Ornamental Kale, Song Bird Red
Great plant for fall and winter gardens.
Sun The amount of sunlight this product needs daily in order to perform well in the garden. Full sun means 6 hours of direct sun per day; partial sun means 2-4 hours of direct sun per day; shade means little or no direct sun.
Full Sun, Part Sun
Spread The width of the plant at maturity.
Height The typical height of this product at maturity.
Sow Method This refers to whether the seed should be sown early indoors and the seedlings transplanted outside later, or if the seed should be sown directly in the garden at the recommended planting time.
Direct Sow/Indoor Sow
Planting Time The recommended time of the year in which this product should be planted.
Thin Thinning refers to removing extra seedlings so that seedlings are spaced at the recommended distance apart. Remove any extra seedlings when they are about 2 inches tall or have two sets of leaves.
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Start Indoors Starting seeds indoors is called Indoor Sow or Indirect Sow and these dates are when to sow seeds indoors in the spring or summerTransplant When to transplant bulbs or roots in the garden for springStart Outdoors Starting seeds outdoors is called Outdoor Sow or Direct Sow and these dates are when to sow seeds outdoors in the spring or summerStart Indoors Fall Starting seeds indoors in the fall called Indoor Sow or Indirect Sow and these dates are when to sow seeds outdoors in the fallTransplant Fall Transplant Fall-When to transplant bulbs or roots in the garden for fallStart Outdoors Fall Starting seeds outdoors in the fall is called Outdoor Sow or Direct Sow and these dates are when to sow seeds outdoors in the fallJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
How to Sow and Plant
Kale may be direct sown for a spring and fall crop, or purchased as transplants for a fall crop.
Sowing Directly in the Garden:
- Sow in full sun in early spring and in midsummer for fall crop.
- In the Deep South, gulf, and pacific coast areas, sow from fall to early spring.
- Plant seeds evenly and thinly and cover with ¼ inch of soil.
- Firm lightly and water gently.
- Seedlings emerge in 10-21 days.
Planting from Transplants in Fall:
- Kale prefers rich, well-drained soil, and can tolerate some shade. Avoid areas where any member of the cabbage family grew the year before.
- Prepare the bed by turning the soil under to a depth of 8 inches. Level with a rake to remove clumps of grass and stones.
- Dig a hole for each plant large enough to amply accommodate the root ball. Space plants 1 – 1½ feet apart in rows 2 feet apart.
- Carefully remove the plant from its pot and gently loosen the root ball with your hands to encourage good root development.
- Place the top of the root ball even with the level of the surrounding soil. Fill with soil to the top of the root ball. Press soil down firmly with your hand.
- Thoroughly water and apply a light mulch layer on top of the soil (1-2 inches) to conserve water and reduce weeds.
How to Grow
- Keep weeds under control during the growing season. Weeds compete with plants for water, space and nutrients, so control them by either cultivating often or use a mulch to prevent their seeds from germinating. Avoid disturbing the soil around the plants when weeding.
- Keep plants well watered during dry periods to promote rapid, uninterrupted growth.
- Monitor for pests and diseases. Check with your local Cooperative Extension Service for pest controls recommended for your area. While small, floating row covers will help to keep pests at bay.
Harvest and Preserving Tips
- Harvest kale after first frost if you prefer a sweeter flavor.
- Pick the outer leaves as needed once they reach 6-8 inches long about 55-60 days after transplanting.
- Leave the central bud since it will grow new leaves.
- Store kale in an airtight bag in the refrigerator for 5-7 days. Wash when ready to use.
- Use kale as a substitute for lettuce, cooked cabbage and collards.