Kale

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Kale
Boerenkool-1-.jpg
A dwarf green curled variety of kale
Scientific Classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(Unranked): Angiosperms
(Unranked): Eudicots
(Unranked): Rosids
Order: Brassicales
Family: Brassicaceae
Genus: Brassica
Species: Brassica oleracea
Cultivar Group: Acephala Group
Plant Data
Min germination temp: 13°C (55°F)
Max germination temp: 24°C (75°F)
Germination time: 7 days
Time to transplanting: +25 days
Time to harvesting: +87 days
Mature height: 60cm (2ft)
Mature spread: 30cm (1ft)
Ideal pH range: 6.0 - 7.5
Sow depth: 1cm (½in)
Sow spacing: 7cm (3in)
Sow row spacing: 15cm (6in)
Growing plant spacing: 45cm (18in)
Growing row spacing: 45cm (18in)
References: [1][2]

Kale or borecole is a form of green or purple cabbage (Brassica oleracea Acephala Group), in which the central leaves do not form a head. It is considered to be closer to wild cabbage than most domesticated forms. The species Brassica oleracea contains a wide array of vegetables including broccoli, cauliflower, collard greens, and brussels sprouts. The cultivar group Acephala also includes spring greens and collard greens, which are extremely similar genetically.

Planner[edit]

J F M A M J J A S O N D
Sow
Plant
Cut

Growing[edit]

Location[edit]

Choose a reasonably sunny spot where the plants are to grow to maturity. As kale is not usually planted until June/July the site is often one recently vacated by peas, early potatoes or other early summer crop.[2]

Soil[edit]

Kale is very accommodating species of Brassica compared with other varieties. It will grow in nearly all soil types provided that poor drainage is not an issue.[2]

Do not dig the site over, just tend to the ground; remove any weeds, rake in fertiliser, add lime if the soil is acidic and then firm over. Just ensure the soil is not loose or spongy at planting time.

Sowing[edit]

Sow seeds thinly in drills 1cm (½in) deep and 15cm (6in) apart. Cover with soil and firm.

Thinning[edit]

Thin the seedlings to 7cm (3in) once they emerge to ensure they do not compete for light and grow leggy.[2]

Transplanting[edit]

Seedlings are ready to transplant once they are 10-15cm (4-6in) tall. Water the rows the day before transplanting. Set seedlings 45cm (18in) apart in the rows with their lowest leaves just above the soil surface. Firm into place and water.

Rape kale

Rape kale varieties are sown where they will grow to maturity. Make the drills 45cm (18in) apart and thin in stages to 45cm (18in) between plants.[2]

Aftercare[edit]

Hoe the site regularly to suppress weeds. Tread the stems in firmly to prevent them from rocking in the wind. Water young plants in dry weather.

Pick of yellowing leaves. As autumn approaches earth up around the stems to protect the roots from frost and wind rock. Stake tall varieties if high winds are likely to be a problem.[2]

Plants may look 'unhappy' during winter, this is normal, in early spring there will be a crop of fresh side shoots.

Feed with liquid fertiliser in March to encourage their development.[2]

Harvesting[edit]

Curly kale

Begin harvesting from the crown of the plant from November onwards, removing a few young leaves each time you pick. Use a sharp knife or a downward tug. Do not use yellowing or mature leaves in the kitchen.[2]

Stripping the crown will stimulate the development of new side shoots. These can be gathered between February and May from all varieties.

Troubles[edit]

Full troubles list: Brassica troubles

References[edit]

  1. (2010). Kale. myfolia. Retrieved: 2010-08-05.
  2. a b c d e f g h Hessayon, D.G. (2009). The Vegetable & Herb Expert. Transworld Publishers, London. p. 58. ISBN 9780903505468
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Kale varieties
Cavolo nero
Curly leaved Dwarf green curled
Leaf and spear
Rape kale
Plain leaved Toscano