How to grow kale

Whether you’re going to steam, sauté, boil, add it to soups, vegetable or meat dishes or blend it into a healthy drink, kale is super easy to grow in your garden.

Planting kale

A highly nutritious green, garlic, beets, celery, cucumber, onions and herbs such as sage, dill and camomile. Due to kale being a part of the pest-prone cabbage family, it shouldn’t be planted alongside tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, strawberry, mustard, climbing beans and basil.

A good tip is to rotate planting kale with other crops, as it will help to avoid developing a clubroot infection.

You should aim to plant kale so that it matures and is ready to pick while the weather is still cold. This means that in northern Australian locations, you could plant in early July whereas in southern regions, you could plant as late as September.

Care and maintenance of kale

Mulching is essential when growing kale. The roots grow at a shallow depth only inches below the ground surface, so it’s important to keep the soil cool. Use a combination of grass clippings, clean straw and a good seaweed mulch or treatment to help improve your yield.

Kale is often attacked by bugs and pests, especially the cabbage moth. To reduce their impact, plant kale in season, keep it well watered and plant it near some companion plants such as coriander and marigolds.

Harvesting kale

Kale is a biennial, so you can harvest it in winter and you will also see a late spurt of growth in spring before the plant goes to seed.

The flavour of kale is actually improved by frosty conditions. Treat your kale to a few freezing nights and it will help transform its starches into natural sugars.

Young kale leaves can be harvested quite early on. However when the plant ages, it will produce a larger batch of older leaves that you can harvest from the outside of the plant. Pluck individual leaves and avoid cutting developing buds at the centre of the plant.

Ready to plant?

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Please make sure you use all equipment appropriately and safely when following the advice in these D.I.Y. videos. You need to be familiar with how to use equipment safely and follow the instructions that came with the equipment. If you are unsure, you may feel it is safest to consult an expert, such as the manufacturer or an expert Bunnings Team Member.

Grave health hazards are linked to asbestos, which may be in homes built up to 1990. Health hazards may result from exposure to lead-based paints in older materials and copper chromium arsenic (CCA) treated timber. For information on the dangers of asbestos, lead-based paint and CCA treated timber and tips for dealing with these materials contact your local council's Environmental Health Officer or visit our Health & Safety page. You can also use a simple test kit from Bunnings to indicate the presence of lead-based paint.
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