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Gardening

How to Grow Kale in Dallas (and Eat It Too!)

Kale yeah!
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When we think “gardening expert,” a few local green thumbs might come to mind, but Dallas Arboretum’s Vice President of Gardens Dave Forehand certainly makes his way to the forefront. Each week, we’ll be sharing Forehand’s seasonal gardening tips and insight. Today, Dave’s talking kale.



 

Four Ways to Eat Kale 


In the kitchen, kale is a versatile leafy green that can be steamed, eaten raw or chopped up for salads or smoothies.

  1. Salads are a favorite. Be sure to let the dressing soak into the kale.

  2. Use it in place of lettuce or spinach.

  3. Add it to smoothies for extra vitamins.

  4. Bake it to make tasty kale chips.*


 


How to Grow Kale in Dallas


If you want to grow your own kale, fall and early winter are the best times in Dallas. The cool weather brings out a wonderfully sweet, nutty flavor. Whether planted in containers or in beds, kale makes for a decorative (and tasty) winter plant. Here are some tips on growing and harvesting kale.

  • Find a spot where your kale will receive full sunshine.

  • A note on quantity: If you’re going to be using kale on a regular basis you’ll want to have at least 4-5 plants per household member. It is also always a good idea to plant more starts than you think you’ll need in case some of them don’t make it.

  • There are many varieties of kale. They are all easy to grow so pick the ones you like. My favorites are: Dinosaur Kale (Tuscan kale); Redbor; Blue Knight and Starbor.

  • The recommended space for planting seedlings is 12-15 inches apart in rows 18-24 inches apart.

  • Along with cool temperatures, kale also enjoys moist soil. Keeping the soil moist (but well-drained) will also help keep the leaves sweet and crisp.

  • Side dressing (fertilizing along the rows) with compost throughout the growing season will help keep your kale producing. You can do this approximately every 6-8 weeks.

  • If you’re having issues with dirt sticking to and rotting your kale leaves, you can put mulch around the kale once it is at least six inches high.

  • You can begin to cut individual leaves off the kale when the plant is approximately 8-10 inches high. Start with the outside leaves.

  • If you decide to harvest the entire plant, cut the stock two inches above the soil and the plant will sprout new leaves in 1-2 weeks.

  • You can also pick kale regularly and store it in the fridge for up to a week. If you choose to do so, keep it lightly moist and place it in a bag, but unsealed, in the crisper bin.


 

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