Growing heirloom dwarf curled scotch kale isn’t as hard as you’d think. If you’ve mastered the basics of gardening and have seen success with vegetables such as zucchini and tomatoes, it may be time to start expanding your veggie horizons.
Heirloom Dwarf Curled Scotch Kale could be your next undertaking in gardening. Look no further if you’ve ever wondered how to grow this flavorful, nutritious-packed powerhouse vegetable. This article will offer the knowledge you need to grow healthy and beautiful heirloom dwarf curled scotch kale.
Heirloom dwarf curled scotch kale is a hardy and easy-to-grow winter vegetable. The bluish-green leafy plant vegetable is best grown in cooler climates and can get even sweeter after a frost.
Whether you’re an expert or novice gardener or live an urban or rural life, growing this heirloom kale is achievable.
Why Add Versatile Vegetables?
You should incorporate versatile vegetables into your diet for many reasons. For one, it’s nutrition-packed with immune-boosting minerals and vitamins A and C, and it’s also so easy to incorporate into everyday dishes such as stir-fries, stews, soups, and salads. It’s also delicious sauteed in olive oil and sea salt for the perfect, simple side dish.
Kale is part of the Brassica family of plants and its relatives; cabbage, brussels sprouts, and broccoli.
Since dwarf-curled kale grows best in cooler weather, late Spring and early Summer tend to be the best time for planting and at least a few weeks before the first Fall frost.
Preparing Your Gardening Space To Grow Heirloom Dwarf Curled Scotch Kale
Kale does well in the sun but will do well in partial shade as well. Aim to choose a spot for planting that receives around six hours of sun daily.
Make sure the soil you’re using is nutrient-dense and moist. You will want to add fertilizer to your ground to help your plants grow.
The soil pH should be between 5.5-6.8, in the slightly acidic to neutral range. To test that you are within this range, pick up a soil pH test kit from your local garden store or find them online.
If your soil is too low or acidic, you can counteract this by applying ground limestone or wood ash. If your pH level is too high (alkaline), you could add some compost or blood meal to your soil to balance it.
Sowing Your Kale In A Pot Or Container
You can sow dwarf curled kale in small pots or containers before transporting the seedlings to the soil. Suppose you don’t have any containers readily available. In that case, you can get creative and use a clamshell takeout container, or for a more eco-friendly choice, use egg cartons or eggshells, which can be planted directly into the soil. Make sure to poke holes in the base for drainage and fill with moist, multipurpose potting mix. You will then be able to sow your seeds on the top about 1/2 to 1 cm deep. If you’re using containers, plant two seeds per compartment, and when the seedlings start coming up, remove the weaker of the two.
Place the container outside and wait until the weather turns milder for the seeds to germinate. As the weather warms, you will want to check the seeds often.
Once the seedlings have at least two sets of leaves and the soil starts warming up after the winter, the seedlings should be ready to transplant to the soil. A good rule of thumb is to space the seedlings 18-24″ apart.
Sowing Your Seeds Or Plants Directly Into The Ground
Another option for cold weather seeds is to sow them directly into the ground about 1/4″ to 1/2″ deep and spaced 8-12″ apart. You can also skip the seed stage and buy starts (baby plants). For these, you’ll want to space them 18-24″ apart, around the depth they are placed in the container they came in.
Either traditional or raised beds are ideal for growing kale. Again, kale likes nutrient-rich and well-drained soil, so ensure the area you plant is well-prepped.
Choose an area that will receive a lot of natural light and sow your seeds tightly into the ground to keep animals from getting to the seeds. It will also protect the seeds from windy or harsh weather, blowing them away.
Find Heirloom Dwarf Curled Scotch Kale seeds on Amazon. Check the price here.
Caring For Your Plants
Once you’ve finished planting, you’ll want to water thoroughly. Keep your kale well-watered and weeded by pulling the yellow and damaged leaves whenever you see them.
If you live in a dryer climate, ensure your kale is well watered and receives about 1 to 1.5 inches of water per week. Feed kale with a continuous release of plant food which you can apply around every six months. Apply mulch to keep the soil cool and ideal for growth.
Harvesting Your Kale
Kale is ready to harvest 55 days after transplanting and around 80 days from seed. You will know if your plant is ready when the leaves are around the size of your hand.
Start harvesting the older leaves first towards the bottom and the outside of the plant and remove about one fistful of leaves per harvest. Avoid picking the terminal bud, which you can find at the top center of the plant, as this can impede growth progress.
Your kale could last 1-2 weeks or more with proper storage. Once harvested, rinse your kale thoroughly to remove any soil on the leaves, then wrap it in a damp paper towel (make sure to wring it out). Place the kale in a container or plastic bag in the coolest part of the fridge or crisping drawer if you have one. This storage method will keep the kale from drying and ensure it lasts.
Harvesting is smoothest with a good pair of harvest snips. Check the price here.
Look Out For Pests
While no severe disease problems exist with kale, there are some pests you should look out for while growing. The following are common pests found on kale and ways to prevent them:
Aphids are tiny green bugs found between the leaves of your plants that can weaken them by sucking the liquid out of them.
If you discover that you have aphids, sometimes a cool blast of water from the garden hose effectively dislodges them. Another option is insecticidal soap or a mild water and dish soap mix. Setting some ladybugs free in your garden could also help keep them at bay. Aphids are a favorite food for ladybugs.
This pest is common to the brassica family of vegetables and is a green larva that grows into a white cabbage butterfly in adulthood. They tend to lay eggs on the underside of the plant leaves. If you discover eggs on your plants, you can either remove them manually or spray them with Bacillus thuringiensis every 1-2 weeks. It is a safe, naturally occurring bacterium in soil but produces proteins that kill the larvae. You can find it at your local garden shop.
Another common pest in your garden could be cutworms. These caterpillars or larvae of night-flying moths destroy young plants by eating the stems. Prevention is the best plan of attack against these pests. Make sure to weed your kale often and pick up any plant debris, as the moths like to lay their eggs under dead plant material. If you have cutworms, you can kill them by manually removing them and dunking them in soapy water. You can also create a simple plant cover using aluminum foil or toilet paper rolls. Ensure it goes into the ground to prevent the pests from burrowing underneath.
You should now feel prepared with the knowledge you need to dig into the soil and add heirloom dwarf curled scotch kale to your vegetable garden. The delicious vegetable is sure to be a worthy and gorgeous addition. We’re sure you’ll agree.
Frequently Asked Heirloom Kale Questions
What Does An Heirloom Variety Mean?
Heirloom plants are an older variety of plants, vegetables, or fruit. The seeds are passed down through generations by farmers and gardeners to preserve the uniqueness and flavor of that particular plant. They are open-pollinated, meaning plants or the wind vs. human intervention pollinate them. They predate the common hybrid vegetables that became more prevalent in the post-World War II era.
What Are Good Companion Plants For Kale?
When deciding to plant heirloom dwarf curled scotch kale, you may be wondering what other plants could be good companions to plant alongside it. Besides different varieties of kale, the following plants could be beneficial to your kale plant, and they also tend to thrive in similar conditions:
– Herbs (Basil, Garlic, Dill, Rosemary)
Should I Cover my Kale Plants?
If you want to extend your harvest or shield the plants from the cold, you can put row covers over your plants, or another choice would be to do a makeshift cover with tarps or blankets. Since row covers can be expensive, you can find some tips on creating your own in this article from The Old Farmer’s Almanac.
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- Catherine Boeckmann, “Planting, Growing, and Harvesting Kale”, https://www.almanac.com/plant/kale#
- “Optimum Soil pH Levels for Trees, Shrubs, Vegetables, and Flowers”, November 12, 2021, https://www.almanac.com/plant-ph#
- How to Make a Row Cover Tunnel https://www.almanac.com/video/how-make-row-cover-tunnel
- Dwarf Blue Curled Scotch Kale Seeds https://www.everwilde.com/store/Dwarf-Blue-Curled-Scotch-Kale-Seeds.html
- Kale, Vates – Dwarf Curled Blue Scotch http://www.survival-essentials.com/kale-vates-dwarf-curled-blue-scotch
- Amy Grant, “Kale Companion Plants: Learn About Plants That Grow Well With Kale”, https://www.gardeningknowhow.com/edible/vegetables/kale/kale-companion-plants.htm
- Stephen Albert, “How to Plant, Grow, and Harvest Kale”, https://harvesttotable.com/how_to_grow_kale/
- Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt), http://npic.orst.edu/factsheets/btgen.html