Kitchen Garden

Kale Planting

2019 Kale Bed with 21 plants ready for mulch and fencing.

Temperatures were ideal for yard work so I prepared the bed for kale.

It is important to get kale right because once established, it will produce leaves until November. Sometimes it even over-winters. It is worth the time to measure and plant according to the package instructions.

I put 21 seedlings in the ground and reserved a dozen in case some don’t survive. A neighbor wants some, and after that, I’ll snip the leaves and make a kale salad or two with the leftovers.

My process has a lot of steps after picking up the seedlings at the greenhouse.

  • I run the lawn mower over the plot to remove any tall grass.
  • This year I did a burn pile on this plot so using a garden rake I spread the ashes evenly over the surface.
  • Turn over the soil in bites the size of the spade. Do this by hand. A long-handled spade works best.
  • Spread fertilizer (composted, granulated chicken manure) evenly over the top. For a 10 x 12-foot plot I used a gallon and a half.
  • Using the garden rake, break up the clods of dirt until they are fine enough to rake somewhat smoothly.
  • Make a slight trench with rows three feet apart. Use a yard stick or measuring tape.
  • Using a hand cultivator, break up the dirt in the trench six inches either side of center.
  • Using a plastering brick laying trowel, knife the blade into the ground and pull the soil back until the seedling will fit in. Put in the seedling, then fill the hole by hand with loose soil. Measure distance to the next hole in the role as length of the trowel plus the length of blade. Finish planting.
  • Next I use six inch sections of field tile to protect the seedlings. These will be removed once the stem grows larger. Press each tile section into the ground. The idea is to prevent ground crawling and walking pests from biting the tender young plants.
  • Use the garden rake to even our the surface and remove compressed areas where the gardener knelt during planting.
  • Using metal fence posts, pound them into the ground with a post-driver.
  • Put up chicken wire ensuring to get the bottom to firmly touch the ground. Be sure to leave a place for a gate so you can access the ripe kale.
  • If mulch is available, mulch deep and completely. Return later if mulch is not available.
  • Finally water the entire plot thoroughly.

Sounds a bit complicated, but the process has served well during the last few years.

It was a great day to be out in the garden.