Kale is a short-season crop that performs best in cool weather and can tolerate frost when established.
SPRING: Start indoors or in the greenhouse about the first of February for transplanting in mid-March. Sow the seed in a sterile seedling mix in individual pots. Keep the seedlings moist, and provide adequate nutrition. Harden off seedlings in a cold frame prior to transplanting. Set the seedlings in rows 18-36 inches apart. Side-dress with 1/2 cup blood meal or composted chicken manure. Young seedlings may be covered with a cloche or row cover such as Gro-Therm or Reemay. Be watchful for early hot spells, because covers can create too much heat if left unchecked.
Direct seed in May, or after the danger of hard frost. Sow seeds in rows 18-36 inches apart. Cover the seed with fine vermiculite or sifted compost for best germination. Keep moist to prevent soil crusting. Thin after plants produce their third true leaf, maintaining the strongest plants. These early thinnings are wonderful for fresh salad greens. Now apply 1/4 to 1/2 cup of our complete fertilizer, or equivalent, into the soil around each young plant to provide the nutrition necessary for optimum production.
FALL & WINTER: Sow seed until early July.