All You Need To Know About Growing Kale

You want to grow kale in your garden or on your balcony and have some open questions in this regard?

Good news! I answer all questions you might have about growing kale in this FAQ section.

Table of Contents

Time & Duration

When to grow kale from seed?

Since kale is a cool-weather plant, the best time to start growing kale from seed is in the mid of spring.

In most moderate climatic zones, this is between late March and April.

However, while cole likes cool weather, you should still wait with growing it outdoors until you don’t expect frost anymore.

Does kale grow year-round?

Since kale grows best with cool weather, you will have a hard time growing it during summer months.

Consequently, it is not a good idea to grow kale year-round.

Prepare the soil!

Instead, start growing kale in spring so that you can harvest it before the hot summer months arrive.

Does kale grow fast?

It will not take you that long to grow kale from seed to harvest compared to many other garden vegetables.

For instance, while it will take you at least 4 months to grow pumpkins or melons from seed to harvest, you can grow kale from seed to harvest within two months.

How long does it take to grow kale?

While experienced gardeners may be able to grow kale in 60 days or less, beginners will often take much longer to grow kale from sowing to harvest.

Hence, if you are still new to gardening, you should expect that it will take you around 80 days to get decent kale yields.

Does kale grow back every year?

While kale could grow back, it is often just grown as an annual and this means that you will just harvest the plant material once a year and if you want to get kale for many years to come, you will have to plant new kale seeds every year as well.

How long do kale plants live?

Kale plants will usually live from spring when you sow the seed until early summer when you finally harvest it.

However, if you don’t harvest kale and just let it grow, your plants will live until the first strong winter frost arrives.

Yet, if you are lucky, your kale plants might grow back next spring.

How long does it take until kale flowers?

Kale plants will usually only develop flowers in the second year.

Hence, if you plan to harvest kale within the first growing season, you will often not see any flowers on your plants.

However, this is good since as soon as you see flowers, the quality of your kale harvest will decrease.

Can you grow kale in fall?

While growing kale in spring is still best since you will get the best yields on average, you can still try growing kale in fall as long as you make sure that you will harvest your plants before the first strong winter frost hits so that your kale plants will not decay.

Can you grow kale in winter?

You should not try growing kale in winter since you would have to do so indoors to protect your plants from excessively cold weather and since kale still likes cool climatic conditions, you will just not be able to provide those conditions to your plants indoors.

Location & Climate

Will kale grow in shade?

Even though kale plants like cool weather, they still also like the sun and growing them in completely shady environments is therefore not a good idea.

Instead, make sure to provide your plants with at least a few hours of sunlight per day on average to assure a healthy growth of your kale plants.

Will kale grow in partial shade?

Partial shade is a good environment to grow kale since your plants will get a healthy mix of sun and shade while they will still be protected from excessive sun exposure, radiation and heat and will be able to grow in a decent manner.

Does kale grow best in full sun?

While many other plants grow well in full sun, kale plants usually grow better if you provide them with a decent mix of sun and shade instead of exposing your plants to full sun all day long.

Thus, make sure to choose a half-shady spot in your garden or on your balcony to get the best results.

Will kale tolerate frost?

While kale is not as sensitive as other plants when it comes to cold climatic conditions, you should still not expose your young kale plants to excessively cold climatic conditions and you should therefore wait with growing kale outdoors until there is no frost anymore.

Do you have to protect kale from the sun?

While there is no need to actively protect kale plants from the sun, you should still do so in a natural manner by growing kale in locations where your plants get a mix of sun and shade instead of being exposed to direct sunlight all day long.

How much space do you need to grow kale?

You should calculate at least 4 square feet of space in the horizontal for each kale plant so that your plants can grow in a decent manner and will not have to compete for nutrients or sunlight with other plants which may inhibit their growth.

Will kale grow indoors?

Growing kale indoors is not a good idea since you will just not be able to provide natural growing conditions to your plants.

Since kale likes cool weather, it will often just be too warm inside your four walls and kale plants will grow much slower than outdoors.

Can you grow kale without a garden or balcony?

Without a garden or a balcony, you would have to grow kale indoors. However, there are many issues with it.

Apart from the fact that you will not be able to provide natural conditions to your plants, you will also have to clean your home more often and your plants will also take away lots of space from you.

Consequently, if you don’t have a garden or a balcony, you should wait with growing kale at home until you move to a place with better overall circumstances.

Can you grow kale in small flats?

Growing kale and other plants in small flats is not a good idea since you will often need all of your space for storage purposes and your plants would just take away too much space from you.

Hence, instead of growing kale at home in small flats, wait with it until you move to a bigger place.

Can you grow kale in an aquarium?

Some people also try growing kale in an aquarium.

While this may sound interesting in theory, it is just problematic in practice since waterlogging will often become an issue and your aquarium will also become quite heavy and immobile once you fill it with lots of potting soil.

Can you grow kale in a terrarium?

Growing kale in terrariums is also not a good idea since water will often not be able to run off properly and the roots of kale plants will start to rot.

Hence, instead of growing kale in terrariums, make sure to use conventional flower pots or other suitable alternatives instead.

Can you grow kale in buckets?

Growing kale in buckets can work out great for you as long as you make sure that you drill some holes into your buckets so that water can run off properly.

You should also make sure to use big buckets so that kale plants get sufficient space and nutrients to grow well.

Can you grow kale in bags?

You could also just grab some fabric bags and grow kale in there. However, make sure to use pretty big bags and don’t use plastic bags since water will often not be able to run off properly and the roots of your plants would start to rot.

Can you grow kale in hanging baskets?

You could also just grow kale in hanging baskets.

Since kale doesn’t produce heavy crops, it is perfectly suitable to be grown in hanging baskets and you can definitely give it a try and use hanging baskets instead of conventional flower pots.

Can you grow kale in rainy climatic zones?

Since kale is a cool-weather crop, you will be able to grow it will in rainy climatic zones.

However, still make sure that your plants get as much sun as possible to utilize every precious hour of sunlight in those rainy climates for the growth of your plants.

Can you grow kale in tropical climatic zones?

Since kale doesn’t like hot weather, it will just not grow well in the tropics.

Consequently, instead of growing kale in tropical climatic zones, you should rather grow tomatoes, papayas, bananas or other plants that are more used to the heat.

Can you grow kale in regions with permafrost?

While kale is not as sensitive to the cold as most other garden vegetables, it will still not grow well in regions with permafrost and you would therefore have to protect it from the cold by using greenhouses.

However, you would also often have to heat those greenhouses and this would cost you lots of energy and money in the long run.

Does kale grow on vines?

Kale doesn’t grow on vines. Instead, kale plants are rather compact and you will also not harvest actual crops, but rather the whole plant since you will just harvest the leaf material and your kale plants will not produce additional crops at all.

Does kale grow underground?

Kale doesn’t grow underground. Instead, apart from the roots, the whole kale plant will grow above the soil surface and this will also make it quite easy for you to determine when your kale is ready to harvest since you can just have a look at the size and the color of the leaves.

What is the best orientation for growing kale?

Since kale loves a healthy mix of sun and shade, you should grow it in either west or east orientation.

Growing kale in south orientation will also be fine if you want to provide more sunlight to your plants.

Just never grow kale in north orientation since your plants would not get sufficient sunlight.

Can you grow kale with indirect sunlight?

Sure, you can also grow kale with indirect sunlight in greenhouses.

Yet, you will often still not get the same results compared to just growing kale outdoors in your garden with direct sunlight and I therefore recommend you always grow kale with direct sunlight if you have the chance to do so.

Where does kale grow best?

Kale grows best in half-shady environments in your garden where it gets lots of nutrients.

Thus, make sure to use high-quality soil so that your plants can grow well and also choose a spot where your plants get sufficient sunlight while being protected from storms at the same time.

Where to grow kale in pots?

The best location to grow kale in pots is on your porch since your plants will get a decent mix of sun and shade while they are still protected from wind, hail and other adverse harsh conditions outdoors that may harm your plants in the long run.

Where to grow kale indoors?

The best spot to grow kale indoors would be in a bright room.

However, kale still doesn’t like the heat and grows much better with cool air temperatures.

Consequently, you should only grow kale indoors if you just don’t have any chance to grow it outdoors in your garden or on your balcony.

Can you grow kale in water?

You will not be able to grow kale in pure water.

Instead, you will have to provide a decent soil mix to your plants so that they can get sufficient nutrients, grow well and become resistant to pest and plant diseases at a rather early age.

Can you grow kale with LED lights?

If you grow kale indoors, you could also use LEDs or other forms of artificial lighting to improve growing conditions.

However, this will cost you lots of energy and money in the long run and I therefore recommend you just utilize natural sunlight instead of artificial lighting for growing kale.

Can you grow kale in dark rooms?

While kale likes cool climatic conditions, kale plants will still need some sun to grow well and growing them in dark rooms is therefore a pretty bad idea.

Hence, instead of growing kale in dark rooms, make sure to grow it in bright rooms or even better, grow kale outdoors!

Soil Requirements

Can you reuse soil for growing kale the next year?

Many people dispose of the soil after they have finished their gardening project.

However, there is no need to do so and you can reuse soil for growing kale multiple times as long as you loosen it after each growing season.

Also make sure to add some fertilizer to the soil so that it will get rich in nutrients again.

Does kale grow well in waterlogged soil?

Kale doesn’t grow well in waterlogged soil at all.

Consequently, make sure that excess water will be able to run off properly so that the roots of your plants will not get damaged in the long run and your plants can grow in a healthy manner.

Does kale grow best in acidic, neutral or alkaline soil?

Kale grows best in acidic soil with an optimal soil pH between 5.6 and 6.4.

However, you should not worry about those technicalities that much. Instead, just get a healthy soil mix from the garden center and you will be perfectly fine in this regard.

Will kale grow in sandy soil?

Sandy soil is not great to grow kale since kale plants don’t like too much sand in the soil mix.

Thus, make sure to get some high-quality potting soil from the garden center to grow kale well in pots and also to mix garden soil with potting soil from the store to make it more suitable for growing kale.

Will kale grow well in clay soil?

Clay soil will just be too solid to grow kale. In turn, the roots of your plants will just not grow well and waterlogging may also become an issue.

Consequently, your kale plants would grow much slower in clay soil compared to a looser soil mix you could get from the garden center.

Will kale grow in compost?

Compost is great to grow kale and other garden veggies since it is just rich in nutrients and also loose enough so that the roots of your plants can grow well.

You could also mix compost with potting soil from the garden center to get a solid soil mix for kale and many other garden plants.

Plant Care

Do kale plants need a lot of water?

While kale will not need lots of water when it is still young, water demand of your kale plants will grow exponentially once your plants get bigger.

Hence, make sure to adjust your watering behavior according to that so that you always provide kale plants with sufficient water but still don’t water them excessively.

Do you have to water kale on a regular basis?

If you grow kale in your garden and your plants have access to rainwater in the soil, you will often not have to water your plants at all during rainy periods of the year.

However, during dry periods, you will have to water kale plants on a regular basis so that your plants can grow well and produce decent yields.

Should you use filtered or unfiltered water to water kale?

You should not put in any time for filtering water.

Instead, just use unfiltered tap water to water kale plants since it will just be much easier and it will also make barely any difference in the growth behavior of your plants.

Should you use rainwater to water kale?

Rainwater is also great to water kale. Just install a rainwater tank in your garden and collect rainwater during rainy periods of the year so that you will have lots of rainwater to use for kale and other plants during dry periods of the year.

When to stake kale plants?

While there is no urgent need to stabilize and stake kale plants, you could still do so when your plants reach at least 4 inches in height since at this point, your plants will become more vulnerable to winds and stabilizing them could be a good idea.

What to stake kale with?

Staking kale is pretty easy. You just need to anchor one stick in the ground next to each plant and tie kale plants with cord to those sticks.

When your plants grow bigger, make additional ties so that your kale plants are protected against wind and other adverse conditions outdoors.

What to do when kale turns yellow?

Kale leaves turn yellow if you water them too often or if you don’t provide enough nutrients to your plants.

Hence, make sure to adjust your watering schedule and don’t water your plants when the soil surface is still wet.

Also add some fertilizer and you should see kale leaves turn back green pretty soon.

How to protect kale against wind?

While it is not really necessary to protect kale from wind, you can still do so by stabilizing your plants and tying them with cord to sticks.

Through this simple and cheap measure, your plants will become more resistant to wind and you will likely be able to harvest higher and better quality yields.

How to protect kale against heavy rain?

You should not protect kale against heavy rain. Period.

Just let your plants grow in a completely natural manner and you will be surprised by how well your plants will grow without any intervention from your side in this regard.

How to protect kale against hail?

If you grow kale in your garden and are not able to move your plants to a safe location, the best thing you can do is to use some foliage cover to protect kale from hail.

If you grow kale in pots, just move those pots to a safe place when you expect hail.

Should you pinch out kale?

Pinching kale is not necessary at all. In fact, you can do more harm than good if you don’t know what you are doing and pinching out kale can also lower your yields.

Hence, instead of pinching kale, just let your plants grow in a natural manner.

Where to pinch kale?

If you really want to pinch out kale, the best location to do so is outdoors in your garden to keep away garden pests from your four walls and also to avoid a mess inside your home.

However, there is still no need to pinch kale and I therefore recommend you just get rid of the idea.

Can you grow kale without fertilizer?

While you could grow kale without using any additional fertilizer if you provide high-quality soil to your plants, you should still add some natural fertilizer if you really want to maximize yields and grow kale as fast as possible.

Should you cover kale plants to protect them against frost?

Since kale plants are quite resistant to the cold, there will be no need to cover them.

However, you should still wait with growing kale outdoors until you don’t expect heavy frost anymore to be safe in this regard.

How to get rid of moss when growing kale?

While moss is usually not harmful to your plants, it still indicates that you water your plants too often and you should therefore reduce your watering behavior so that the soil will dry up a little bit and will become a better medium to grow kale in.

Pests & Diseases

Can you grow kale without using pesticides?

If you provide high-quality soil and good growing conditions to kale, you will often be able to grow kale without using any pesticides.

In fact, the bigger and stronger your plants grow, the more resistant they will become to pests.

Should you use natural or chemical pesticides for kale plants?

In case you want to use pesticides to get rid of unpleasant plant companions, make sure to rely on natural pesticides instead of chemical ones since chemical pesticides would be much more harmful to our planet and would also lower the quality of your harvest.

What are the most common kale pests?

Cabbage worms, beetles and aphids are quite common on kale plants.

However, there are many other pests you might have to deal with when growing cabbage in your garden and you should make sure to get some knowledge on how to get rid of those pests.

How to protect kale against pests?

To learn more about pest prevention, make sure to have a look at how to get rid of kale pests and diseases and also on my pest removal guides where I show you how to get rid of garden pests.

Growing Difficulty

Should you grow kale with children?

Kale can be great plant to grow with children since kale will grow relatively fast and your kids will be able to see results quickly.

Kale will also allow you to make some mistakes while you will still be able to harvest decent yields.

Is kale a good plant for a school project?

Growing kale can also be great as a school project.

By growing their own plants, school kids will get a better understanding of how much work it needs to produce our groceries and they will therefore also value their food much more.

Is growing kale difficult?

Growing kale is not difficult. In fact, if you follow the advice in this article, you will be able to grow kale in a decent manner, even if you might still be a gardening beginner since kale is quite easy to grow and will also allow some mistakes.

Harvest

What color does ripe kale have?

Ripe kale leaves usually have a green color and will also be quite big in size.

Hence, wait with harvesting kale until leaves are really big to get the most out of your gardening project and don’t waste any potential by harvesting your plants sooner.

Can you save seeds from kale plants?

Since kale will often only flower during the second year and you will harvest it within the first year most of the time, you will just not have the chance to save seeds from kale and will rather have to rely on seeds from the garden center.

Can kale get overripe?

Yes, even kale can get overripe if you don’t harvest it on time.

However, kale plants have a big tolerance when it comes to the optimal harvesting time and it will therefore not really manner if you harvest your plants one week sooner or later.

What parts of a kale plant can you eat?

You can just harvest and eat all of the kale plant material.

In fact, kale will not produce any crops but you will just harvest kale leaves, similar to spinach or other leafy greens.

Additional Questions

Is growing kale expensive?

It is not expensive to grow kale at home. In fact, it will be virtually free if you have a garden since you will just have to buy some seeds and you will be good to go.

If you don’t have a garden, you will need to get some flower pots and some soil.

However, those things will still not cost much and therefore, almost everyone will be able to afford growing kale at home from a financial perspective.

Is growing kale fun?

I personally really like growing kale and other plants at home since I love seeing progress every day and garden plants can also create a peaceful and relaxing atmosphere where you can unwind after a stressful day at work.

Does kale grow on trees?

Kale doesn’t grow on trees. Instead, this delicious garden vegetable grows on compact plants that entirely grow above the soil surface and will therefore also be quite easy to harvest since you will always see the status of your plants and can easily determine the optimal harvesting time.

Does kale grow from flowers?

Kale doesn’t grow from flowers. In fact, it is a rather bad sign if you see flowers on your kale plants since as soon as your plants flower, this will lead to a drop in quality of the plant material.

Hence, always harvest kale plants before they produce flowers unless your focus is to save seeds from your plants.

How many kale plants should you grow per pot?

You should only grow one kale plant per pot so that your plants get sufficient nutrients and sunlight and can grow as big as possible.

I also recommend decently-sized pots since kale will not grow well in small pots due to a lack of nutrients at all.

Which animals feed on kale?

Rabbits, mice and other rodents will love to feed on kale plants.

It is therefore crucial to install a fence around your garden vegetables or to take other measures to keep away those hungry intruders to protect your plants in the long run.

Will your pets eat kale plants?

If you keep rodents as pets, your pets will try to feed on kale plants for sure.

Hence, make sure to separate the living space of your pets from your plants as best as possible so that you don’t wake up one day and your garden veggies will be gone.

Is kale toxic for pets?

While most pets will be able to digest kale in a proper manner, some of them will still struggle with it and as a measure of precaution, you should rather be on the safe side and not allow your pets to come near to your plants at all.

Why kale grows small?

When kale plants grow small, this usually indicates that your plants don’t get sufficient nutrients and that the overall growing conditions are not good as well.

Hence, in such a case, make sure that kale plants get better soil and also a better location so that you can grow them bigger in future growing seasons.

What to grow with kale?

If you want to know what plants to grow with kale, make sure to have a look at my kale companion plant article.

Can you grow kale from kale?

Growing kale from kale is not possible and it would also be a huge waste of food.

Instead of growing kale from kale heads, make sure to grow it from seed or seedlings instead to get good and reliable results in a rather short period of time.

Can you grow kale from rotten fruits?

Growing kale from rotten fruits doesn’t make any sense since you would just not get any seedlings from it.

Hence, instead of using rotten kale for gardening projects, get rid of it as soon as possible and rely on seeds from the garden center instead.

Can you grow kale without seeds?

Growing kale without seeds is possible if you want to get some seedlings from the garden center.

Even though this will allow you to grow kale faster, I still recommend you grow kale from seed instead to get the full growing experience.

Do you have to pollinate kale by hand?

You don’t have to pollinate kale by hand. In fact, you should not even see any flowers on kale plants if you do everything right and therefore, any pollination efforts are obsolete anyways and you should rather focus on proper growth of your plants instead.

How to grow big kale?

The higher your expectations regarding the yield, the better you have to care for kale plants.

If you want to grow big kale, you have to make sure that climatic conditions are optimal and you should also use some fertilizer to maximize yields.

Also make sure to water your plants whenever they need it and to keep away pests as best as possible.

Can you grow kale commercially?

While you could try growing kale commercially, you would still have to invest lots of money for equipment and farmland and I therefore recommend you just grow kale for fun instead of making a real business out of it.

Can you grow kale from fresh seeds?

Growing kale from fresh seeds is pretty difficult since you will often just not get fresh kale seeds anywhere.

Hence, most of the time, you will therefore have to rely on seeds that are produced by a seed company or from your garden center.

Can you grow kale from dried seeds?

Growing kale from dried seeds is perfectly fine and the standard in gardening.

You can just get dried kale seeds anytime you want from the garden center or an internet vendor and if you get high-quality seeds, germination rates should also be decent.

Can you grow kale from cuttings?

You could also try growing kale from cuttings.

However, this is pretty advanced stuff and if you are still a beginner in gardening, you should definitely rather grow kale from seed instead of trying your luck with cuttings that may just not work out.

Should you use a kale growing kit for growing kale?

While you could use a kale growing kit, I highly recommend you rather invest your money in some solid gardening equipment that you can use for a longer period of time and also use for many other gardening projects apart from growing kale.

Does kale grow in the wild?

While some kale varieties also grow in the wild, you will barely see any of those since rabbits, mice or other rodents will often feed on them quite frequently and kale will often stand no chance at all to survive for an extended period of time.

Should you talk to kale plants?

You don’t have to talk to kale plants. In fact, your plants will also grow well without any attention from your side in this regard and I therefore recommend you rather spend your time on more important issues instead of talking to your plants.

Should you plant kale at half moon or full moon?

Also the moon phase doesn’t matter for the success of your kale growing project.

In fact, this is just an ancient and obsolete belief and you should therefore not care about growing kale at full moon, half moon or new moon at all.

I hope you have found the answers you were looking for in this article.

If you want to get even more information on growing kale at home, make sure to also have a look at my kale grower’s guide to learn how to grow kale from seed to harvest step-by-step.

Sources

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kale

Own research and experience.

About the Author

My name is Andreas and I’m really passionate about our environment and also about growing plants. In fact, I have grown several different plants over many years. I love to see my plants grow and also always try new things to improve my overall conditions at home.

In my blog posts, I want to share my experiences with you so that you can become successful in growing various different plants and improving your home as well, even though you might still be a beginner right now.

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