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In this series I’m compiling the quick and dirty info on growing specific vegetables. Just the basics. No fluff, no frills. When you’re sitting down in the late Winter, surrounded by seed catalogs, and your garden plan in front of you, you want a quick reference. How far apart can you plant? What pH do they need? How much water? What vegetables can you plant next to others? Which should you avoid?
This quick and dirty 30 second guide to Kale should help you answer all those questions quickly, without having to sort through article after article. I’ve always wanted a quick cheat sheet like this, so hopefully you’ll find it useful too!
I absolutely love growing Kale, and grow it from seed every year. Not only is kale very cold tolerant, depending on your summers, it can survive the heat AND the cold and grow for you year-round. You need to go out and harvest a few leaves every few days, but isn’t that the point?
Kale is also incredibly nutritious for you. I thought touting it as a “super food” was a little extreme, but if you’re looking for a natural source of Vitamin A, C or K, you can’t do much better. One cup of kale has 10302 IU (or 206% of your daily allowance) of Vitamin A, 80.4 mg (or 134% of your daily allowance of Vitamin C, and 547 mcg (or 684%!!!!) of your Vitamin K.
Vitamin A is essential for eyesight and eye-health as well as bone development and immune support. (A word of caution about Vitamin A, however: taking too much can be toxic. Be careful eating a lot of Kale if you already take a supplement with a lot of Vitamin A).
Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant, and helps to repair body tissue such as muscles and bone. It also decreases your total and bad cholesterol and triglycerides.
Vitamin K supports blood clotting, supports bone health and aids in preventing heart disease. It works in conjunction with Vitamin D, which means if you don’t get enough Vitamin K, your body can’t absorb the Vitamin D you’re in-taking. The catch with eating kale for Vitamin K, though, is that Vitamin K is fat-soluble, so you need to eat some fat along with your kale for your body to absorb the Vitamin K. So throw some chicken or olive oil on that kale salad.
All three of these (Vitamins A, C and K) are know to help prevent cancer. All with one cup of kale a day. *mind.blown*
For great red russian kale seeds, check out Seeds For Generations.
If you’re growing Kale this year, here’s what you need to know:
1-1.5 inches per week
Direct sow 3-5 weeks before last frost. You can start them indoors, but the young stalks are very delicate and are prone to break during transplant.
Beets, Celery, Onions, Potatoes
Avoid Planting With
Beans, Strawberries, Tomatoes
Low maintenance. Keep an eye out for pests.
Saving The Seeds
To save kale seeds, allow a few of your best plants to go to seed. Once the seed pods begin to dry out, cut the stalk at the bottom of the plant. Wrap the seed pod in a paper bag and hang the plant upside down to allow it to dry the rest of the way. Then shake the seeds from the pod into the bag and pick out any other debris.
If you find yourself drowning in Kale like I do every year, check out my post of How To Preserve Kale.