Are you looking for a simple leafy green vegetable for your garden? Kale is a perfect addition, especially if you’re new to the world of gardening at home. This easy to grow cabbage variety has also numerous health benefits. This vegetable is durable enough to last through snaps of cold weather and extremely resistant to typical garden pests, which makes it a stress-free vegetable to grow.
Preparing the soil for planting
In order to grow well, kale needs to be planted in soil with the proper pH level. If you’re unsure about the pH level of your garden soil, test it to make sure it falls within the range of 6.0 to 6.8. The ideal pH level for kale is on the high end of that range since a higher pH protects it from clubroot disease. If you need to boost the pH level of your soil, just add a nitrogen-rich fertilizer to the ground.
Work the soil well to loosen it before you attempt to plant kale seeds. Add in plenty of compost to give the soil vital nutrients, which help the kale plants grow to the largest possible size.
Tips for planting
Since kale grows best in cooler weather, you should plant it outdoors in the beginning of spring or towards the end of summer. If you want the sweetest, most tender kale, though, aim for a fall harvest. To grow a fall yield, plant the seeds outdoors in late summer by sowing them about a half-inch deep in the prepared soil and about one inch apart. Add a light layer of soil to the top of the seeds and water well. When the plants reach nine inches in height, thin until there is one plant for every foot-and-a-half of space in the garden.
Caring for your plants
As mentioned before, kale is rather easy to care for. It stands up well to most garden pests, so you won’t have to spend much time looking for bugs and removing them. However, the plants do require frequent feeding and watering. Give them about an inch of water every week, whether from rainfall or from your gardening hose. Add mulch to the gardening bed often to keep the soil from drying out and to discourage weeds from growing around the plants.
How to harvest Kale
In general, kale matures about 60 days after planting. However, you can look at the leaves to see when they’re ready for harvesting. If you leave the kale in the garden until after the first frost of winter, the leaves will be sweeter. When you harvest, pick from the bottom of the plant and work your way up towards the top. If you see any yellow or wilted leaves, discard them as you go. Rinse the kale thoroughly and store it in a bag in the refrigerator.