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.
FEED NATURAL FERTILIZER (SOIL or LIQUID BASE)
Additional perks as home growers are we get to decide 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 harmful pesticides and there is no waste. We only harvest when we need to and how much from the plant. When parents grow, children learned as well.
Learning and being able to grow superfood is a blessing. We are always grateful there is available healthy whole food at home when the weather is bad, and there is no need to dash to the supermarkets. Having these instant fresh salads also mean that we are very conscious of what need to be harvested, thus increasing the chances of healthier options for our meals.
Last but not least, there is NO carbon footprint from our gardens to mouth ! 🙂
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.
Small net cup like these supported each seedling in their individual or shared reservoir, and recycled plastic bottles at the same time.
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
After a few days, the seeds will show 2 leaves (called seeds’ leaves or cotyledons ) like the following picture. The third leaf is called true leaf and carried the characteristics of future mature leaves.
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 the plant until they grow bigger, usually within 10 days.
After harvest, the cut parts will not regrow. The stem will continue to grow taller while the harvested area remained bald. Thus, cut the leaf stalk as close to stem as possible to reduce waste. Only the higher mid section will regenerate new leaves.
When Kale are harvested young, less than 2 months old, leaf stalk and leaves are more tender. To find the texture and taste preferred, we encourage tasting as the plant grew. There is no right or wrong time to harvest, as Kale can be enjoyed as microgreens or mature. For raw salad, we preferred the less bitter and tender leaves of less than 2 month plants.
Eating well at home can be as simple as this, adding freshly harvested Kale to cheese burgers.
We encouraged our daughter, my niece and their friends to harvest vegetables for their meals whenever they want, all over our apartment, on our D.I.Y (Do It Yourself) vertical gardens. Its always an unusual play date activity for their friends, as most do not garden or cook at home.
Start them young, these are some very good Gardening and Cooking Projects for children !
CUT and GROW BACK PLANT
I love how mobile my vegetables “garden” is, that they are all grown in jars and PET bottles. in natural sunlight and feed. Garden to table in a minute when we harvest our salads!
SEEDS & HYDRO starter kits available for sale !
ADDITIONAL KALE VARIETIES –
Scarlet , Red and Green curly kale.
Seeds viability is good, about 90% germinated within three days.
How the seeds progressed within the day –
Any spare containers at home can be recycled to grow food in liquid or soil based with some hands on experience from workshops.
Booked a session here, workshops are available.
Learned First and Bring Home Instant Gardens !
Notes on KALE
- 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 (outer facing) leaves and the plant will regrow new leaves from the middle. The lower stem will have no new leaves
- Young kale leaves are best for salads
- Older leaves are usually cooked or baked
- 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
Kale goes very well with citrus fruits in salads and we love them for light breakfast any day!
We prefer to harvest young Kale leaves (less than 2 months old) instead of waiting till its bigger. Growing our own Kale mean we decide when to harvest to suit our preference.