Growing Kale, also Borecole

Brassica oleracea sp. : Brassicaceae / the mustard or cabbage family

Jan F M A M J J A S O N Dec
    T T T              
    P P P              

(Best months for growing Kale in USA - Zone 5a regions)

  • S = Plant undercover in seed trays
  • T = Plant out (transplant) seedlings
  • P = Sow seed
  • Easy to grow. Grow in seed trays, and plant out in 4-6 weeks. Sow seed at a depth approximately three times the diameter of the seed. Best planted at soil temperatures between 46°F and 86°F. (Show °C/cm)
  • Space plants: 20 - 39 inches apart
  • Harvest in 7-10 weeks.
  • Compatible with (can grow beside): Dwarf (bush) beans, beets, celery, cucumber, onions, marigold, nasturtium, rhubarb, aromatic herbs (sage, dill, camomile)
  • Avoid growing close to: Climbing (pole) beans, tomato, peppers (chilli, capsicum), eggplant (aubergine), strawberry, mustard
  • Cavolo Nero kale (CC BY 2.0 licenced Dwight Sipler (flickr))
  • A seedling Cavalo Nero
  • Scotch kale

Green leafy plant. Kale is a good addition or substitute for cabbage varieties. Cavalo Nero can be grown in slightly smaller spacing.

Very winter hardy. Flavour is improved by frost. Ornamental varieties are colourful, and edible. Rotate with other crops to avoid clubroot infection.

Culinary hints - cooking and eating Kale

Strong flavoured and nutritious vegetable.
Wash well and chop finely then steam.
A tomato or cheese sauce will mask the flavour if too strong.

Your comments and tips

12 Nov 22, Caleb (USA - Zone 7b climate)
When do you harvest kale?
18 Nov 22, Ruth A Hersh (USA - Zone 9a climate)
Anytime it looks good to you, start harvesting the outer leaves, they will keep growing more from the inside. I over harvest mine sometimes, just leaving a few baby leaves coming out of the top, & they still keep coming,
15 Nov 22, Anonymous (USA - Zone 4a climate)
Read the notes here about when to harvest.
15 Sep 22, (Australia - temperate climate)
Does it need half sun Full sun or complete shade
21 Sep 22, Bee-Pie (South Africa - Humid sub-tropical climate)
Full sun
19 Sep 22, (Australia - sub-tropical climate)
Most veggies need a lot of sun - some 4hrs some 6 hrs some 8 hrs. It is the planting time that you need to get right. Like if Kale needs cool weather to grow then you don't grow it in summer.
02 May 22, HappyEgg (United Kingdom - cool/temperate climate)
My tatsoi, cabbage and lollo rosso seeds have all failed to germinate. Planted in trays in a cloche inside a polytunnel. What am I doing wrong? Help please!
15 Nov 22, Anonymous (United Kingdom - cool/temperate climate)
Hope you planted them the right time of the year, suitable to your climate zone. Raise them in seed raising mixture, keep damp but not soaking wet.
08 Apr 22, Simphiwe Gcumisa (South Africa - Semi-arid climate)
Which provinces produce or plant kale chomoulier in South Africa?
13 Apr 22, Anonymous (South Africa - Summer rainfall climate)
Ring your agricultural dept.
Showing 1 - 10 of 174 comments

Ask a question or post a comment or advice about Kale

Please provide your email address if you are hoping for a reply

All comments are reviewed before displaying on the site, so your posting will not appear immediately

Gardenate App

Put Gardenate in your pocket. Get our app for iPhone, iPad or Android to add your own plants and record your plantings and harvests

Planting Reminders

Join 60,000+ gardeners who already use Gardenate and subscribe to the free Gardenate planting reminders email newsletter.

Home | Vegetables and herbs to plant | Climate zones | About Gardenate | Contact us | Privacy Policy

This planting guide is a general reference intended for home gardeners. We recommend that you take into account your local conditions in making planting decisions. Gardenate is not a farming or commercial advisory service. For specific advice, please contact your local plant suppliers, gardening groups, or agricultural department. The information on this site is presented in good faith, but we take no responsibility as to the accuracy of the information provided.
We cannot help if you are overrun by giant slugs.