Unlike lettuce, the leafy, cool-season vegetable kale (Brassica oleracea acephala) must be cooked, because the leaves are too tough to eat raw. Until summer warms up, since types of kale mature in two months or less, you can harvest a spring crop. Kale’s flavor sweetens, but temperatures above 80 degrees Fahrenheit make it bitter. The plant is associated with autumn, when backyard centers bring out the colorful, flowering varieties. At U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 8 to 10, kale might be chosen during the winter.

Best Seconds for Planting

In Mediterranean-like climates, kale seedlings must be set out for spring crops in February, March or April, and in August or September for winter and autumn harvesting. Seeds are started indoors and transplanted into the backyard after about 4 to 6 months of growing. For production from the autumn until the plants naturally bolt from the spring, continue planting during autumn in USDA zones 8 to 10. Fall-grown kale benefits from the weather that generates a nutty flavor possible in this season.

Planting Tips

Kale prefers fertile soil, so dig like manure, cottonseed meal or blood meal . Transplants up to their first leaves. Allow 18 to 24 inches between rows. Leaves grow bigger if spaced further apart, but leaves that are more compact are the most tender. Plant in full sun or in a place that receives at least six hours of sun if possible. Otherwise, kale will get leggy. Throughout the period, make sure their leaves and give your plants to 1 1/2 inches of water every week to sustain development don’t toughen. Mulching with straw keeps them cool and moist and discourages weeds. As an additional benefit, the straw will deter soil from sticking to the crinkled leaves.

Varietal Differences

Flowering kale, so named because its heads that are multicolored resemble blossoms that are giant in combinations of hot, white and green pink, shows up in autumn gardens as an ornamental. In truth, it is as edible as any other sort of kale. “Red Russian,” a normal culinary selection, rivals the glamour of kale with its own blue leaves veined in rosy-red. It evolves in just 40 to 60 days. Other varieties fast to harvest include”Blue Knight,””Dwarf Blue Curled” and”Dwarf Blue Scotch,” all prepared in about 55 days. “Konserva,””Squire” and”Verdura” could be eaten within 60 days of planting.

Harvest and Storage

Starting with the leaves in the base of the plant, proceed up the stalk picking discarding any that are yellowed or tattered. Leave at least four leaves undamaged in the crown, along with the plant will replenish the ones you chosen. Washed kale leaves stay or two weeks in a loose, plastic tote. For cooking later on, you could even freeze it or dry it. Kale makes a superb substitute for spinach in many dishes.

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