(Brassica oleracea) 55 days. [Selected from ‘Dwarf Blue Curled Scotch’ by the VA/AES.] Planted spring or fall. Overwinters well in the Mid-Atlantic. Resistant to yellowing due to frost or heat. Very flavorful, best when steamed, and good in salads.
Brassica oleracea var. acephala and Brassica napus
How to Grow: Kale is an easy-to-grow, nutritious brassica (cabbage-family) leafy green rich in vitamins A, C, and K, as well as calcium, iron and magnesium. This frost-hardy traditional crop can, with protection, provide winter greens even in the north. Flavor is best and disease problems are few when grown in cool weather. Plant in early spring for early greens, or in late summer for fall & winter harvest. Flavor of summer-sown kale improves after the first fall frost. Kale prefers full sun and fertile, moist, well-drained soil. Germination: 6-10 days. For spring sowings, start indoors 4 weeks before last frost or direct sow 1-2 weeks before last frost. For a fall/winter crop, sow 10 weeks before first hard frost. Sow 1/4″ deep. Thin to 8-12″ apart in rows 16-30″ part. Use thick mulch & irrigate to maintain moisture during hot weather.
Pests: Kale has fewer pests than other brassicas. Use floating row cover to reduce insect damage to young plants. Practice a four-year rotation for all brassica crops to reduce disease and pests.
Harvest: Collect young leaves anytime. Clip oldest leaves when less than 12″ long for tender leaves and best flavor.
Seed Savers: Brassica napus crosses with rutabaga and some rapeseed (canola). Brassica oleracea crosses with broccoli, brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, collards, and kohlrabi.
Packet: 2 g unless otherwise stated (about 625 seeds) sows 55 ft. direct seeded or 230 ft. as transplants.