Vegetables

Kale Seedlings (A Complete Guide to Planting & Care)

seedlings

Cultivating kale through seedlings is one of the sure ways to speed up its growing process but many are still not getting it right.

To grow productive kale that can regrow after each harvest, you need to know how to effectively cultivate kale through seedlings.

 A study by Harvard School Of Public Health, found that kale is one of the highly nutritious foods to include as part of a healthy dietary pattern. 

“Adults need to eat a variety of vegetables as part of a healthy meal plan, especially kale leaves” recommended by the dietary Guideline for American.

Kale, especially the leaves, comes with so many health benefits. That’s why most gardeners want to cultivate it either indoors or outdoors.

To ease your search, here’s a complete guide on how to plant and care for kale seedlings that’ll regrow after each harvest.

Prepare the Area Before You Plant Kale Seedlings

In this section I want to discuss how to prepare soil to grow kale seedlings.

Hardly will kale grow on poor soil, most especially the poor sandy soil. If you want to cultivate kale through seed, then you need to know the composition of the soil.

Kale is a soil selective crop that doesn’t grow any soil. Kale will not do well in a sandy soil. When you plant kale seeds on sandy soil it will take more time to germinate. Also, when it germinates, it can only grow for a season and dries up after the first harvest.

Irrespective of where you want to plant kale seeds, it’s necessary you prepare the soil before you plant.

Proper mixed soil will make kale’s seeds germinate and grow healthy crops. The importance of mixing soil with organic manure can’t be overemphasized because it determines how productive the seeds will grow. 

The most prefered soil to grow kale seeds is loam soil. Loam soil has the capacity to hold nutrients and water for a long time.

For kale seeds to sprout easily, you need to mix loam soil with organic matter or with complete fertilizer.

The reason for manure or fertilizer is to add additional nutrients to the soil. 

Mixing soil with accurate organic materials will not only make the crop to be healthy but to regrow after each harvest.

Kale requires minimum care, especially when the soil is well prepared with the right organic materials. What makes kale dry easily is the lack of sufficient nutrients and water in the soil. 

If you don’t mix the soil well, kale seedling will dry off. To prevent your kale seedlings from drying up, you need to add enough quality manure to the soil. 

Kale seedlings need 40 – 85 Fahrenheit to Grow Healthy 

Kale is a cold weather crop that thrives under warm climates. However, you can still grow kale in a warm climate.  

When cultivating kale seedlings, you need to watch out for the temperature. If the temperature is within 40 – 85 Fahrenheit you can successfully grow your kale seedlings. 

The temperature of an area is very important because it determines how productive and regrowing it will be when you harvest.

Climatic condition plays a major role on what type of kale you grow and how healthy the plant will be.

Water Kale Seedlings Until The Soil Is 1 Inch Moisture

Kale is a high feeder crop that needs water to stay healthy. The plant life circle is completely water. 

Kale needs water more than it needs sunlight. The more water you supply to the plant the more energy it has to produce more leaves.

Adequate preparation of soil is very important if you want your kale to become a perennial crop that grows always.

Water help to speed up the growth rate of kale. Mostly, when the weather is hot. You need to make the soil moisture for kale to be productive.

When watering kale seedlings avoid water log. Waterlog causes its roots to rot that destroy the plant completely.

One of the causes of kale yellow leaves is roots rot. Once the roots begin to rot, the sign is usually shown on the leaves. 

Once you notice yellow leaves if you have done what you’re supposed to do, then check out the water log.

Water logs damage kale crops faster than most of the kale diseases out there. If the plant needs water, you should water it to the point of having a water log.

Kale planted in a pot shouldn’t be watering every day. Especially those planting pots that have low watering drainage. The speed of the pot drainage is what determines how often you should water. 

You can choose to water pot kale seedlings once in a week. If the once in a week will cause water log, then choose twice in a week.

But when kale seedling is cultivated on the ground, you can water it on a daily basis. The climatic conditions of the region is another factor that determines how often you should water kale seedlings planted on the ground. 

If the weather is extremely hot, then you can water every day. During the cold season, the soil hardly drains off water, so you can water twice a week.

As much as possible avoid water logs. What kills kale seedlings easily is water log. Water logs destroy kale seedlings from the roots. Once the plant gets damaged from the roots, every other part of the plant will dry as well.

Use Water Spray With Nozzle To Water Kale Seedlings 

The easiest way to avoid water log, is by using water spray with a nozzle. Water spray with a nozzle will control the amount of water going out.

Spray nozzles will help you cover a large area. Nozzle will help you get kale seedling water in a way that’ll not cause water log.

You’ll be able to know when the soil is upto1 inch moist when using water spray with nozzle. 

Water spray with a nozzle helps to drive the water down. When using water, ensure it has a nozzle that will help to drive the water into the soil.

Water spray nozzles help to make the plant’s roots cool as the water nozzle keeps taking the water down.

Get an effective water nozzle to water your kale seedlings. With water spray with nozzle then you can water every day. 

When using water spray with nozzle, water the leaves to make the environment moist.

Expose Kale Seedlings To At Least 6 Hours Full Sunlight

The most delicate growth stage of kale is the seedling stage. At this point if proper care isn’t taken the plant will die.

You must know when to expose kale seedlings to sunlight and how many hours of sunlight they need to blossom.

Kale seedlings need full sunlight to remain healthy. Full sunlight produces enough photosynthesis, which kale uses to convert solar energy into chemical energy. 

Kale seedling uses the chemical energy to break down nutrients and absorb it to remain healthy.

Since kale is a heavy feeder, it needs more sunlight to derive a lot of photosynthesis for better absorption of nutrients.

The full sunlight helps to dry off water from the soil that could have caused water log. Exposing kale seedlings into full sunlight makes the plant blossom.

When the weather conditions is extremely cold, kale seedlings need more full sunlight to help make the weather warm.

Even though the plant is a cold weather crop, it needs the soil to be a little bit warm for the roots not to rot. 

Extremely cold weather with excess soil moisture causes roots rot. To avoid this, you expose the plant into full sunlight to keep the weather warm.

The full sunlight produces chlorophyll that makes kale leaves green. The more you expose kale seedlings into full sunlight the more the leaves turn green.

The full sunlight enables the plant to absorb extraordinary chemicals that’s use to transform carbon dioxide and water to carbohydrates.

Kale seedlings need sunlight as much as they need water. Full sunlight makes the leaves stand and fresh at all times.

Without exposing the plant to full sunlight, it will hardly grow leaves let alone mature. The sunlight acts like cartalyst that breaks down the nutrient for better absorption.

During seedlings, kale needs a lot of full sunlight for a considerable time. The amount of full sunlight you expose the plant to the more it grows to be mature.

Use Organic Materials To Speed Up Kale Seedlings Growth Process

One of the easiest methods to speed up kale seedlings is the addition of organic materials to the soil.

From time to time, the addition of compost will make the kale seedlings blossom. Compost with moist soil increases the rate at which the plant speeds up its growth.

Compost works better when you mulch the soil. Because of mulch, the nutrients from the compost will gradually move down. Then kale retrieves the nutrients gradually by its roots.

Most times, you see some kale are more greenish in leaves than other kale. The cause of it is lack of enough compost.

You can’t over add compost to the soil. The more compost you supply the more kale becomes more healthy and strong.

The more nutrients kale absorbs the more it leaves become more greenish. Deficiency of nutrients causes mal-nutrition that results in the yellowishness of kale’s leaves.

Compost works well when you water the soil immediately with the addition of compost. You add compost directly on kale seedlings’ roots.

Placing compost directly on its roots doesn’t affect the plant growth. Rather, it will increase the rate at which plants speed up its growth.

The best way to make compost work is to apply it either early in the morning or late in the evening directly on kale’s base.

The essence of watering immediately when you add compost is to help drive down the nutrients. At that point instead of the compost to take time before the nutrient goes down it will not.

Water acts as the moving agent that helps to slowly move the nutrient down for kale’s roots to retrieve it gradually.

Apply 10-10-10 Fertilizer On Kale Seedlings Base

When buying fertilizer for kale seedlings pay attention to the inscription on the body. The code lets you know the amount of each component that makes up the fertilizer.

For example, fertilizer that has the code 10-10-10 fertilizer simply means the fertilizer contains 10% nitrogen, 10% phosphate and 10% potassium.

What this means is that kale seedlings need an equal amount of the 3 components that make up the fertilizer. 

The equal amount of the components will help to speed up kale seedlings growth to maturity. Also make the plants produce more leaves after each harvest.

When there is no compost, you can use fertilizer. Remember that kale, especially the seedlings, are highly sensitive organic materials.

That’s while not all fertilizer you can apply to speed up the growth. Only use fertilizer specially designed for cultivating kale. Not just cultivating kale but from the seedlings.

Fertilizer plays a major role in the growth and development of kale from seedling stage to maturity stage.

During kale seedling, fertilizer makes the roots develop faster and produce more leaves. 

Unlike compost, careful not to over fertilize kale. Too much fertilizer destroys the plants. Instead of the fertilizer to speed up its growth too much of it will rather retard the growth.

Morealso, application of the wrong fertilizer makes kale not to grow as it expected to grow. Therefore, you need to know the exact fertilizer to apply at each stage of kale’s growth.

Some kale seedlings experience delay in growth because of the application of wrong fertilizers. 

If you apply fertilizer with code number 10-5-10 that stands for 10% nitrogen, 5% phosphate and 10% potassium will not speed up the growth. However, they’ll still grow and mature but not as it’s expected.

A well balanced fertilizer will speed kale seedlings to grow faster than not balanced fertilizer. Unbalance fertilizer with code number 10-5-10 is better on kale that is already matured.

You can apply 10-5-10 fertilizer to matured kale after each harvest. Such fertilizer will make the plant grow new leaves and also to remain healthy. 

When kale is matured it doesn’t need much phosphate as much as it needs nitrogen and potassium. The two major components that it needs during harvest is potassium and nitrogen. 

Fertilizer with code number 10-10-10 will just work well for kale seedlings. It makes the roots develop easily, while the stem becomes more strong.

Apply Fertilizer ½ Inch Distance Away From Kale Base

When it comes to other organic materials, you can apply directly on kale’s base. But for fertilization, give some distance to the base before you apply.

Direct application of fertilizer on the base causes roots’ rot. But when the fertilizer is a bit far from the base, the plant is able to derive the nutrient from it.

Fertilizer will not only cause roots to rot but also burn the stem. The chemical composition of fertilizer is too high. That’s why you need to know the distance between the plant base. 

After application of fertilizer from ½ inch distance from the base, water the plant after 10 minutes of application.

Water will help to drive down the nutrient for kale’s roots to absorb. The more you water with a spray that has nozzle the more kale takes the nutrient.

If you don’t have solid fertilizer, you can apply water-soluble products. The water-soluble will serve as fertilizer to help the plant to grow faster.

Follow the manufacturer’s instructions on the water-soluble before you apply. The instructions will tell you how much water-soluble you need to apply for  each garden or planting pot.

Most times 1 pound of water-soluble can cover an area of 100 square feet. You can either apply a lower quantity than this instead of increasing.

Don’t worry when the water-soluble touches kale leaves. It helps to repel insects that destroy the leaves. 

Application of the water-soluble immediately kale is harvested to help to prepare the crop for next growth.

The water-soluble made available a lot of nutrients for the plants to regrow new leaves for next season harvest.

Kale Seedlings: Common Pests And Diseases

Seedlings growing stage of kale can easily be infected with disease and pests. Because at this growing stage, the plant’s stem and roots are still delicate and soft.

Knowing the types of pests and diseases that are common with kale seedlings is better to get prepared before they’re affected.

Just like other brassica pests and diseases, the way kale suffers but not in an extreme way. 

However, since pests and diseases affect kale’s growth, therefore you need to prevent the crop from being diseased on time before it happens. 

Here are the most common pests and diseases with kale seedlings:

  • Cabbage loopers
  • Cabbage root fly 
  • Aphids
  • Cabbageworm
  • Harlequin Bugs
  • Flea beetles

Cabbageworm

Cabbage Worm is a green worm that chews kale’s leaves. Any kale leaves that Cabbage worm chew will turn yellow the next day. 

Control

You can prevent this by spraying water on the leaves in the morning and evening. Also remove the affected leaves to prevent further spread.

Cabbage root fly

Cabbage root fly is thinning small grey flies. It lays eggs at the base of kale seedlings and hatch into maggots, which go down to eat the t plant roots.

Control

The best way to prevent the fly from eating up your kale’s root is to cover your kale with bionet (micromesh). The covering will stop the fly from laying eggs.

Aphids

Aphids are usually clusters around kale. They feed on kale much more than any other crop. 

Prevention 

You can prevent Aphids from destroying your kale by spraying organic insecticide soap. Aphids cause kale leaves to fold inside and turn yellow. Once you notice such leaves pluck it off from the plant.

Conclusion

The faster way to harvest kale is when you provide the crop maximum care during the seedling stage.

Kale seedlings’ growing stage is vulnerable to pests and diseases. Therefore you need to provide optimum care to ensure the plant isn’t damaged.

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