Grow kale - sowing and care

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Grow kale - sowing and care: grow

Kale has been traditionally grown in Germany for a long time and is one of the classic winter vegetables. Kale is easy to grow and maintain in your own garden, when the crop rotation and the necessary soil preparation and processing are respected. Kale can be grown biennially. The main harvest takes place in the second year. From the spring of the second year kale can be harvested regularly. Since green cabbage requires frost for full flavor development, crop yields from the second year onwards can be frozen in a freezer at short notice to simulate the frost effect.

The soil preparation

Kale can be sown in a sowing bed from May. At a distance of 40 centimeters to the next plant, the cultivation can take place. Kale grows particularly well on medium clay soil. Acid soil is rather unsuitable, but can be adjusted by adding lime. Before sowing, the planting area should be well loosened and fertilized with humus. So that the pH of the soil is aligned with the needs of the kale, lime can be incorporated into the soil right from the compost and humus fertilization.

The sowing

Kale can only be sown directly in the ground, when no more night frosts are expected. This is therefore only possible from mid-May. The seeds are placed about 2 inches deep in the ground and covered with soil. Then the soil has to be watered well. The planting distance when sowing about 40 centimeters from one plant to the next. It is also possible to prefer small kale plants on the windowsill. For this are not more used egg cartons. Simply plant the soil in the wells and press one seed per well into the soil. The soil should always be kept slightly moist, but should not be moldy. A sunny place on the windowsill is an advantage. Once the small plants have reached a size of about 5-10 centimeters, they can be planted in the actual bed.
In this case, the small, fine root interlocking should not be violated. To prevent this, the egg cartons can be cut up and placed in the soil with the small kale plant. The cardboard of the egg carton will decompose quickly and the small kale plant can develop well. By August at the latest, the plants should be planted at their actual growth location. The pre-breeding noticeably increases the harvest yield in the first harvest year.

The crop rotation and the right location

For good growth kale plants need a sunny, warm location that can be well watered. Kale needs a lot of water for its development. Ditches between the plants have proved helpful. In order to ensure a good yield and avoid diseases, it is crucial to consider the crop rotation. After the final harvest of the kale, no other kale is allowed to be grown there for the next 3 years. Kale should also not be planted in places where previously other types of cabbage or cruciferous vegetables were. This is the only protection against the cabbage hernia. For this reason, it should also be refrained from planting other cabbages (white cabbage, red cabbage, Brussels sprouts, etc.) in the immediate vicinity. Direct neighbors are beans, tomatoes, salads, legumes and spinach.

The right planting distance

So that kale plants can develop unhindered, they need a planting distance of 50 centimeters to other kale plants, d. h., That front, back, right and left 50 centimeters space should be kept free. Kale is biennial, so it can stay in the garden over winter. Harvesting is also possible during the frosty periods, even though the plant has stopped growing. As soon as the frost has passed and the first rays of the sun warm the earth, the kale begins to bud and grow again. The leaves are harvested from the outside to the inside.

Possible pest infestation and precaution

The main pest that can attack the kale is the cabbage fly. Hobby gardeners should therefore ensure at an early stage that the kale plant can not be attacked at all. Vegetable fly nets, which are stretched over the plants, provide successful protection because the cabbage fly does not pass through them. Furthermore, the kale is threatened by the flea. To keep this away from the plants, it is sufficient to keep the soil always well moistened.
Kale needs a lot of nitrogen during the growth phases. This can be supplied in a natural way, by using nettle, and used for fertilization. As soon as the kale lacks fertilizer, this is indicated by the formation of yellow leaves.Nettle has many advantages, it can also be used to protect against pests. If the pest infestation ever gets too big, a mixture of neem oil, rimulgan and water can be sprayed on the kale plants. This prevents the propagation of the pests and works in a purely biological way. Neem oil products are allowed for organic farming and fruit and vegetables and are absolutely non-toxic.

The harvest of the leaves

Kale - Brassica oleracea

Kale plants in the second year can have a stature height of over 150 centimeters. The leaves should be harvested regularly from the outside to the inside, so that the growth is stimulated. The harvest should always take place regularly, especially since the delicate leaves taste particularly good. If the leaves remain on the plant for too long, they develop too many bitter substances that have an unfavorable effect on the taste. In order to neutralize the bitter substances in the kale, it is possible to deep-freeze the harvest after processing. For cooking, the kale portions are thawed again, but have lost their bitter taste. Freezing is especially important when harvesting outside the natural frost period. During the growth period, compost fertilization should be carried out from time to time, whereupon attention should be paid to the necessary calcium content. The stronger a plant is, the more resistant it is to pests.

More tips for care

soil preparation
The kale thrives best in permeable, heavy to medium soil that has been enriched with compost or manure. In the winter before cultivation, rake the planting area thoroughly and sprinkle some lime. This makes it possible to keep the soil in the neutral area and to prevent the cabbage hernia. For example, about 2 weeks before planting, you can start adding some compost to the upper layers of the earth as starting capital.
The kale can be sowed from mid-May, not earlier, otherwise there is a risk that too many leaves develop, which also lose their hardiness. In about 2cm deep groove furrows you put the seeds that should be about 40 cm apart. The strong seedlings are then thinned to 50cm after some time. Exuberant wild herbs are occasionally removed and the soil around the plant is seized, so that it can not be loosened by the wind.
mixed culture
For the kale is suitable as a neighboring planting beetroot, spinach, lettuce and radicchio. If possible, in addition to the kale you put Brussels sprouts and other cruciferous vegetables and most onions. The kale should be planted again on the same bed after about 3 years.
After about 3 to 5 months, the kale can be harvested. The first frost refines the taste of the leaves and gives it only the typical flavor. When harvesting the young leaves should always be cut from the middle, because these are the most delicate and therefore taste the best. If necessary, of course, the entire plant can be cut off the ground. But then yellow and oversized leaves should not be used for cooking, these are teased carefully in advance. When the kale starts to bloom, the plant is removed from the ground and added to the compost.
The biggest enemies of this type of cabbage are the fleas, small, metallic dark blue shimmering beetles. Therefore, the beneficials should be promoted in each garden, because they reduce the bugs. In bad cases can be sprayed with vermouth broth or Rainfarntee. The Rainfarntee is also used against Kohlgallenrüßler. The small cabbage fly with its annoying larvae is kept away with a vegetable fly net.
Variety selection:
  • Half-high Green Krauser = a hardy variety with strongly curled leaves that reaches 40 -60cm in height
  • Pentlang Brigg = hardy variety, whose young shoots and flower stalks are also suitable for consumption, reaches about a height of 50cm
  • Hammer = low-growing hardy variety, which grows barely 30cm high, long-oval rich green leaves with short petioles and fine ripples
The kale is suitable for soups, purees and as a vegetable garnish. Raw cabbage can be used to make delicious winter salads, such as freshly plucked kale leaves in a lemon marinade.

Video Board: Everything You Need to Know About Growing Kale.

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