We all know how healthy Kale is, but did you realize that growing it inside is simple and enjoyable? You’ll also have year-round accessibility to a fresh salad topper.
You can eat healthfully nutritious Kale leaves all year long if you grow them indoors. In this article, we will discuss how to grow Kale indoors.
Kale is a green and purple biennial vegetable that belongs to the brassica family. It’s a nutrient-dense vegetable with vitamins A, C, and K and potassium, magnesium, calcium, and fiber.
Kale is one of those vegetables that may take a bit of work but is well worth the time spent growing it, particularly if you’re already thinking of growing your food.
It is versatile and can be eaten cooked or raw, offers many health benefits, produces good harvests, and will grow in many climates. So if you’re interested in growing Kale and adding it to your family’s dinner table, continue reading how to grow Kale indoors and follow these steps.
You can begin growing Kale indoors by purchasing seeds for sprouting. You can get the seeds at your local garden supply center or purchase them online.
You can also pick them out from the bulk section of your local health food store. The seeds should be soaked for about six hours in a little container of water.
Before you even get started, make sure that your soil is well-draining and loose.
If you like, create a small garden bed on the window sill with 3–4 inches of the growing mix and line it with an old screen or hardware cloth (much like chicken wire) to keep the soil within the bed. Moisten the mix with a bit of water.
Once you’ve chosen your location, fill that window sill with soil and then place seeds at about 1-inch intervals. Cover them with a thin layer of soil or growth mix until they’re 0.5 inches deep.
Also, consider spreading a few seeds every few weeks so that your plants don’t get all mature at the same time.
Remember that Kale likes cooler temperatures, so water generously, but do not overwater since this can rot the seedlings. Also, be sure to maintain even soil moisture because deep drying can damage the roots, which can cause them to die.
The Kale will germinate in about 1-2 weeks. Kale seeds do not require sunshine to germinate, but they should be kept warm and their soil moist. Using a plastic bag to cover them will help to establish this climate.
It’s time to harvest when the leaves reach the size of your hands. You can then begin harvesting small amounts for salads or cook lightly steamed.
It’s best not to harvest too much because they will be small seedlings at first, but as your plant continues to grow, you can pick the bigger leaves, and they will continue to grow back.
You can also harvest your leaves all at once and then allow your kale plant to rest for a few weeks. This process is called “tilling” and lets the plant regenerate new leaves before you begin harvesting again. If you do not want to wait, pick off the larger leaves and continue harvest what you need.
To begin harvesting, pinch the leaves off at the base of the stem. The plant will quickly regenerate new ones in its place, and you can start picking again when needed.
This works fine for Kale because they like growing close together, and often if you don’t pick them, they will grow into baby kale which you can harvest and cook like any other variety.
The baby kale and mature Kale are edible, healthy, easy to grow, fun to plant indoors year-round, and will be ready in about 2 months or less. Not bad for a little garden hobby!
- Kale allows for very few pests to infest their garden. They are disease resistant, have tough leaves that are hard to tear and thrive in cold winter temperatures. You won’t need to worry about slugs or snails either since they’re not interested at all in Kale’s bitter flavor.
- However, if your plant begins to wilt and show signs of yellowing or you find holes in the leaves, Kale can be attacked by a few varieties of pests. Aphids are common for these varieties but will not harm a healthy plant. Japanese beetles may also chew on the leaves, but since they prefer greener plants, this won’t be a problem either.
- Another pest that is commonly found on kale plants is the cucumber beetle. They like to feed at night and can often be seen congregating in large numbers on the underside of leaves during early morning hours. These pests carry disease, and you’ll want to take action if you notice them near your garden. Neem oil or organic pesticides can help to control these types of pests.
- Another thing that may need your attention is a fungus, which can grow in humid conditions or with too much watering. The best treatment for this is prevention, and you can do so by avoiding over-watering the soil and making sure there’s good ventilation so that plants are dry after watering.
- You can also prevent root rot by keeping your kale plants cool. Root rot results from excess moisture that sits in the soil, creating an environment that’s warm and moist. You can prevent this by using plastic mulch over the top of your garden to reflect light away from the leaves and keep them cooler.
- Kale prefers cooler temperatures which are why planting indoors works best during the winter. The average indoor temperature of about 65 degrees is perfect for them, though they can tolerate warmer climates.
- Kale likes to have their soil moist but not wet. When it comes time to water your kale plants, be sure that you thoroughly soak the soil around them and then allow it to dry before you water them again. You can do this by watering the soil until it starts to pool, then leaving it for 30 minutes before repeating. This ensures that your plant will receive enough water without any risk of over-watering.
- If you’re growing your Kale indoors in the winter months or live in an area with cold winters, you can help keep your Kale alive by placing a few large stones on top of them before you close the lid of their growing container. This helps to trap in heat and keep Kale warm.
It is ideal to grow Kale inside the house since they like cooler climates. They are also hardy plants that will survive almost any climate outside.
As long as you can provide dark and cool conditions, the Kale will stay lush and green all year round. A window facing East or West with an unobstructed view of direct sunlight during the day is perfect.
If you do not have these options, any corner of your house or apartment that gets lots of sunlight will do just fine.
If you treat your kale plants well, they will reward you with their fresh, leafy greens rich in beta carotene and high in iron content.
Fresh Kale is an excellent addition to any salad or can be cooked up with other vegetables for an easy side dish. You can also freeze the leaves and then add them to smoothies for a healthy boost.
Now that you know how to grow Kale indoors, you should have no trouble growing them year-round. Good luck!