Zones A1-A3, 1-24, H1, H2
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
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.
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.
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
cabbage loopers, cabbageworm,
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