So, when to harvest spaghetti squash? The best time is early to mid-fall. In the northern…
Knowing how to harvest kale starts with a little education. But the truth is, it’s very easy.
Some of the questions people ask other than how to harvest kale include does kale regrow after you cut it, do you cut kale or do you pick it and how do you harvest kale without terminally damaging it.
These are all fair questions but please don’t be intimidated with this process. I’ll answer the how to harvest kale question in this article. I’ll also tell you how to harvest it without damaging the plant and when and where to plant kale.
Growing up on our farm and watching my parents expertly tend to their massive vegetable and fruit gardens, kale has always stuck in my mind.
When they needed to harvest their kale, my best memories are always walking through the garden and seeing the kale plants with and without leaves.
The leaves that were there weren’t ready to harvest but on the same plant, there would be leaves cut off leaving just the stem. And the stem was neatly cut at the point it connected with the leaf of the plant.
In other words, that’s the key to correctly harvesting kale. Cut the leaf at the point it begins towards the bottom. When you do this, you’ll just leave the stem that connects to the main stalk of the plant.
The following video is short and to the point. The author shows you exactly what I’ve described above and where to cut the leaf. And don’t forget to leave the immature leaves which are usually in a cluster at the top of the plant ready to be harvested as soon as they mature.
When Do You Harvest Kale?
Okay, so let’s delve a little deeper here. My parents always told me the key to knowing when to harvest kale is to look for the oldest and most mature leaves.
These are situated towards the bottom of the plant. You will know because they grow to such an extent that their size almost dwarfs the smaller leaves forming towards the top.
Always harvest the older leaves first. If you leave them, then they will develop a sour taste.
But more importantly, you want to prevent the plant from bolting. This basically means the plant will start to flower.
By that time it’s too late to get them at their best. By the way, known as florets, the flowers from the kale plant is edible. Actually, they can be eaten both cooked or raw.
By removing the older leaves, the kale plant will continue to produce and this is what you want. Maximum “buck” from your plant.
How To Harvest Kale Without Damaging It?
So this is something we’ve already covered.
Kale is one of those vegetables you either love or hate. If you fall into the former camp, you probably know how to grow it. But what about harvesting it once it’s ready? More importantly, how to harvest kale without damaging it?
Many people are of the opinion that as soon as you harvest kale leaves, that’s it. This couldn’t be further from the truth. We’ve explained above how to harvest the leaves without causing damage to the plant. The following short video is perfect in showing you this technique.
Where Can You Grow Kale?
No matter what you think about kale, there are some things we know for sure: it grows well in mild weather, it’s low maintenance, and it doesn’t require much space. If you want to try growing kale, here are some tips to help you out.
First off, you don’t need a greenhouse to grow kale. You just need a sunny spot where it won’t freeze during winter.
In fact, kale can withstand cooler temperatures better than most plants. But know that it won’t handle freezing frosts.
So if you live somewhere where the temperature drops into the 20s or 30s during the fall and winter months, you might want to rethink your growing strategy.
The perfect temperature for growing kale is about sixty degrees Fahrenheit. It can withstand temperatures as low as forty to forty five degrees but no colder.
You can start growing kale seeds indoors six weeks before planting outside. This way, you’ll have plenty of time to prepare your soil. To do this, add 2 inches of compost to your garden bed and mix it thoroughly.
Plant the seedling straight into the ground and cover it with 3 inches of dirt. Water well but don’t make the ground soggy.
Kale likes a little “elbow room” in the garden. Plant the seedlings about eighteen to twenty four inches apart. If you intend to hang onto the plant as long as it can deliver produce, two feet apart will be ideal.
Once the plants are established, water regularly to keep them healthy. Kale likes an even amount of water but like most plants, over watering where the plant sits in soggy conditions continuously, will not be good for the it.
Growing Kale In Containers
If you are limited for growing room outside then the good news is you can grow kale in containers.
You’ll need a pot large enough to hold about 2 gallons of soil. This size pot should fit into a standard window box.
If you live in a warm area, you’ll want to use a container that gets plenty of sun throughout the day. A plastic planter is ideal.
If you don’t have an area in your home or apartment that gets regular sun, place the container outside where sunshine can get to the plant.
The best type of soil to use is a good quality potting mix. Avoid peat moss or anything else that contains clay. Clay soils tend to dry out quickly, making watering difficult.
Make sure that the soil doesn’t dry out. As I said, kale likes even watering so keep an eye on the quality of the soil. Again, don’t make it soggy. One or two plants should be sufficient for your kale needs for the next twelve months depending on how big a part in plays in your diet.
Conclusion: How To Harvest Kale
In conclusion, kale is a nutritional powerhouse and easy to add to your diet. Kale can be consumed cooked or raw, and has a milder flavor than other greens.
Kale is one of the most popular vegetables in America. In fact, it’s considered a superfood because of its high nutrient density and health benefits.
But there are several different varieties of kale, and some are better suited for cooking than others.
Some of the best known varieties are Curly kale, Red kale and Lacinato kale.
Each variety has different characteristics and uses. For example, Curly kale grows into tight bunches while Red kale grows into large leaves. And Lacinato kale is best known for its thin stems and dark green color.
Once again, when harvesting kale, it is important to cut the leaves at the stem, leaving the plant intact so it can continue to grow.
Kale is a versatile vegetable that can be used in many different dishes such as soups, salads and even smoothies so get creative and enjoy!