How To Grow Kale In The Home Garden

Planting, Growing, And Harvesting Kale

Growing kale-How-to-grow- kale- in- the- home- garden
Growing Kale

Kale is a leafy green, this cold weather crop which belongs to the cabbage family is a super veggie that is enjoyed by many worldwide. Kale is loaded with vitamin A, C, K, calcium, iron, minerals, and fiber.

But how is kale planted, grown, and harvested? In this article, we will be looking at how to successfully grow this hardy, cool-season green from your home garden.

Growing Kale

Planting kale directly into the ground

1. kale can be planted from early spring to early summer.

2. Location- When planting kale install in an area that gets 6-5 hours of sunlight, kale also grows well in partial shade.

3. Soil type-kale grows best in organic-rich soil. The Ph range of kale can be anywhere from 5.5-6.5.

4. Planting kale-whether planting from seeds or transplanting, kale should be planted in rows and spaced about 8-12 inches apart to allow for proper growth and air circulation.

Seeds should be planted about 1/4 to 1/2. A word of note if planting seeds deeper than recommended may cause seeds not to germinate and if seeds germinate plants will suffocate.

5. Watering methods-when it comes to watering your kale, water moderately. Do not overwater which can contribute to root rot.

6. Fertilizing methods-Using a balanced fertilizer of 10-10-10 will work wonders for your kale. When fertilizing follow the label because the label is the law.

Container grown kale

Container-grown kale is a great way to start a container garden. What I love about container gardening is the ability to move the containers around to meet the plant’s requirements and for aesthetic reasons.

1. Choose a container anywhere from 5-7 gallons so that your kale can grow comfortably.

2. The container can be placed in a sunny location or an area that gets partial sun.

3. The soil should be well-drained soil, garden soil or compost is ideal.

4. When planting by seeds or transplanting plants follow methods according to step 4 when planting kale directly into the ground.

5. Water your kale moderately, do not overwater because overwatering contributes to root rot.

6. Using a water-soluble base or quick-release fertilizer of 8-4-4 is ideal for your kale. When using fertilizers follow the manufactures label because the label is the law.

Insect pest of kale

The journey of kale from your garden to the kitchen has its share of insects pest that seeks to reap a harvest before you do. But the good news is these insect pests can be stopped in their tracks by counter-attacking with the use of insecticides that have proven to be beneficial.

Insects pest to keep an eye out for are

  • Whiteflies
  • Aphids
  • Flea beetles
  • Caterpillars
  • Slugs and Snails


Whiteflies-Whiteflies are tiny flying insects that are white. To identify whiteflies gently tap or shake your plant, what will happen is if tiny white insects dislodge and then quickly reattach again to your kale veggie you have a whitefly issue.

Controlling whiteflies

Control these garden pests with neem oil or insecticidal soap spray. When spraying ensure to get total coverage of plant leaves on both the top and underside. Always follow directions on the label because the label is the law.


Aphids-Aphids are tiny pear-shaped insects that love to feed on the tender or new growth of plant leaves. These insects have piercing-sucking mouthparts and will cause injury to your kale.

Controlling aphids

Aphids can be controlled by using a strong spray of water from your garden hose with an attachment that will knock them off and kill them, but because your kale is tender this strong stream of water may damage them.

The use of neem oil, natural predators like ladybugs, or the use of soap base products will bring these garden pests under control. When using chemicals follow as directed because the label is the law.

Flea beetles

Another insect that will seek to make a meal out of your kale is the flea beetle. The sign of the presence of flea beetles is tiny holes in the leaves of your kale veggie. These holes are made from these beetles feeding on your plant.

Controlling flea beetles

The use of insecticides such as diatomaceous earth and neem oil are 2 products that can give good results. Keeping your garden free of debris build-up as well as weeds is also a great way to control this insect pest.


Caterpillars cause injury by eating parts of the plant like the flea beetles. On inspecting your plants you will discover them feeding.

Controlling caterpillars

Caterpillars can be controlled by handpicking and dropping them into a bucket of soapy water or with the use of Bacillus Thuringiensis (BT)

Slugs and Snails

Slugs and snails also pose another threat to kale. These garden pests feed by eating parts of the plant.

Controlling slugs and snails

Slugs and snails can be controlled by handpicking or with the use of bait. Sprinkle the area around your plants with diatomaceous earth or slug and snail bait.

Diseases of kale

Keeping your kale disease-free or at least keeping the disease under control means when watering ensure that the soil and not the plant comes in contact with the water.

Plants that are watered too late in the evening will not dry out in time by nightfall the moisture that’s still present along with the warm temperature makes the perfect condition for the disease to develop.

When watering be very careful not to splash the soil on your kale. Copper fungicides may also offer some help. The earlier you catch the disease, the more effective the application of the copper fungicide.

Sterilizing your tools is also an effective way of disease prevention. Tools can be cleaned by adding two tablespoons of bleach to a 32oz spray bottle filled with water, shake this solution well, and apply it to your garden tools. Allow this solution to sit for a few seconds and wipe with a clean cloth. Reducing the amount of nitrogen fertilizer will go a long way in controlling the diseases of kale.

When to harvest kale?

Now it’s on to the fun part and that is harvesting your kyle, you have planted, watered, fertilized, and taken care of those pest and disease issues and now it is time to reap a harvest of your labor.

What are the signs to let you know that it is time to harvest your kale?

When harvesting kale from seeds to maturity it will take anywhere from 70-80 days. Kale that is transplanted until the time of maturity will be ready to harvest within 50-60 days.

Another sign to show that kayle is ready to harvest is when they are the size of your hand. The older leaves of kyle should be harvested first. These leaves are found at the bottom of your kale veggie while the younger or newer growth is found at the top.

Kale can be harvested with the use of sharp scissors. Be very careful not to cut your hand. Cut kale from the base leaving 2 inches for kale to regrow.

How to store kale?

Now that you have harvested your kyle the goal is to keep them as fresh as possible. But how can kale keep its freshness after being harvested? Here are a few suggestions that have proven to be effective.

1. After kale has been picked wash well under running water, dry kale thoroughly with paper napkins then wrap your kale in clean dry paper napkins, place napkins in a ziplock bag. Remove air from ziplock bag and place bag in the refrigerator crisper drawer.

2. Follow step one with the washing and drying of kale. Using a Tupperware container place your kale in the container, get about two or three strips of paper towel, and wet them entirely.

Squeeze out excess water because the goal is to have the paper towels damp and not dripping with water. Place the paper towel on and around your kale, next return the lid to the container ensuring that there is no air.

Place the container in the coldest part of your fridge. Every 2-3 days change the paper towels in the container so that your kale retains its freshness.

The final word

Growing kale is that simple, from the garden to your kitchen to include in soup recipes, stews, steamed foods, sauteing, salads, and so on. This is a great way to get your greens in that is filled with so many benefits

So consider making these super veggies a part of your garden whether growing them directly from the ground or container gardening. So get in on what many home gardens are growing and enjoying.


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About the author

+ posts

Norman loves being in the garden, both at home and for his job....
he is 'Natures Little helper' being outdoors, growing his vegetables and flowers from an early age.
Now having spent over 22 years in the profession he want to give some of his knowledge to others...
his vast array of hints and tips you will find scattered over this site will help you no end growing plants in your garden.

15 thoughts on “How To Grow Kale In The Home Garden”

  1. Thank you for this great information. I am a home gardener who has transitioned into container gardening. When we moved to Florida 13 years ago I had to learn to start with good soil to replace the natural sandy conditions. But the soil washes away so I just do containers. I have had real good success with kale and just about anything feasible in containers.
    I’m glad I stumbled upon your site, I will follow you to take advantage of the good information and tips here.

    Don’t forget to encourage someone today!
    Vanna Pearl

  2. This is so informative! I don’t know how to grow anything, and you really just gave me step by step how to grow and care for kale. From keeping away insects to preventing disease. This is absolutely amazing! I was planning on starting a garden soon, to try and grow my own food after moving, and this will be such a great help! Thank you for taking the time to share this info!

    • Hello so good to meet you and I am so happy that I could help. Wishing you the best of success with your garden project. Have a good day.

  3. great tips here, I have tried to grow kale before but didn’t have much luck. I suspect I had a problem with root rot. I’ll give it another go now that I found your useful and easy to follow guide and it will to avoid root rot next time.

     My brother also has his own allotment so I shall share your article with him. Many thanks.

    • Dianne so good to see you again and as always it is my pleasure. Thanks so much also for passing the word along to your brother. Wishing you all the best of garden success. Have a good day.

  4. Very interesting! I’m a huge health fanatic so naturally I eat tons of kale. I’ve never actually considered growing it though so I’ll definitely take this into consideration.

    The only problem is – I live in Scotland. Notoriously we don’t get very good weather and through the winter months there is only 5 – 6 hours sunlight during the day. Do you think it’s still possible or do I need a warm climate? I may have to utilise a greenhouse!

    • Hello Stephen so good to meet you and it is good to know that you are staying healthy and fit by consuming the natural stuff that is a good health booster. Well you can try growing them in containers that way doing the winter months you can bring them indoors and as spring approaches as the weather warms up they can be taken back outdoors. Hope this help and please let me know how it goes. All the best to you and have a good day.

  5. Kale is good for the body, it promotes regularity of the digestive tract, it prevents constipation. It is good to know the best the method to produce Kale because I would love to grow it in my area. Only that the soil pH around me is quite high from 4.0 to 4.5 very acidic but I will try to add lime and reduce it maybe my Kale will survive thanks for this post it is quite informative.

    • You are so right with what you said. It is good to include these natural healers in our diet that can promote good health. This post may offer some help on adjusting you soil’s ph or why not grow your kale in containers by using good garden soil that can be purchased from your plant nursery or garden center. Hope this help and all the best to you.


  6. Last year I grew kale indoors in containers and 5 gallon grow bags. It’s amazing to see kale is a hardy plant and they grow extemely well. I had aphids in the beginning of the season, but managed to get rid of them very easily. Because I had just 5-7 plants I didn’t use anything, rather than a napkin to push them of the leaf and catch them. I did that every day until they went away.

    I use Kale for several health reasons because of protein content (4gr per 100 grams) and they are among the most nutrient dense foods

    I like to make a raw kale salad with kale, olive oil, vinegar or lemon juice, salt and pepper. 

    Next year I’ll grow more varieties, like red russian kale and more!

    • Reader39 it is so good to see how you are benefiting from kale that can do our bodies a lot of good. Thanks so much for sharing and keep living healthy by eating  these natural,healers. All the best to you and have a good day.

  7. kale is really beneficial to the body in that it promotes regularity of the digestive tract and prevent constipation. I am glad I found a way to grow kale in my environment. The only problem is that the soil in my area is very acidic with pH of 4.0 to 4.5 is there any way to reduce this I have tried lime but it not working, I really want to grow this kale. But kale requires a soil with 4.5 to 5.5 ph. What can I do to adjust my soil pH?

  8. Hello Norman. Your blog has been a very good resource for gardening tips and guides. Thanks so much.

    Kale is such an awesome vegetable with loads of nutritional values just as you have stated in this post. You’ve done a great job telling us how to plant kale in both in the garden and a container too. After planting, it’s very important to nurture and do everything possible to make the vegetable healthy. Thanks for the health tips regarding kale.



    • So nice to see you again and I am so happy to help. Thanks so much for your kind words. All the best to you an have a  good day.


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