How to Plant Kale


Many gardeners include kale in a home garden because this versatile, leafy vegetable lends itself to many savory dishes in the kitchen. This member of the cabbage family prefers growing in cool temperatures, and gardeners often leave it to continue to grow throughout the frosty autumn. Plant kale in the spring as it will thrive in fertile garden soil to produce an abundance of kale leaves approximately three months after planting.

Step 1

Prepare a sunny garden area early in the spring as soon as the soil is workable. Cultivate the soil down to a depth of 4 inches and add 2 inches of compost over the top of the soil. Work the compost completely into the soil with the garden spade. Rake the soil surface smooth.

Step 2

Dig rows for the kale seeds with the trowel, making the rows approximately 2 feet apart and ½ inch deep.

Step 3

Plant the kale seeds in the prepared rows, spacing each seed 1 inch apart. Cover the seeds with ½ inch of soil.

Step 4

Saturate the newly planted kale seeds with water immediately after planting. Keep the soil evenly moist by providing water before the soil dries. Do not water to the point of standing water, however.

Step 5

Thin the kale seedlings when they are approximately 4 inches high. Remove the weakest seedlings so the remaining seedlings are approximately 1 foot apart in the rows.

Step 6

Fertilize the kale for the first time when the plants are approximately 6 inches high. Mix the fertilizer with water according to package recommendations and pour the fertilizer carefully onto the soil around the plants. Fertilize the kale plants once a month throughout the growing season.

Step 7

Harvest kale leaves when they are large (8 to 10 inches long) by breaking them gently from the plant. Remove the leaves as they mature and allow smaller leaves to continue to grow.

Things You'll Need

  • Garden spade
  • Compost
  • Rake
  • Kale seeds
  • Trowel
  • Water-soluble fertilizer (20-10-20)


  • Cornell University: Kale
  • University of Massachusetts: Kale Fact Sheet
  • Utah State University: Kale
Keywords: plant kale, kale leaves, harvest kale leaves

About this Author

Kathryn Hatter is a 42-year-old veteran homeschool educator and regular contributor to Natural News. She is an accomplished gardener, seamstress, quilter, painter, cook, decorator, digital graphics creator and she enjoys technical and computer gadgets. She began writing for Internet publications in 2007. She is interested in natural health and hopes to continue her formal education in the health field (nursing) when family commitments will allow.