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Indoors | Outdoors

Why Grow It

Kale is not only delicious and nutritious, but it’s an incredibly prolific ‘cut and come again’ cropper. It can also be a very attractive feature in the winter veg patch, particularly the red-leafed varieties.

This superfood has become an extremely popular veg in the last few years and regularly makes an appearance as out Hero Veg in GROW HQ. It’s is a hardy crop and will survive the worst of winter weather, giving you fresh greens in the crucial hungry gap months from February to April.


  • Kale will grow in most reasonable soil though will grow better if the soil has compost and fertiliser added.
  • Do not grow kale anywhere that you have grown any member of the cabbage family the previous three years (cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, kohlrabi, collards and kale). The best way to manage all these veg is to create a crop rotation scheme prior to growing. Find out how to create your own plan here.
  • Kale can either be sown in modules or direct into the soil.
  • If sowing in modules, sow 1cm deep in modules from March to June. Transplant when plant is about 15cm high with a spacing of 25cm or 50cm between plants.
  • If sowing direct, sow between April and June in rows 25cm or 50cm apart depending on when you want to harvest.
  • Traditionally kale was grown for winter use, but people now often want kale in the summer as well. If you want kale during the summer then you can sow seeds thinly in rows 25cm apart and then thin the crop (harvesting the thinnings) until the plants are at their final spacing of 50cm each way.
  • Thin crop to 50cm spacing if you have not already done so. Thinned plants can be harvested and enjoyed in the kitchen.
  • Hoe around young seedlings regularly to keep weeds down.
  • Water regularly in dry weather to prevent the roots from drying out.
  • Remove yellowing leaves.
  • Start harvesting from autumn and if you play your cards right you should be able to continue harvesting until mid-spring the following year.
  • Harvest by snapping off the leaves from the base. The plant will grow side shoots, which you can harvest between February and May.
  • Nero di Toscana
  • Red Russian
  • Redbor
  • Kale usually has less problems than other members of the cabbage family. But just to be on the safe side you can take the same precautions as you would with the weaker members of the brassica tribe.
  • Make sure the ground is clear and slug free when transplanting – use a less toxic slug killer like iron phosphate if slugs seem to be a problem.
  • Use an insect mesh net to keep out cabbage fly, butterflies, aphids and pigeons.
  • Water plants carefully before transplanting.
  • Tread on the soil around the plants every now and then, which will firm up the soil and make sure the plants don’t topple over in the wind.