How To Grow Kale



Healthy Eating Advisor
@AVogelUK
Ask Felicity


09 June 2015

Choosing a plot

Kale can grow relatively large and as a result needs at least six square inches of space around each seed. Avoid planting near beans, strawberries or tomatoes. A soil pH of between 5.5 and 6.8 is ideal for kale, and an area of ground in full sunshine if planting in the autumn, or partial shade if planting in the spring is best. Kale likes moist but not soggy soil, so finding an area of ground that drains well is vital, or your kale will begin to rot.

Some people prefer to start growing their seeds in a pot indoors before transplanting them into a garden or vegetable plot. Whether you are starting the seeds in a pot or outside, the key is allowing the seeds plenty of space.

Planting seeds

Seeds should be sown thinly, dropped about half an inch into the ground and well-spaced. Plant your seeds approximately 2-4 weeks before the last frost is expected, or as soon as the ground is able to be worked in the spring.

If the seeds are started in a plant pot, they can be transplanted into the ground once leaves have emerged from the soil. Kale first grows two cotyledons, leaves which do not photosynthesise and eventually wither and die once true leaves emerge. Transplant the seedlings perpendicular to the ground so that they grow vertically, deep enough to support the plant, but no deeper than the first leaves.

Nurturing your seeds

Kale likes moist soil but do not be tempted to overwater the plants. Allow the top layer of soil to dry out before watering again. If the kale plants begin to crowd each other, it may be necessary to thin out your plot.

Fertilising the plants every 6-8 weeks should help supply your plants with essential nutrients to ensure that they remain robust and the leaves are sweet and tender. Any discoloured or rotten leaves should be removed to prevent them from infecting the rest of the plant.

Harvesting kale

70-95 days after planting, and once your plants are at least eight inches tall, your kale will be ready to be harvested. If you are looking to harvest individual leaves only, then begin by picking off outside leaves from the plant. Do not leave them on the plant for too long as they will turn bitter.

If you want to harvest the entire plant, then cut the stem about two inches above the ground and this should allow the leaves to regrow.

Conquer that Quinoa!

So you've bought yourself a bag of quinoa but now you don't know what to do with it! Don't worry, we're here to help.

How to cook quinoa

Cinnamon Sugar Chickpea Cookies

These cookies might sound a bit strange but they're sweet and chewy making them the perfect partner for a cuppa!

Get the recipe

Video: Fermented Tomato Ketchup

Ready to try something new? Watch Emma's recipe video for a delicious Fermented Tomato Ketchup!

Get the recipe

Kick it up a notch!

Our Herbamare combines herbs and vegetables with a little sea salt to create a delicious, healthy seasoning for any dish!

Find out more

Healthy & nutritious dinner ideas

Get new recipes in your inbox every week. Sign up now

Hayfever? Check the pollen count in your area.