How to grow kale at home

How to grow your own kale

Due to its enormous popularity in recent years, kale is becoming hard to find. The cruciferous vegetable is revered by  green-smoothie lovers and single-handedly reinvented the humble chip, but growers have warned of a worldwide seed shortage.

To protect yourself against a world with no kale, I suggest you grab a pot or a bit of ground plus some vibrant soil and get planting. In Australia, you can buy curly kale seeds here, this variety is best planted in late summer or early autumn and will come to maturity over winter, ready to fight off colds and flu.

Kale is a kind of cabbage and it can grow up to 60cm tall, spreading out around the same width. Grow it in either a big pot or in rich soil in a full sun to partial shade position.  Be sure to keep it well hydrated and remember that pots dry out quickly. Remember the watering system I reviewed recently? It’s great for both pots and in veggie patches and there are various kits available.

You can raise kale seeds in seedling trays or egg cartons, but you will need to remember to water them very regularly. I prefer to put seeds straight into a larger pot or patch of soil, along with some seed-raising mix, then see which ones look like survivors and thin the seedlings out, replanting them here, there and everywhere to see which position works best. You should be harvesting leaves in around eight weeks.

I know kale is THE superfood at the mo, but baby spinach, pak choi and silverbeet are outrageously simple to grow too and have a similar nutritional profile (less vitamin A, but stacks of C, fibre and iron). Just saying.


Productive Gardens

A leafy bunch of awesome kale recipes

In the lead-up to National Kale Day (October 1), I think it’s fitting to share some fab kale recipes, don’t you? Of course the first thing you think of is “kale chips” and you’ll find an honest post with recipe here at Natural New Age Mum. Meanwhile, the delicious Brenda Janschek swears her kids love them. See Brenda’s kale chips recipe here.

Moving on to some more substantial meals, try Alexx Stewart’s Cashew Kale Pesto Stuffed Chicken Breasts, or Mamacino’s Tomato, Kale and Chorizo Fritata. I’m also loving this Roasted Garlic Kale Hummus, which comes from a book called Let Them Eat Kale!

As with any leafy green, kale can be added to any stew, sauce or fry-up. I hide it in the kids’ pasta sauce and also in meatballs. If you don’t overdo it, they’ll never know… If you’re looking for even more kale recipes, be sure to check out this Pinterest board by the peeps at National Kale Day.

 What’s your favourite kale recipe? Share it in the comments!

 

 

Comments

  1. Laura Trotta says

    Thanks so much for this post Jo. I’ve been a bit late jumping on the kale-wagon but am loving it in salads especially at the moment. It’s time to start growing my own and you’ve just answered my question about where to source my seeds.

    • (dt)em says

      Yes, definitely a god one for sneaking into kids’ food, but be aware that it doesn’t wilt quite as much as spinach and takes a little longer to cook. My kids were unimpressed when they saw the big green bits in their burgers!

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