About growing kale vegetable. How to grow kale plants. Planting kale seeds. When to plant kale greens. How to overwinter a kale plant for all winter harvesting.
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The dark, crinkled leaves of the kale plant are both pretty to gaze upon and tasty to feast upon.
I’m not referring to the ornamental or flowering kale which is grown just for show, but to the culinary kale varieties: the tall, dark–almost black–leaved dinosaur or lacinato kale, the novel treelike walking stick kale, the ruffled blue-green leaves of Siberian kale, the deeply frilled leaf margins and red mid-ribs of red Russian kale, and the often used curly Scotch kale.
The leaves of all of these kale varieties, at different stages of course, are suited to the salad bowl, the soup pot, and the skillet.
Kale plants are ornamental enough to be tucked in amongst the sun loving annuals if you are short on space.
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Kale seeds may be direct sown into the garden. You can either plant the seeds half an inch deep in rows 18 inches apart or just scatter sow them.
The soil in the planting bed should be well composted and moisture retentive as kale plants need constant moisture in order to grow well.
Protect the seedlings from cutworms.
Kale is a cool weather crop which performs best in early spring and winter. Like most pot greens, it likes a mild frost to kiss its leaves.
People say this makes them sweeter but if you’ve ever eaten kale you know that this is an overstatement.
Kale greens have a very bold–almost bitter–flavor. A frost will tone this sharpness down but will not turn it sweet. You have to know how to cook kale greens in order to make them taste good.
Once the plants are up and growing, mulch them with compost and feed them a nitrogen rich organic fertilizer once a month.
*It is better to buy fresh kale seeds each year than to save seed yourself. Kale plants will cross pollinate with any other member of the cabbage family growing within a mile of them.
|Blue Ridge Kale GreensDark blue-green leaves with attractive ruffled texture. Our Blue Ridge Kale gives you very high yield with little maintenance.|
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Harvesting Kale Vegetable Plants
Kale Being Washed (Brassica Oleracea)
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Kale greens mature in 50-65 days from seed or about 40 days after setting out transplants.
You can pick just the outer leaves if you want to keep growing kale over a long season from a single planting. Alternatively, you can pull out the entire plant and start fresh plants later.
The new tender leaves are what you want to add to salads as they will be the mildest.
Growing Kale Through the Winter
Mulch the plants heavily after the first hard frost. Completely bury them in mulch. The leaves will remain green and you can dig them up whenever you want to make Portuguese kale soup or some other kale recipe.
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