Growing Kale in GreenSmart Pots – Growing Tips
Kale is hailed by many gardeners,vegans and vegetarians as being a new super-food due to its high nutritional density. It has high levels of vitamins and minerals. The high levels of anti-oxidants are associated with anti-cancer properties. It was probably the first brassica to be domesticated – around 600 BC by the ancient Greeks. It is difficult to find in supermarkets so it is lucky that it is easy to grow in a GreenSmart pot. Traditionally kale is regarded as a winter crop because cold weather improves the flavour but actually it can be grown in warmer months too.
There are many varieties –
Green-black Cavolo Nero. Also called tree cabbage as it will grow to nearly head height. It is very productive.
Crinkly dark green Nero di Toscano (Tuscan Kale)
Pink tinged Red Russian Kale is very sweet and succulent
Blue Curled Scott which has crinkly green- blue leaves.
Growing Kale is best commenced in spring or autumn in soil conditions between 8-25 deg. C. If growing from seeds then lightly cover the seeds with moist seed raising mix. Seeds will take 5-7 days to sprout. Plant out when the seedlings have 5-6 leaves and are about four weeks old. Add rich, well composted materials into the potting mix. One of the large GreenSmart pots will hold 8-11 plants. Alternatively plant 3-4 with some spinach and silverbeet to give yourself a great harvest of cooler weather greens.
Earth up the soil around the stalks as they grow taller to give them more support.
This is one plant that is very tolerant of frosts and becomes sweeter after a frost. It can grow in both sun and partial shade.
Kale likes well limed soil enriched with organic matter.
As they are leafy plants they require plenty of nitrogen. It is ideal to use potting mix previously used by a nitrogen-fixer like peas or beans. You can also use a liquid fertiliser with high nitrogen content like seaweed or worm juice. Just add it into the water sight glass of the GreenSmart pot every two weeks.
Pests and Diseases
Kale is one of the most disease-resistant vegetables you can grow. Keep an eye out for slugs, snails and caterpillars.
Beetroot, Celery, Cucumbers, Dill, Garlic, Lettuce, Mint, Nasturtium, Onions, Potatoes, Rosemary, Sage, Spinach, Swiss chard
Start harvesting 7-9 weeks after planting the seedlings. Begin harvesting the tall varieties by cutting the central cluster of leaves at the top of the plant. The stripping of the crown will stimulate the development of succulent side shoots. The plant will continue growing for several months.
In the Kitchen
Here’s two simple recipes for pan fried kale and kale chips
This recipe is for making smoothies.