I've never grown kale from seed before, I bought transplants last year and tried it, first time. How early should I plant indoors to get good sized transplants? Any tips? Marg
You should probably plant it around the same time you would plant other cole crops, around four to six weeks before you would normally set them out. My daughter planted it last year - too many plants and too late. She doesn't have a garden but had the plants in a window box type container. I took them home in August and put them in the garden but they grew very little after that. The deer enjoyed them, though! :>
I grew dino kale last year - started the plants inside in March. The only problem I had was with cabbage worms; once they invaded, I didn't want to eat the leaves. If I grew it again, I would probably put up row covers or some sort of mesh enclosure. I didn't dust with pesticide, but I don't know how it would be effective anyway with something like dino kale with all its curly, cupped leaves.
I've grown it from seed direct planted in the garden and it has done well. When very young the plants can get attacked by insects but if you sow it fairly thickly then thin out the damaged ones when they are a few inches tall it should do fine. It's very frost hardy so continues to produce late into the fall, though by then the leaves are getting kind of tough.
The only reason I was thinking of starting them early indoors was because we lose a lot of seedlings to starlings and grackles. Maybe I'll try some of each and see what fares better! Thanks for the tips. Marg
I'm thinking of growing kale this year - would mid May be a suitable time to sow directly into the ground or could earlier work (as kale is quite hardy)? Be interested to hear when other plant straight outside?
Seed kale as soon as the ground can be worked after the spring thaw. You only need the top few inches to thaw and dry out.
Put in transplants first time last year but had severe flea beetle damage. Wasn't able to harvest any leaves. Will try again this year. Any advice to control these pests?
You can't control them easily. What you can do is cover your kale immediately after transplanting with a light floating row cover. I use Agribon 15. Tulle works as well. Support it with hoops and anchor it tightly to the ground. It should be taut so it doesn't flap and tear in the wind. Flea beetles usually move on by late spring. However, you should leave the cover on all summer to protect the kale from cabbage worms.
This post was edited by Slimy_Okra on Thu, May 8, 14 at 18:15
Planted red Russian and dwarf curled kale seeds today. First time with seeds so will see what happens!