How to Grow Kale in Your Garden: A Step-by-Step Guide


Kale is a nutritious and versatile leafy green that is easy to grow in your garden. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced gardener, you can enjoy a bountiful harvest of this superfood by following a few simple steps. Here’s how to grow kale successfully in your garden.

How to Grow Kale in Your Garden: A Step-by-Step Guide

Choose the Right Variety

Kale comes in several varieties, each with unique characteristics. Some popular types include:

  • Curly Kale: Known for its ruffled leaves and mild flavor.
  • Lacinato Kale (Dinosaur Kale): Features dark, wrinkled leaves and a slightly sweeter taste.
  • Red Russian Kale: Has flat, serrated leaves with a purple hue and tender texture.

Choose the variety that best suits your taste and growing conditions.

Prepare the Soil

Kale thrives in well-drained, fertile soil with a pH between 6.0 and 7.5. To prepare your garden bed:

  • Remove any weeds and debris.
  • Work in compost or well-rotted manure to enrich the soil.
  • Test the soil pH and adjust if necessary with lime to raise pH or sulfur to lower pH.

Plant Kale Seeds or Seedlings

You can start kale from seeds or purchase seedlings from a nursery. Follow these steps:

  • Sow seeds directly in the garden 1/4 to 1/2 inch deep, spacing them 12-18 inches apart.
  • If starting indoors, plant seeds in trays 6-8 weeks before the last frost date. Transplant seedlings to the garden when they are 4-6 weeks old.
  • Space seedlings 12-18 inches apart to allow room for growth.

Water Regularly

Kale needs consistent moisture to grow well. Water your plants regularly, keeping the soil evenly moist but not waterlogged. Mulch around the plants to help retain moisture and reduce weed growth.

Provide Adequate Sunlight

Kale grows best in full sun but can tolerate partial shade. Aim for at least 6 hours of sunlight per day. In hotter climates, partial shade can help prevent the plants from bolting (going to seed) too quickly.

Fertilize as Needed

Kale is a heavy feeder and benefits from regular feeding. Use a balanced fertilizer or compost tea every 4-6 weeks to keep the plants healthy and productive.

Protect from Pests

Kale can be affected by pests like aphids, cabbage worms, and flea beetles. To protect your plants:

  • Inspect regularly for pests and remove them by hand.
  • Use row covers to keep pests away.
  • Apply organic insecticidal soap or neem oil if necessary.

Harvesting Kale

Kale can be harvested as soon as the leaves are large enough to eat. Follow these tips:

  • Harvest the outer leaves first, allowing the inner leaves to continue growing.
  • Cut the leaves with a sharp knife or scissors, leaving at least 2 inches of the stem intact.
  • Regular harvesting encourages new growth and prolongs the harvest season.


Growing kale in your garden is a rewarding experience that provides you with a steady supply of nutritious greens. By choosing the right variety, preparing the soil, planting properly, and providing consistent care, you can enjoy a bountiful harvest. Kale is resilient and easy to grow, making it an excellent choice for gardeners of all skill levels. Start planting today and enjoy the health benefits and delicious taste of homegrown kale. Happy gardening!