Crop Profile: Kale

Grow kale as a nutrient-rich addition to a variety of dishes.

by Samantha Johnson
Courtesy Ingram Publishing/ Thinkstock

Kale has the distinction of being one of the hardiest vegetables known to man. It is a non-headed cabbage variety noted for being exceptionally nutritious—an excellent source of vitamins A and C, it’s also loaded with calcium (90 milligrams in a 1-cup serving) and folic acid.

Kale is super-hardy and adaptable. It likes sun but tolerates the shade and prefers well-drained soil. Because kale prefers cooler weather to hot, it’s usually best to grow it in the spring and early summer. The flavor is better when the temperatures are relatively cool.

Sow seeds 1/2-inch deep, approximately 1 foot apart in rows spaced 24 to 30 inches apart. You can plant your transplants 4 to 6 weeks before your average last-frost date—kale can handle the cold. Plant transplants 12 inches apart with rows spaced 18 to 24 inches. You can also direct-seed kale 1 inch apart in rows spaced 18 to 30 inches, thinning to 12 to 18 inches apart.

Read more about growing brassicas.

About the Author: Samantha Johnson is the author of several books, including a forthcoming book on gardening for children. She raises purebred Welsh Mountain Ponies in northern Wisconsin.

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