any luck growing Kale indoors?

trant(z6 NY)October 29, 2003

I'm trying to grow some Kale indoors, in containers under flourescent lights most likely. Any of you had any experience doing this and can offer some advice? I just planted it a few days ago- still germinating

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aka_peggy(Central Md 6b)

Trant,

It will grow so slowly and be very spindly. Also, it would take lots of space to grow enough kale to amount to anything, even with flourescents.

Vegetables started this time of year grow at half the pace of the same veg grown in spring. They seem to know it's winter and the lights don't fool them.

    Bookmark   November 2, 2003 at 7:55PM
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trant(z6 NY)

Darn, well thanks for the heads-up! Better to have realistic hopes now then to have my hopes dashed after alot of effort.

What vegetables can grow well under light? Can you grow lettuce to an acceptable harvest under lights?

Thanks!

    Bookmark   November 3, 2003 at 3:45PM
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faithling(z4 VT)

Yes, I've broadcast lettuce, arugula and similar fast-growing greens in pots to grow on window-sills, and in flats under lights. It adds a little fresh food onto the winter table but I've stopped growing under lights because the harvest didn't seem to justify the extra energy use.

As Peggy noted, things grow awfully slow in winter and will get leggy so plant only fast-growing greens for cut-and-come-again use while the plants are little.

It probably makes a lot more sense just to grow sprouts in a jar! But some of us can't keep our hands out of the soil.

If you really want Kale in winter, grow it outside in the fall and protect it with a cold frame, floating row cover, or other method to protect it from winter winds. You'd be surprised how well it handles cold temperatures!

    Bookmark   November 3, 2003 at 5:40PM
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aka_peggy(Central Md 6b)

Yes, if you can, grow it outdoors, it's very hardy and can survive a heavy frost. As I understand, the curly kale is the hardiest.

I started a (kale) thread on the veggie forum awhile back and got lots of feedback.

Here is a link that might be useful: Read about it here

    Bookmark   November 3, 2003 at 8:22PM
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trant(z6 NY)

I absolutely love Kale- so I will definitely grow it next year during the winter. I missed my opportunity this year because I never finished construcing my new garden. Still need to add the fence, pavers and raised beds. Next year I'll definitely try Kale in cold frame- thanks for the tip! but this year I guess I'm just going to have to stick to the supermarket Kale :P

    Bookmark   November 3, 2003 at 11:03PM
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aka_peggy(Central Md 6b)

Trant,
I grew several different types of lettuce 2 yrs ago under lights in my basement. They like it cool and the seeds germinate best with cool temps. I started the seeds in Dec and they grew soooo slow, but they grew and after about 40-50 days I was harvesting a little from about 10 plants. In March, I planted them outside in a cold frame. By that time they were nice size. Lettuce is more cold hardy than many people think and mine survived in the cold frame even though the temps dropped into the low teens.

If you're really ambitious and you don't mind the wait, go for it. As Faithling says, there are other cool weather greens that you could grow also. This fall I had intended to start seeds in August and transfer them into my light garden when it got too cold but got busy doing other things. It is fun to do and I'll do it next year.

Good luck~

    Bookmark   November 5, 2003 at 1:49PM
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