Growing Kale is similar to growing cabbage. Learn here some facts how to grow Kale, scientifically known as Brassica oleracea var.acephala. It is an annual plant which thrives in organically rich, well drained soil and a sunny climate.
Kale requires a soil pH range of between 6.0 and 7.0 and takes around 55 to 60 days to mature. The most common pests of this plant are cabbage worms and loopers, root maggots, aphids and the Diamondback moth.
Kale tends to grow better in colder temperatures - it doesn't care much for the hot weather at all. It can be sown in October ready for spring as long as it is protected from the winter frosts by covering the plants with straw.
Rich in vitamins, particularly A and C and high in calcium, iron and potassium Kale is also a great fiber provider. As well as being used as a garnish for many dishes, it has its place in salads and the good news for those who love cooking, as far as flavor goes, it hangs on to its original taste even after it has been frozen and later defrosted ready for eating.
As soon as the ground can be worked, kale can be planted. It should be placed in rows anywhere between eighteen and thirty inches apart and to a depth of a quarter to half an inch.
Evenly moistened soil kept at a cool to warm temperature is best for easy germination of kale and the seedlings should be thinned to between eight and twelve inches apart. The soil which should be in a sunny position with a pH balance of 6.0 to 7.0 requires enriching with rotted manure or compost. During the growing season, Kale thrives on extra feedings of liquid fertilizer and you will find that the quicker the plant grows, the better the flavor.
As far as companions go, similar to cabbages the kale plant grows well alongside other vegetables such as bush bean, beet, celery, cucumber, lettuce, onion and potato plants.
When the time is right to harvest the plant the leaves are either cut leaving the bud in place to produce new leaves or the whole plant can be cut cropped at once. A useful tip for a sweeter tasting plant from a fall crop is to postpone the harvest until the plant has been touched by the first frost.
The most common pests for this plant are cabbage worms and loopers which present themselves as white and yellow butterfly kinds of insects.
However, by using covers over your plants you will be able to keep all manner of insects such as aphids, Diamondback moths and root maggots out and your plants should remain free of disease.
Good air circulation and a regularly maintained pH balance of the soil will ward off bacterial and fungal disease and club root respectively. For this reason the time when the weather is at its most humid, mid August for example, should be avoided as far as crop maturity is concerned.