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GROWING KALE FOR
SALADS AND COOKING

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Young Kale Plant Ripe For The Picking

Growing Kale

Kale also known as Borecole is a leafy form of cabbage, and like collard greens does not form a head. Along with mustard greens, turnip greens, collard greens and arugula they are and excellent addition to salads when the leaves are young and tender, and as cooking greens as they mature.

The leaves of most varieties of kale are curly to some extent, with some varieties of kale being referred to as, flowering kale or flowering cabbage, range in color from white, red, pink, lavender, blue or violet. Although these varieties are usually grown for their colorful leaves, the interior leaves are also edible.


Photo of white flowering kale

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This cool season vegetable thrives in the cool climate of early spring and fall, like other brassicas their flavor is enhanced by these cooler growing conditions.

Photo of lavender flowering kale

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Not only is the flavor enhanced by cooler weather but also the brightness of the color.


Growing good kale is the same as most members of the Brassicaceae family. Use a good organic all purpose fertilizer before sowing or transplanting and keep the kale plants growing at a steady pace with two weekly applications of fish fertilizer during the growing season. Mulch, of cause, it will help to keep the ground cool and moist as well as reduce weed competition.



Quick Reference Guide



Veggie Garden Dairy
Vegetable Kale
Also Known As Borecole
Botanical Family - Brassicaceae, Species - Brassica oleracea , Cultivar group - Acephala Group
Plant Type Cool season - biennial - leafy vegetable
Frost Tolerance Hardy
Planting Position Sunny position but welcomes shade in the hottest part of the season - requiring a minimum of 3-4 hours of direct sunlight daily.
Seed Viability 4 years
Germination 5-8 days at 40-80 F (4-27 C)
Growing Temp 50-70 F (10-21 C)
Seed to Transplant 5-6 weeks
Planting Method Direct sow or Seedling transplants
When to Plant Spring and again in mid-summer for fall-winter harvest
Time to Plant As soon as 2 - 4 weeks before the average date of the last 32 F (0 C) freeze in the spring in your area but not before soil temperatures are consistently 40 F (4 C) and above.
Seed Sowing Direct sowing kale seeds 1/2 inch (12 mm) deep - 4-6 inches (10-15 cm) apart in rows 18-24 inches (45-60 cm) apart
Plant Spacing Transplant or thin seedlings 12-18 inches (30-45 cm) apart in rows 18-24 inches (45-60 cm) apart
Soil Conditions Well drained - High organic matter - Medium fertility
Fertilizer Medium fertilizer needs, 3-4 quarts per 100 sq feet (3.3-4.4 liters per 9.3 square meters) preplanting of All-Purpose 5-5-5 Organic Fertilizer icon, same rate for each side dressing.
When to Fertilize 2 weeks before sowing or transplanting - when transplanting use liquid starter fertilizer - side-dress every 3-4 weeks .
Days to Harvest 55-75 days - depending on conditions and variety
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