - 5/4/2009 9:18:43 PM

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