The general rule of thumb for anyone who loves kale and want fresh harvest regularly is to grow 3 to 4 plants per family member.
Grow your own at home saves money, as this is a cut and grow plant. As a gauge, a 10 weeks old plant will yield 5 big leaves every week. Cost to grow this super food can be as little as $1 per week or zero if we have our own compost. Additional perks as home growers are we get to choose when to harvest, whether younger more tender leaves or the bigger foliage from more mature plants. In any case, own grown is always best, as we grow them without chemical and there is no waste. We only harvest when we need to. NO carbon footprint from plants to mouth at home! 🙂
However, space may be a major constraint to grow enough of these wonderfully delicious and nutrients packed greens for urban high rise dwellers like ourselves in Singapore.
To solve space challenges, I chose to grow in PET bottles with Kratky’s non circulating hydroponic instead of soil to save space.
STEP 1 – Germination Method
It is important to keep seeds moist at all times. They can be sowed on wet tissues and lightly covered with another tissue. Cling wrapped or ziplock in bag to maintain moisture on seeds bed.
Germination speed is faster on tissues (2 days) than on soil (9 days).
STEP 2 – Transplanting Seedling
Transplant seedling when true leaves (the second pair of leaves) emerged and about 4 cm long. At this stage, it need more sunlight.
Tip – For speedier seedling’s growth, keep grow lights on longer while maintaining moisture with foliage misting.
In Hydro – Make sure roots reach nutrient feed.
In Soil – kept moist and seedling is upright.
STEP 3 – Adjusting Sun Exposure
For better tasting kale, where leaves are tender and less bitter, adjust sun exposure when seedlings are one month old.
Grow in morning sun which is not hot or remove from direct afternoon sun to grow in partial shade, made better tasting leaves.
STEP 4 – HARVESTING
Cut bigger or outer most leaves stem as close to main stem as possible.
Keep younger smaller leaves on plant until they grow bigger, usually in a week time.
CUT and GROW BACK PLANT
I wanted something more natural than what is available commercially and one friend customized a liquid feed for me.
For anyone who likes an alternative choice to grow edibles safely, this hydro kit is available for sale (plant is not included) ! 🙂
Direct from growers who listened and care about how we grow food.
- Likes moist , well drained and loamy soil
- Grow in partial shade if there is too much sun
- Temperature over 27C or under strong direct sun will turn leaves bitter and tough
- Seeds to harvest is 70 – 90 days , estimated height 10 inches tall
- Harvest big (outside) leaves and the plant will regrow new leaves
- Hardy biennial plant (2 years to complete its life cycle, to bolt , to decline)
- Belongs to cabbage family
- Most nutrients packed vegetable (Vitamin A, B6, C, K, Manganese, Calcium, Magnesium, Copper, Potassium)
- High anti-oxidant (beta carotene, quercetin, kaempferol)
- Lowers cholesterol, reduce heart disease
- Zero Fat
- Protects eye sight
- High Fiber content
Delicious Juice Recipes
- Pineapple-Kale-Blast (Prolific Juicing) – 8 Kale leaves with stem, coriander, Pineapple, half cucumber and 1 medium apple
- Simple Kale – Kale leaves, lettuce, cucumber, lemon, apples (adjust sweetness with apples)
- Kale + Coconut Juice (Alan Tan, urban farmer)
- Green Goddess (Prolific Juicing) – 8 Kale leaves, 2 cups spinach, 12 strawberries, 1 lime, 2 apples, mint, optional – ginger