A cool-season vegetable that is grown primarily in spring and fall, Kale is best harvested before summer heat or after frost in the fall to avoid bitter leaves. For more information about growing kale, click here.
VARIETIES: Most varieties perform well in Utah. Some of the more common include Dinosaur kale, Dwarf Blue, Scotch Curled and Squire, Ragged Jack, Russia Red and Winter Red.
Soil Preparation: Before planting, incorporate organic matter and all-purpose fertilizer. For additional information concerning garden soil preparation, click here.
- Kale can be grown from seed or transplants.
- Seeds should be planted ½ -1 inch apart, in rows 1-3 feet apart. Thin plants to 12-18 inches apart when they have 3-4 true leaves.
- Transplants may be planted 2-3 weeks before the last frost-free date. Start seeds indoors 5-6 weeks before planting. Transplants should have 4-6 true leaves. For more information on frost dates, click here.
- For fall-maturing kale, select early maturing cultivars and plant 50 days before the anticipated maturity date, about 2-3 weeks after the first fall frost.
Irrigation: Kale prefers deep, infrequent watering, about 1-2 inches per week. For more information about watering your garden, click here.
Fertilization: Apply a nitrogen-based fertilizer 4 weeks after transplanting or thinning. For more information on fertilizing, click here.
Harvest: Harvest kale when the leaves are mature, taking the outer and allowing the smaller inner leaves to keep growing.
COMMON PESTS AND DISEASES: Aphids, cabbage worms, loopers and flea beetles are common pests of kale. For more information on controlling pests and diseases, click here.