Essentials to Growing Kale

kale

Kale is a hearty green that’s easy to grow, nutrient-rich, and fabulous in a wide variety of dishes. And for all those patio and backyard gardeners late to the game, this is a veggie best planted in late summer.

When and How to Plant Kale

In cooler climates like the Pacific Northwest, kale can be plated as early as the beginning of spring. But, kale can also be planted right now for a fabulous fall and winter harvest. In fact, late-summer planting is what’s recommended.

For best results, you’ll want to plant your kale in full sun. Give it plenty of water to keep the soil moist. And, place the seedlings 1.5- to 3-inches apart. This will help promote healthy growth and reduce the chance of m0ld.

3 Types of Kale

Tuscan Kale

Tuscan kale (aka Toscano, Lacinato and disasaur kale) is the non-curly varieties. This is the ideal choice for salads, as the flavor tends to be mild. Because these varieties grow upright, they can also double as an ornamental addition to your flowerbed.

curly kale

Winterbor Kale

Winterbor kale has curly leaves. These varieties are particularly hearty and can withstand temperatures as low as 5 degrees, making them the ideal choice if you plan to harvest through the winter.

Ornamental Kale

While ornamental kale is edible, its bright color makes it an ideal choice for those interested in a more decorative garden.

How to Harvest Kale

To promote new growth, harvest the outer layer of your kale. This can be done by hand by holding a leaf at the base of the stem and pulling downwards, creating a clean break. It can also be done with pruners or kitchen scissors. You’ll want to cut the leaves where they intersect with the stalk.

6 Additional ‘Late’ Summer Planting Options

Kale’s not your only choice for late summer crops. The following edibles can be planted now for a rewarding harvest later.

Carrots

Carrots can practically be planted year round, but are best when planted in late July and early August. This gives seeds the best chance to produce. If you would like your carrots to reproduce, leave a few in the ground. This will cause the tops to flower and produce seeds, bringing the carrots back for the second year.

Cauliflower

This hearty winter veggie has gained in popularity as of late. Not only are folks roasting it and steaming it, now they are turning it into everything from rice to waffles! Plant it in full sun, giving the seeds plenty of water and fertilizer.

Broccoli

Another hearty veggie, broccoli thrives in cool weather. This makes it a great late-summer crop to plant. You will want to make sure you give these small plants plenty of room to grow, as they may surprise you with how large they get. Plant in a location with full sun and be sure to give them plenty of fertilizer.

spinach

Spinach

This vitamin-rich leafy green isn’t quite as tough or bitter as kale, making it a more universally accepted salad green. Make sure to plant in soil that drains well so as not to drown the young plants.

Radishes

Radishes can be a bright addition to a winter garden, as their crisp, acidic bite is reminiscent of summer. Plant them roughly 1-inch apart in moist soil. Like carrots, these hearty root vegetables can be planted nearly year-round.

Onions

As the saying goes, you’re not cooking until there’s an onion in the pan. While onions are a hearty vegetable, they also need a nitrogen-rich soil. Be sure dirt is loose and drains well, so as not to drown the onions. Place onions roughly 1-inch deep and 4-inches apart for maximum growing potential.

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