Kale

Ornamental kaleKale is a dark-green leafy vegetable that can be grown during the winter months in Florida. It's often referred to as a "superfood" because it's rich in iron, calcium, and vitamins A, C, and K.

Characteristics

Kale has one of the sweetest flavors of all the leafy greens, making it a popular vegetable to grow. The leaves can be harvested as needed, providing you with a steady supply of healthy greens.

Kale adds a big nutritious boost to fruit smoothies. You can even bake the leaves to make crispy kale chips, turning them into a nutritious but satisfying snack food.

Because kale is attractive and cold tolerant, it's often sold in pots at garden centers as a winter ornamental. Just keep in mind that ornamental varieties aren't always as tasty for eating.

Planting and Care

Kale (Brassica oleracea L.) can be started from seed anytime from September through January or February. Be sure to plant it in a sunny spot and water regularly. To ensure success, pick Florida-friendly varieties like ‘Vates Dwarf Blue Curled’, ‘Tuscan’, ‘Winterbor’, and ‘Redbor’. ‘Tuscan Kale’, also known as ‘Lacinato’, ‘Dinosaur’ or ‘Black Kale’, is a particularly delicious and easy to grow variety.

Kale is not a terribly particular plant and it thrives in a wide range of soils. See the Florida Vegetable Gardening Guide for more detailed instructions. Leaves can be picked individually as they become ready to use about 70 – 80 days when starting from seed or 55 days when starting with transplants.

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