Kale is a superfood and has a host of health benefits. It can be enjoyed in salads or smoothies and there are a ton of varieties to choose from. A lot of people grow this leafy green at home as it is simple and low effort.
Even if you don’t have a garden, you can grow kale at home because it is well suited to growing indoors too. Since kale is quite expensive otherwise, growing it at home is well worth the effort, especially if you eat it regularly.
Here’s everything you need to know about growing kale indoors:
How to Grow Kale Indoors from Seeds
Procure 2-3 kale seeds for as many plants as you want to grow. Let the seeds soak in water for about 6 hours.
Take a tray or container for planting the seeds and fill it with a quality potting mix. The container should be filled with soil to a depth of 3-4 inches. Spritz the soil with water to make it moist but don’t spray so much water that it becomes wet.
In every container that you have prepared, sprinkle 2 or 3 kale seeds. If you are using the same container for growing multiple plants, leave a gap of at least 4 inches between the seeds so that they have enough room to grow.
Keep spraying the seeds with water whenever necessary to keep them moist. You can also sow seeds at intervals of 2-3 weeks. This way, the plants will mature at different times instead of all at once.
The seeds don’t need sunlight yet, but keep them in a comfortably warm spot. They don’t have roots yet, so it is very important to ensure the soil stays moist.
How to Grow Kale Indoors from Cuttings
Kale can also be grown from cuttings. To begin, cut off a piece of the plant from the topmost bud in the center. Always use a sterilized and sharp knife or scissors for cuttings. The piece should have both budding leaves and a leaf node.
If you want to encourage faster growth, you can dip the cutting in a rooting hormone. Next, fill a pot or container with compost and plant the cutting into the medium. Pat down the medium so that the cutting is standing upright.
In a few days, you can trim the foliage so that the plant uses its energy to develop a root system. Spray the medium with water at frequent intervals to make sure it doesn’t dry out. You should have a viable kale plant within a few weeks.
Whether you grow kale from seeds or cuttings, transplanting them once they take root helps with their growth. Here’s how you can transplant your kale seedlings:
- First, prepare a container that is at least 12 to 16 inches in width and measures about the same height.If you are transplanting multiple kale plants, you need a big enough container to be able to leave a 16 inches gap between every plant. The container should also have a drainage hole for each plant.
- Get a quality potting mix and fill ¾th of the container.
- Now remove your seedlings from the soil by digging around them. Be careful not to damage the root system when you remove them.
- Make small holes in the new container for every seedling and put the seedlings into the holes.
- Cover the roots with the soil and pat it down to make the seedling secure. Spray them with water frequently and don’t let the soil dry out.
When the plant is mature, you can harvest it for consumption. Identify the oldest leaves, they should be the ones in the outermost and lowest part of the plant.
Pick them off the base of the plant using your hands. Don’t use too much force or pull too hard; you might end up stressing out the roots of the plant. Don’t disturb the new leaves in the center.
You can harvest kale every week or as and when you need it in the kitchen.
Kale Plant Requirements
Here’s what you need to take care of while growing a kale plant indoors:
You need to remember to water the kale plant frequently because it can dry out very quickly. Keeping the soil moist also makes the leaves sweeter and crisp. Underwatered kale plants have bitter leaves.
The watering schedule will depend on the weather in your area, but just make sure that the soil is never dry and the plant will be fine.
Acidic soil suits a kale plant best. If the pH of the soil is between 6 and 7.5 and the soil has plenty of nitrogen, you can expect lush, healthy leaves.
For fertilizing, use balanced NPK fertilizers once the plant is mature. If you prefer going the organic route, you can consider compost, worm castings, or fish emulsion.
Apply fertilizers every 6 to 7 weeks. Since it is a small plant growing indoors, a small amount is enough, but don’t go overboard.
Light and Temperature
Kale plants need plenty of light but they don’t like high temperatures. Keep your kale plants in a spot where they can get 4 to 6 hours of sunlight every day. The morning or evening sun will suit it a lot better than the scorching afternoon sunlight.
If the temperature soars above 70 degrees F, move the plant to shade and ensure that it gets enough water. Low temperatures are perfectly fine. In fact, a frost or two will actually make the leaves taste sweeter.
Growing kale at home is not as complicated as you might think. Once the plant starts growing, all you need to do is water it frequently and apply fertilizer every couple of months. It can be harvested every couple of weeks.
Even if you live in a place where there isn’t much sunlight, you can use artificial plant-growing lights to make up for the lack of sunlight. Growing kale is truly accessible to all kinds of homes.