Growing your own fresh produce is not only an incredibly satisfying experience, but it also carries significant health benefits.
One power-packed plant that has been growing in popularity among home gardeners is kale. It is a nutrient-dense super-food that’s versatile in the kitchen and relatively easy to grow.
Whether you have a huge backyard or just a small balcony, knowledge of the growing process can yield you a plentiful supply of this leafy green delight.
Our guide focuses on how to grow kale in pots and containers. It’s an attractive option, especially for urban dwellers with space constraints. With the right containers and potting mix, you’ll be able to plant kale easily.
Let’s get started.
- Select a pot size based on the number of kale plants you want to grow.
- Choose a pot with drainage holes to prevent root rot.
- Fill the container with organic-rich soil.
- Kale needs 6-8 hours of direct sunlight daily.
- Regularly check and manage pests and diseases for a healthy kale harvest.
Selecting the Right Pot or Container
Choosing the appropriate container for growing kale is a crucial step for healthy growth.
A key consideration while picking your pot is to ensure it has drainage holes. The reason is that if water cannot escape, it could lead to root rot.
The size of the pot is also crucial. Smaller containers are recommended for indoor or winter growing, while larger containers can accommodate multiple kale plants or companion plants.
Specifically, opt for containers that have a size of at least 8 inches in both width and depth. Alternatively, a pot measuring 12 inches in all dimensions can also work well.
These sizes offer ample room for root expansion, leading to flourishing plants. Just like humans, plants also need space to grow and thrive!
Preparing the Soil for Kale
The soil in your container should have a neutral to mildly alkaline pH level to provide optimal conditions for kale growth. Kale thrives in soil with a pH level between 6.0 and 7.0.
To achieve this, follow these steps:
- Test the pH level of your soil using a soil testing kit.
- Adjust the pH level if necessary by adding lime to increase alkalinity or sulfur to increase acidity.
- Incorporate organic matter, such as compost or manure, into the soil to improve its fertility and structure.
Planting Kale Seeds or Seedlings
Cultivating kale can be done with either seeds or seedlings, depending on your preference.
If you choose to use kale seeds, the process is straightforward.
- Lightly sprinkle the seeds across a moist soil bed.
- Cover them with a thin layer of soil or compost.
Starting seeds indoors, about six weeks before the last frost, is a good idea.
In general, this planting method requires a bit more patience. It will take one to two weeks for your seeds to germinate.
If you prefer using kale seedlings, there’s a different method.
- The first step is creating suitable holes in the soil that are big and deep enough to accommodate your seedlings.
- Carefully place each seedling into its respective hole, covering the root entirely with soil.
This method offers immediate gratification as you’ll see progress faster than when cultivating from seeds.
When planting kale seedlings, remember to space them 1-2 inches apart. Doing so will give your kale plants enough room to grow and ensure they receive adequate nutrients and sunlight.
Kale also needs 6-8 hours of direct sunlight daily, so make sure to place your containers in a sunny spot.
Both methods have their own virtues. Growing kale from seeds allows more room for the plants to establish, while using seedlings promises quicker results.
Watering and Fertilizing Kale Plants
For best results, keep the soil consistently moist and avoid overwatering your kale plants.
Here are some tips to help you properly care for your kale plants:
- Water your kale plants regularly, ensuring that the soil stays consistently moist.
- Mulch the containers with organic matter to retain moisture and prevent drying.
- Fertilize your kale plants every two weeks with a half-strength liquid fertilizer to replenish nutrients.
Remember to monitor the soil moisture levels and adjust your watering accordingly.
Managing Pests and Diseases
To effectively manage pests and diseases in your kale plants, regularly inspect the leaves for signs of spider mites, aphids, caterpillars, slugs, and snails.
These pests can cause damage to your kale plants, so it’s vital to keep a close eye on them. Look for small webs, tiny insects, holes in the leaves, or slime trails as indications of infestation. If you notice any of these signs, take action immediately.
Organic insecticidal sprays can help eliminate pests, while companion planting with plants that repel pests might also be effective.
Harvesting and Pruning Kale
Harvest young leaves of kale when they have four sets of true leaves. It ensures the plant is mature enough to provide a good harvest while still allowing it to continue growing.
When harvesting, start with the lowest, outer-most leaves and avoid cutting the terminal bud and some upper leaves. It will promote continued growth and allow the plant to produce more leaves for future harvests.
Avoid cutting the central bud as well, as this encourages the plant to keep growing.
Tips for Growing Kale in Different Seasons
During different seasons, adjust watering and sunlight levels for successful kale growth.
In the summer, kale plants may need some shade during the hottest part of the day to prevent wilting. In hot climates, consider providing partial shade to protect the plants.
If you’re growing kale indoors, make sure to use a grow light to provide sufficient sunlight.
In the winter, when temperatures drop, kale plants may require more sunlight. Position them in a spot that receives at least 6-8 hours of direct sunlight daily.
Growing kale can be a rewarding and healthy hobby, offering a continuous supply of fresh, nutrient-dense greens right from your home.
Nevertheless, to successfully grow kale, you must follow certain practices.
Start with selecting the perfect container. It should be deep enough to allow the roots to grow freely. Also, prepare your soil correctly. Rich, well-drained soil works best for kale.
Water and fertilizer are critical elements in the growth of any plant, and kale is no exception. Regular watering keeps the soil moist and helps the plant thrive. Adding fertilizer further enhances the growth rate.
Lastly, keep an eye on potential pests. Don’t let insects or diseases ruin your kale plants. Conduct regular check-ups and take necessary actions if you spot pests.
Whether you are a seasoned gardener or just starting, the joy of nurturing a plant from a seed to a full-grown vegetable is a truly gratifying experience. So stop waiting and start planting those seeds today!
Enamored with the world of golf Jack pursued a degree in Golf Course Management at THE Ohio State University. This career path allowed him to work on some of the highest profile golf courses in the country! Due to the pandemic, Jack began Inside The Yard as a side hustle that quickly became his main hustle. Since starting the company, Jack has relocated to a homestead in Central Arkansas where he and his wife raise cattle and two little girls.