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How to Plant Kale Seeds

By Sharon Sweeny ; Updated September 21, 2017

Kale is a hardy green that has been grown and eaten by humans for hundreds of years. Kale is a member of the cole family, the same family as cabbage, broccoli and cauliflower but unlike its fellow family members, it doesn‘t form a head. You can substitute it for virtually any recipe that calls for cooked spinach. Small immature leaves can be eaten raw in spring salads.

Plant in the correct season. Kale is a cool season vegetable. Plant kale seeds in early spring, as soon as the soil can be worked. Spring planted kale is ready to harvest in late spring to early summer. Plant for fall harvest in late summer.

Prepare the soil. Place about an inch of garden compost on the surface of the soil. Cultivate the soil by turning it under with a garden shovel, digging down one shovel depth. Rake the area smooth with a garden rake.

Plant seeds. For the traditional row method, plant kale seeds 4 to 6 inches apart in rows 12 to 18 inches apart. For intensive spacing, plant kale seeds 3 to 4 inches apart in all directions. Plant the seeds 1/4 to 1/2 inch deep for either method.

Water well after planting. Use a watering can with a rose sprinkler end and avoid strong streams of water. Mist or water with rose sprinkler daily to keep seed bed moist until germination occurs in 7 to 14 days.

When the seedlings are about 3 inches high, thin seedlings in rows so they stand 8 to 10 inches apart. Thin seedlings planted using intensive spacing so that they stand 6 to 8 inches apart in all directions.


Things You Will Need

  • Garden shovel
  • Garden rake
  • Compost
  • Watering can with rose sprinkler or sprayer


  • Kale is ready for harvesting approximately 45 days after germination. It is a hardy plant that will withstand freezing temperatures. Its flavor will improve if it is exposed to a few light frosts.


  • Don't plant kale where cabbage, broccoli or cauliflower was grown the previous year.

About the Author


Sharon Sweeny has a college degree in general studies and worked as an administrative and legal assistant for 20 years before becoming a professional writer in 2008. She specializes in writing about home improvement, self-sufficient lifestyles and gardening.