Kale prefers fertile, well-drained soils for good growth. Add about 10 pounds of well rotted manure or compost or 1-1 1/2 pounds of complete fertilizer (such as 10-10-10) per 100 square feet and worked it well into the soil. Water the plants uniformly. Control weeds when plants are small.
Kale is a cool season vegetable that should be planted in early spring and for the fall garden. It can be grown from seeds or transplants. Transplants can be planted 3-4 weeks before the last frost free date. It is advisable to select early maturing cultivars for the fall planting. Seeds are planted 1/4 to 3/4 inch deep and thinned when plants have 3 to 4 leaves. Transplants require 5-6 weeks to reach planting size (plants with 4-6 mature leaves).
Kale should be harvested when the leaves reach full size by removing older leaves. kale can tolerate some frost, which tends to improve its flavor. Harvested leaves can be frozen and stored at 95% rlative humidity for 2-3 weeks.
Kale direct seeded or transplanted should be spaced 12 to 18 inches within the rows that are 24 inches apart.
Additional pests and problems that may affect this plant:
- Imported Cabbage Worm
- Cabbage Looper
- Diamondback Moth
- Flea Beetles
- Black Rot
- Downy Mildew
- Bacterial Leaf spot
- White Leaf Spot
Flowering varieties can be used as ornamentals. Kale plants can be used as garnish, in salads, and may be cooked.