Fruit and Vegetable Gardening A-Z: Kale

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.

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.

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:

Life Cycle:

Difficulty Rating (1-5):