Kale is a tough crop that can withstand temperatures as low as 20 degrees. For that reason, it can be planted any time you can work the soil in your garden. But kale seeds germinate best at about 70 degrees and do better if you start them indoors now and transplant them outside as soon as the soil dries.

Start seedlings in small pots about a half an inch deep in a planting medium such as Pro Mix. Keep the mixture around the seeds moist, but let the top of the pots dry out between waterings.

Kale turns bitter and tough once the temperature gets above 80 degrees, so you want to plant it early is to avoid the heat of summer.

It prefers well-drained soil with some organic matter but doesn’t want a lot of fertilizer. If you are planting in the cool season, give it full sun. If you are planting in mid-summer, a little shade helps. Plant the seedlings 12 to 18 inches apart.

You can start harvesting leaves off the kale when it is a bit less than a foot tall. If the leaves turn brown, pull them off and compost them to allow room for young leaves.

All kale is healthy for you and is edible, but kale is tastiest after it has been hit by a frost in the fall. In late July or early August, cut some of your kale plants down to about 2 inches above the ground. They will sprout new leaves in a couple of weeks, and you can harvest the best kale of the season from late September through November. Not that I am quite ready to think about fall yet. I’m still thinking about summer.

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