This easy-to-grow leafy green has been considered a 'superfood' for its nutritious leaves, which come in a range of shapes and colours. Kale is pretty enough to mingle with your flowers.
Growing calendar
Sow indoors Mar-May
Sow outdoors Mar-June
Plant out/transplant Apr-Jun
Harvest Oct-Mar

Choose a range of kale varieties and you can grow frilly, ruffled and even rabbit-ear leaves from green through to purple. Grow several plants in rows and you can be picking leaves over a long period.

How to grow kale

Sow kale seed 1cm deep in pots indoors, or straight into the seedbed. Transplant kale seedlings when they are 10cm tall, with five or six adult leaves, spacing 45cm apart.

Plant the kale seedlings deep so the bottom leaves touch the soil, firming the soil down well. They like a well-drained, rich soil in sun, but they will tolerate shade.

Water in dry weather and mulch with well-rotted compost to conserve moisture.

Harvesting and using kale

Cut young kale leaves regularly when they're about 10am long as older leaves can turn bitter when cooked.

Snap-off fleshy side shoots from February.

Tips on growing kale

  • Like most brassicas, kale is popular with slugs and caterpillars so be sure to add some protection from slugs and cover with netting.
  • Stake plants and pull soil around the stems (earth up) for support on windy sites.
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Curly kale tipped with frost
Growing notes
Difficulty Moderate
Germination time 7-12 days
Average time to harvest From 30 weeks
Equipment needed Stakes, twine, netting
Average plant size 90cm tall, 60cm wide
Family group to grow with Brassica: e.g. broccoli, rocket
Key nutritional content Vitamin C, folate
Seed saving notes Biennial, needs isolation