The Vegetable Garden

Kale - Spacing & Depth

    Spacing & Depth


    If you plan to harvest the kale leaves at their youngest stage plant kale 8"-12" apart in rows 18-30" apart. Young leaves are great for salads. An alternate spacing is to give the kale plants more room to grow using a 16" spacing. This spacing allows for good air circulation and will allow the kale to grow longer without harvest. Older leaves are good for cooking but are too tough for salads.

    Care

    Kale produces sweet, crisp leaves if soils are kept moist. Kale does not like to dry out. Using straw mulch around the plants helps retain soil moisture but kale does need to be watered regularly throughout the growing season.

    The trick to producing excellent kale heads is to keep the kale plants growing at a steady pace. Top-dress the plants with compost or manure tea; or side-dress with blood-meal or fish emulsion; and water deeply. Repeat this process every 3-4 weeks until just before harvest.

    Mulch will help keep the ground cool and moist as well as reduce weed competition.

    Harvesting

    Kale can be harvested as soon as the leaves are ready to be used although the leaves are most delicious after the first frosts.


    Harvest kale by clipping off the outer leaves if you want the plant to keep producing. Or harvest the entire plant when there is a large rosette of leaves.

    Common Problems

    Diseases

    Black Rot, Club Root, Fusarium Wilt

    Pests

    Aphids, Cabbage Loopers, Imported Cabbageworm, Cutworms, Flea Beetles, and Diamond Back Moth