Kale thrives in cool weather and is very frost tolerant, making it a great veggie for four-season gardens. Most varieties sweeten after a hard frost, so late-season harvests are often most flavorful. It’ a beautiful and nutritious vegetable that can be used in soups or stir-fries. It’s also delicious braised and sautéed.

by Dani Yokhna
PHOTO: Noelle/Flickr

Size: 10 inches (compact varieties) to 30 or more inches (full-sized varieties)

Sunlight requirements: Full to partial sun

Water requirements: About 1 inch per week

Soil requirements: Well-drained soil, high in organic matter. Excessive nitrogen will cause lanky, thin leaf growth.

When to plant: Direct-seed in early spring (spring and summer harvests) or in early- to mid-July (autumn harvests). Choose varieties with good winter hardiness for autumn harvests.

Where to plant: Garden; containers

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When to harvest: 1 to 2 inches long (baby kale); 8 to 15 inches long (full-sized kale). Harvest outer leaves to allow continued inner-leaf development.

Produce storage: Store unwashed in a plastic bag in the refrigerator.

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