Growth habits and planting needs
Kale is a hardy and especially nutritious vegetable that is easy to grow in sunny spot in the home garden. It is rich in antioxidants, iron, vitamins A,C, K and Folate and rich in calcium.
Prepare the soil by digging it over well and enriching it by working in aged manure and well rotted compost. The soil should be rich and friable to a depth of 60 cm with a pH of 6.0 to 7.0 and amend with lime if the soil is too acidic.
Kale needs lots of nitrogen to grow strong leaves and stems so it should follow the nitrogen fixing legumes in the crop rotation.
Sow seeds 1 cm deep and about 40-45 cm apart.
Plant three or four seeds together water in with liquid seaweed. Thin out to the strongest seedling when they have two true leaves. Make sure the soil is moist and does not dry out.
The seeds should germinate in about 5-8 days.
Mulch lightly around the plants as they grow making sure to keep the mulch away from the stem. This will keep the moisture in the soil.
Like all leaf crops, kale needs adequate water to keep it growing fast end so ensure that the leaves will be sweet and tender.
Fertilize with a some blood and bone every 4-6 weeks.
- Red Russian
- celery, onion, potato and beetroot
- garlic to improve growth and flavour.
- land cress, hyssop, rosemary, mint and sage to deter cabbage butterfly
- nasturtium to deter aphids
Red Russian Kale
The plants will be ready to harvest in 12 to 16 weeks.
Harvest the leaves from around the plant leaving the inner plant to continue growing. As Kale is a biennial plant, care of the plant will ensure a long picking season.