KALE – SO EASY !

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.

Fresh vegetables on Minimal space

2018 January 8 – squeeze for 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).

Grow kale from seeds

October 17 2017 – Germinated (2 days)

 

Kale benefits

1 day after germination

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.

Kale benefits

1 week old kale

Kale benefits

2 weeks old kale in “incubator”

STEP 3Adjusting 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.

Kale benefits

2018 January 2 – First harvest

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.

 

Grow Kale in Singapore

Cut and Regrow Leaves

Kale benefits

Fresh kale salads

CUT and GROW BACK PLANT

Kale Care and Health Benefits

7 to 10 days

NUTRIENTS FEED

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.

Grow food Naturally

Hydro Salads + Herbs Kit

KALE Notes

  • 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

Kale Benefits

  • 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

 

 

MICROGREENS

Thanks to Jack Yam’s sharing with easy to follow tutorial and accompanying photographs, a lot of gardeners learned how to grow microgreens.

With Jack’s permission, his pictures and instructions are shared in this post.

Step 1 – Recycle any plastic container suitable for growing! Drill or cut holes at the base for drainage. This allowed excess water to drain from the soil.

Grow food at home

Cut or drill holes for drainage

Not handy with electric drill, I re-used easier to cut soft plastic containers instead! Drainage holes were created by snipping corners with a pair of scissor.

Grow Harvest Eat from garden to table

Re-used plastic containers!

Step 2 – Fill only 1 inch depth of good gardening soil mix, customized or buy ready mix.

Microgreens from seeds

Fill and pat down soil

Step 3 – Water well, the medium should be very wet and then slowly drained from the holes we had cut/drilled below.

Grow Eat Fresh Food

The soil is very wet

 

Step 4 – Sow seeds on the surface. Press gently on seeds to ensure that they touched the soil but were not buried. 

Grow Eat Fresh Food

Seeds are on the surface

Lesson learned from our own experience, DO NOT cling wrapped the container as mold will grow. However this is easily remedied with sun exposure after a few hours.

Our microgreens’ journal began on December 17 2017 following Jack Yam’s instructions.

We hope to grow many varieties of microgreens and be able to harvest fresh from our table top gardens!

Grow microgreens from seeds

Broccoli and Red Beet seeds from Gardeners Day Out event in Singapore

  1. Broccoli seeds germinated in 18 hours!
Grow Eat fresh food at home

2017 December 18 at 2pm – Broccoli

Impatient to taste our first microgreens, we harvested on December 24 2017, exactly 7 days later.

Grow Harvest Eat microgreens

Broccoli microgreens taste like broccoli

Jack Yam advised there is no fixed rule as to when microgreens can be harvested. They can be as young as one week old with a set of seed leaf or more mature 3 to 4 weeks. The older seedlings will have more leaves and better bite. Microgreens are generally eaten raw and however old they are when we harvest them, they taste really good.

How to Grow microgreens at home

Dec 29 2017 – Broccoli leaf

How to Grow microgreens at home

2 weeks old seedling

2) Red beet was our second microgreen variety to try .

The seeds are really cute as they looked like wholemeal cereal bites!

Grow Harvest Eat microgreens

December 17 2017

Red beets germinated on December 19 2017, 2 days later.

Grow Harvest Eat microgreens

December 19 2017 – red beet

First harvest and taste on Christmas day 2017!

Grow Harvest Eat microgreens

Red beet

How to grow microgreens at home

Red Beet Leaf taste like beet!

Whole food grow at home made great snacks as well!

Grow Harvest Eat microgreens

Red beets and broccoli greens!

Growing microgreens was really easy and  fast to harvest.

In spite of their size, they packed a punch in nutrients, texture and taste.

Our grow rack of  anti-aging, healthy and colourful microgreens is expanding! 🙂

How to grow microgreens at home

2017 Dec 30 – Growing more varieties

One Time harvest 

  1. Spicy Taste – radishes, mustard/mizuna (wasabi tasting) , rockets
  2. Thai Basil
  3. Broccoli
  4. Pea / dou miou
  5. Red Cabbage
  6. Sunflower
  7. Alfalfa
  8. Red Amaranth
  9. Coriander
  10. Fenugreek
  11. Basil (green , purple)
  12. Kale
  13. Pak Choy
  14. Spinach
  15. sesame
  16. Chia seeds
  17. Water Cress
  18. Edamame
  19. Fennel
  20. Cucumber
  21. Chard
  22. Stevia
  23. Pumpkin leaves
  24. Sorrel
  25. Chives

Multiple harvests microgreens – cut will regrow

  1. Corn (Jack Yam’s tip – the white part of shoots are very sweet but the longer the shoot grows, the texture is fibrous)
  2. Wheatgrass

Most leafy greens can be harvested early to be eaten as microgreens or let to mature to grow into salads. Thus we can use vegetables and herbs seed for microgreens. For example, any type of kale, basil, pak choy, amaranth etc.

Microgreens vs. Sprouts

They are not the same.

Sprouts are germinated seeds and harvested in 48 hours. Consumed sprouts are mainly the seed, stem, roots and underdeveloped light color leaves. Their ideal growing conditions, 100% humidity and warmth (27C/80F), sometimes carried risks of pathogenic bacteria. In Europe, consumers are often advised to cook sprouts before eating.

Microgreens are young greens and harvested from 2 to 4 weeks. Their growing conditions are completely opposite the sprouts conditions – high light and sun exposure, low humidity and good ventilation. They have 2 developed cotyledons (seed leaf) and partially developed true leaf. Usually consumed raw without roots as they are cut above soil level.

An USDA 2012 study on microgreens yield an interesting detail. The nutritional benefits of microgreens varied when its grown in artificial lights and natural strong sunlight. According to this study, natural sunlight will yield the maximum nutritional content for microgreens.