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 Kale

Annual

 

  Planting Zones:

Zones A1-A3, 1-24, H1, H2

Exposure:

Since kale is grown for its leaves, not flowers, it can handle full sun to partial shade. Sun exposure is just one factor in growing healthy kale plants. They can handle more sun, if they are given plenty of water to cool the soil. Partial shade will be required if the weather is warm and dry.

Water:

Moderate

Overview:

Kale is a leafy vegetable in the Brassica or cole crop family It is usually grouped into the "Cooking Greens" category with collards, mustard and Swiss chard, but it is actually more of a non-heading cabbage.  The leaves grow from a central stem that elongates as it grows. Kale is a powerhouse of nutrients and can be used as young, tender leaves or fully grown.

Soil: Kale plants like to grow in a rich soil, high in organic matter with a slightly acidic pH (5.5 - 6.5 pH). You’re growing it for the foliage, so the high nitrogen content provided by organic matter is crucial.

The optimal soil temperature for planting is 60 - 65 degrees F. All varieties prefer cool temperatures and will be sweetened by a touch of frost. Hot weather turns kale bitter.

Maintenance: Keep your kale plants well watered.. Along with cool temperatures, moist soil helps keep kale leaves sweet and crisp, rather than tough and bitter.

Side dressing throughout the growing season with compost or feeding with some type of high nitrogen fertilizer (the first number on the fertilizer label), like fish emulsion, will keep your kale growing. Mulching  under the plants will keep the soil cool and moist, the way kale likes it.

Pests: Kale is a member of the cabbage family, with is notorious for rot diseases and attracting insect pests. Kale is less prone to problems than cabbage or broccoli, but it can be susceptible to: black rot and club root as well as aphids, cabbage loopers, cabbageworm, cutworms, flea beetles and slugs. The best defense is to monitor the plants often, for signs of eggs or feeding. Be sure you know which pest is in evidence and treat accordingly.


 

 

 

 
 

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