Kale may be the latest darling of the health food world. But it’s actually been around awhile. Like, a pretty long while. In fact, the ancient Greeks reportedly cultivated the crop, which they “boiled and ate as a cure for drunkenness”—no comment on efficacy there.
But we will attest that kale is quite good for you, offering more vitamin C than an orange, more calcium than milk and more potassium than a banana. And it’s pretty delicious. No wonder it’s a popular crop among Tower Gardeners!
Here’s our advice for growing your own kale.
You have several varieties of kale to choose from, including these three:
Like most members of the Brassica family, kale grows best as a cool season crop. In fact, light frosts enhance the vegetable’s flavor, transforming starches into natural sugar. It’s also a great choice if you’re growing an indoor garden.
To start growing kale, plant about 4 seeds per rock wool cube. (Need to buy seeds? Here are a few excellent providers.) Seeds should germinate within 1–2 weeks. And a couple of weeks later, your kale seedlings should be ready to transplant.
Tower Tip: For step-by-step instructions on starting seeds and transplanting seedlings, reference page 7 of the Tower Garden Growing Guide.
Tower Garden reduces the risk of pests and plant diseases, and kale is naturally more resistant to them than most plants. So you’re unlikely to encounter problems. But you should still check for the following problems periodically:
Depending on the variety and growing conditions, your kale may be ready to harvest in as little as one month’s time. When harvesting your kale, pick the bottommost leaves first, allowing at least 3–4 leaves to remain and keep growing. You should harvest often, as this will encourage continued growth (which ultimately means greater yields). Prune dead or diseased leaves as needed.
You can use kale much like you would spinach or another green. Smaller tender leaves are perfect for quick salads. But bigger leaves are best when cooked. Grab your free copy of the Tower Gardener Cookbook for more recipe inspiration!