Stage 4: Care and Harvesting
- Keep your plants well watered. Along with cool temperatures, kale also enjoys moist soil. Keeping the soil most will also help keep the leaves sweet and crisp.
- Side dressing (fertilizing along the rows) with compost throughout the growing season will help keep your kale producing. You can do this approximately every 6-8 weeks.
- If youíre having issues with dirt sticking to and rotting your kale leaves, you can put mulch (such as straw or grass) around the kale once it is at least six inches high.
Insects and diseases that affect kale:
Cutworms, cabbage loopers and cabbageworms enjoy munching on kale, but kale is relatively good at resisting disease. Giving your plants the nutrients they need and picking off any weathered leaves will help reduce insects found in your garden.
How to Harvest Kale:
Kale is usually ready for harvest 70-95 days from seed and 55-75 days from transplanting, depending on the variety you are planting. Check the seed packet for specific times.
- You can begin to cut individual leaves off the kale when the plant is approximately 8 to 10 inches high, starting with the outside leaves first.
- If you decide to harvest the entire plant, cut the stock two inches above the soil and the plant will sprout new leaves in 1 to 2 weeks.
- Make sure to harvest kale leaves before they become too old and tough. If you canít eat the kale leaves fast enough and they begin to turn brown, pull the old leaves off, and compost them, to free the plants of insect attractants and unnecessary energy drains.
- You can also pick kale regularly and store it in the fridge for up to a week. If you choose to do so, keep it lightly moist and place it in a bag, but unsealed, in the crisper bin.
Look out for my new post on the health benefits of kale and simple delicious ways to enjoy it everyday, coming soon!