Kale

Growing from a seed

Kale has to be one of the easiest plants to get to sprout. Plant a few seeds in a little seedling pot atop a few cm of soil, and then cover with about 1 cm of soil. Find a spot that gets some sun; I choose afternoon sun as it is a bit more gentle on the seeds than the morning sun. Then make sure you water the seeds once a day. You will only need a few drops of water to wet the soil as you do not want to drown the seeds. Kale is a relatively fast sprouter and a few of my seeds sprouted in about 5-10 days.

Kale seeds will also manage to look after themselves if you need to go away for a week. Just make sure you put the seedling pots in a container that you can pour some water into that can seep into the soil and water the seeds while you are away. Once the kale has sprouted they will need daily watering to stay healthy and not wilt.

Kale seedlings

The kale seedling will look very different to an adult kale plant, so prepare yourself for that. The kale seedling will grow on a long thin stalk with two heart-shaped leaves at first. As it matures it will sprout additional heart leaves further down the stalk. If you have multiple seedlings grow in your seedling pot then you will need to separate them into their own individual pots after a few days (just wait a bit to make sure your other seeds aren’t about to sprout). Usually I would put them in larger plastic pots at this stage, these pots are those that are used to house baby plants.

The second set of leaves that will grow on your kale seedling will have the typical, well known kale shape to them. This I find very satisfying as you feel like you are now successfully growing a kale plant. Wait a couple of weeks for the second set of leaves to develop and then re-pot.

Re-potting seedlings

Re-pot the seedlings each into their own container. For me this was separating my two seedlings into two containers. I decided to place them in a pot that looked MUCH too big for them so as to not have to re-pot for quite some time. Make sure you don’t pick to big a pot and end up over-watering though. In the photos below my kale seedlings would be about 1 month old, stand about 10 cm tall and are getting their third set of leaves. At this point the seedlings still need to be kept inside at room temperature or in a glass house.

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The second set of leaves will have the typical kale shape which I have found quite exciting. As they get a big bigger they also start to develop that bubbly texture known to kale plants.

The kale seedlings fell over at about week three, which I think was from the weight of the leaves, due to this I stuck a skewer in the pot so I know the leaves will continue to get lots of sunlight exposure.

I re-potted the kale for the third time about three weeks after the last re-potting and then placed them outside. They did struggle to take a little bit with being outside after having weeks indoors. The pots I re-potted them into really weren’t much bigger but the kale ended up looking a whole lot healthier after this. From here you just need to wait for the leaves to grow enough to be able to harvest some from the plant without taking most of the plant away.

Harvesting

You can harvest the kale leaves when they are about the size of your hand. They can easily be used in a lot of dishes. If you have sprayed or fertilised them please follow the packet instructions. My kale plants had nothing applied to them during growing so this is not something I had to worry about. Pick the leaves from the outer edges, leaving enough leaves for the plant to continue growing more leaves for you.

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