It’s not just for millennials! Kale is hardy, easy to grow, and rich in nutrients, making it an increasingly popular addition to salads, smoothies, and other healthy dishes.

Our featured kale variety: Lacinato Seed

Lacinato Kale=Tuscan Kale=Dinosaur Kale

Lacinato Kale=Tuscan Kale=Dinosaur KaleDark-leaved Lacinato kale is also commonly known as Tuscan kale, Tuscan cabbage, Italian kale, and Dinosaur kale. The last appellation relates to its puckered leaves that look like they might resemble dinosaur skin. Long a staple of Italian cooking, bittersweet Lacinato kale may have been favored over other varieties because its relatively thin leaves make it easier to prepare—almost like spinach.

Interesting Facts About Kale Plants

Fact 1
Kale—Brassica oleracea var. Sabellica—is a member of the Brassica or cole crop/cabbage family. In addition to cabbage, other members of this family include broccoli, Brussel sprouts, collard greens, and cauliflower, to name a few. Considered ‘superfoods’ by some nutritionists, brassicas are rich in a number of important vitamins, minerals and other nutrients with cancer fighting and cholesterol-lowering properties.
Fact 2
Kale has been around for a long time. It was one of the most common green vegetables in Europe through the end of the Middle Ages, when a ‘mutated’ variety grown into ‘heads’ also became popular: what we now know as cabbage. Fast forward to today when multiple varieties of kale are grown and enjoyed worldwide and are a common fixture at farmers’ markets across the country.

Kale Gardening Tips

Difficulty
Difficulty

Easy

Sun
Sun

Ideally full sun but it can tolerate part shade. Part shade is helpful in hot climates.

Water
Water

The soil should be kept evenly moist but not soaked. Freshly-planted seeds and newly established plants should receive a gentle, regular—but not soaking—watering. Be careful not to splash soil onto the leaves.

Soil
Soil

Kale likes moist, rich, well-drained soil. Soil pH should be 6.5–6.8. Kale seeds can germinate at soil temperatures 40 degrees and above.

Air
Air

Kale seeds will germinate in air temperatures between 45 and 85 F; around 65 degrees would be best. Once established, kale can tolerate subfreezing temperatures. Plants will not thrive in temperatures above 80 degrees.

Timing
Timing

In northern climates, start kale seeds indoors about 4-8 weeks before your last anticipated spring frost; transplant seedlings outdoors once true leaves have appeared. Those in more moderate climates can direct seed in early spring or in early fall for a late fall harvest.

Planting
Planting

Plant seeds 1/2 inch deep, 3 inches apart and then thin plants to 12 inches apart when they’re 4-5 inches tall. Outdoor rows should be spaced 12-18 inches apart.

Germination
Germination

5—8 days.

Time to Harvest
Time to Harvest

Seeding to maturity generally takes 45-60 days.

Feeding
Feeding

Add rich compost or organic fertilizer at planting time and again every six weeks.

Mulch
Mulch

Add mulch as the seedlings develop to retain moisture and discourage weeds.

Special Considerations
Special Considerations

Kale thrives in cold weather and can become overly-bitter when maturing in the heat.

Companion Plants
Companion Plants

Good companions include: beets, cucumbers, dill, lettuce, mint, nasturtium, onions, spinach, and chard.

Container-Friendly
Container-Friendly

Yes! Multiple, compact plants can fit in a large container. Container planting has the advantage of the plants being able to be moved around to cooler locations as summer progresses.

Harvesting Kale

Harvesting KaleWhile you can harvest young kale leaves, it’s best if you wait until the plant matures and they’re at least 10 inches long—around two months after planting the seeds. You can continually harvest the leaves thereafter, selecting the older, outer leaves, leaving the central part of the plant to continue to grow.

Growing Kale—Highlights

  • Kale is a hardy, cool season delight that’s easy to grow.
  • An heirloom variety, it was propelled into pop culture by a couple of health-conscious Hollywood icons and quickly attained cult status among Millennials.
  • It grows best in early spring and fall and can tolerate light frosts. In USDA zones 7-9, it can generally be grown year round if winters are mild.
  • Kale leaves are sweeter and less bitter when grown in cool temperatures.
  • The plants are prized for their varied, ornamental foliage as well as their flavor and nutrition.
  • Low calorie and high in fiber, kale is packed with a number of important nutrients, especially Vitamins A, C, and K.

Here at Bentley Seeds, we want to set you up for success. Our growing guides are designed to give you all the information you'll need to start growing from seed, in an easy-to-digest format.

We also encourage you to print out a copy as a handy reference in your garden.