The Vegetable Garden

Kale

Kale is a leafy vegetable that is usually grouped into the “Cooking Greens” category with collards, mustard and Swiss chard. The leaves can be curly and quite ornamental, but become too tough to eat fresh, as they mature. Kale is a member of the cabbage family and is susceptible to many of the same pests.

Varieties

SCOTCH KALE
  • Dwarf Blue Curled Scotch’ (squat plant, good for container culture; curly blue leaves; good in salads when young, or cooked when mature; very cold hardy; 55 days)
  • Redbor’ (a red ‘Winterbor’ with deepest red-purple leaves; color enhances with cold; gorgeous in a flower bed or as an edging; sweet flavor; 28 days baby, 55 days mature)
  • Winterbor’ (2’ to 3’ tall; extremely hardy; very productive; blue-green; 28 days for baby kale; 60 days mature)

SIBERIAN KALE

  • ‘Red Russian’ (blue-gray, flat, deeply cut leaves; veins and stems are blue-green in warm weather, turning red with cold; one of most tender kales; delicious raw in salads; add seeds to lettuces to make your own mesclun mix; 25 days baby, 50 days mature)
  • ‘Blue-Curled Vates’ (great flavor, can be used like lettuce; best cold weather kale; medium green; 60 days)
  • ‘White Russian’ (mild and sweet; excellent for cool weather salads; mulched it is hardy to 5ºF; 58 days)
HEIRLOOM KALE
  • ‘Lacinato’ (an Italian heirloom also known as ‘Nero di Tosca’, ‘Tuscan Black’ or ‘Dinosaur’; 12” to 24” long, 3” wide, slightly crinkled, deep blue-gray leaves; excellent cooked; heat and cold tolerant; 30 days baby, 65 days mature)

When To Plant

In cool climates direct seed kale as soon as the soil can be worked in the spring. Kale germinates in soils that are 45°-95°. In warm climates plant kale seeds in early spring or in late summer or early fall for growing during the winter months. Plant the seeds 1/2" deep in prepared beds. Make sure the seeds do not dry out before germination.

Kale can be started indoors 6 weeks before the last frost.