Kale is highly nutritious, with large variety of vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients. An ideal, all-in-one vegetable to add to your regular diet. Phytonutrients containing sulfur help activate detoxifying enzymes, which act synergistically to remove potentially toxic/carcinogenic chemicals. Other phyotchemicals in crucifers, like glucosinolates, metabolize to isothiocyanates, which inhibit development of many cancer cells. Great for vision. Carotenoids, like lutein and zeaxanthin, along with beta-carotene and vitamins A and C, protect from damaging free radicals and ultraviolet light. Antioxidant action of vitamins A and C help boost immune system, protect blood vessels, reduce inflammation and protect epithelial cells (skin and lining of internal organs). Vitamin K with calcium enhances bone-forming processes and helps prevent bone loss. Trace mineral manganese, along with the B vitamins, helps metabolize sugars, carbohydrates, proteins and lipids to produce energy. Eating leafy vegetables has been shown to extend cognitive function for years longer among elders. Excellent source of fiber, which promotes healthy digestion and regulates cholesterol and blood sugar levels.
Vitamin and Mineral Content
Vitamins – K, A, C, B6 (Pyridoxine), E, B2 (Riboflavin), B1 (Thiamin), B9 (Folate) and B3 (Niacin)
Minerals – Manganese, Copper, Calcium, Potassium, Iron, Magnesium and Phosphorus
May play significant role in reducing symptoms or onset of cancers in ovaries, breast, colon, prostate, lung and bladder, plus cataracts, rheumatoid and osteoarthritis and cardiovascular disease.
How to Grow
A nutritious, hardy leaf vegetable that can grow in tough winters. Ask local nursery which varieties are best for your area. Choose semi-shady, moderately sheltered site. Soil pH should be near 6.8. Add lime, if needed. Amend soil by mixing in plenty of well-aged compost, manure or a planting mix rich in organic matter. Kale likes cooler weather but still grows in warmer climates during cooler months. In cooler areas, sow seeds outdoors in late spring for fall and winter harvesting. In warmer areas, sow seeds outdoors through early fall for late winter and spring harvests. Create shallow drills as long as desired, spacing each drill out by about 2.5 feet. Plant seeds half inch deep and 2 feet apart within rows. Cover with a thin layer of soil and water regularly. During growth, handpick or hoe out weeds out as they appear. Mulching helps deter weeds and holds in moisture. Harvest young and softer leaves from the center of the plant as needed, not all at once. Larger, tougher leaves are great for cooking.
Kale generally less susceptible to pests than other crucifers. See Broccoli, Brussels Sprouts and Cauliflower for general pest control. Others include cabbage root maggot¸ cabbage butterfly and club root. Cabbage root maggots can be stopped by applying small plastic or foam ground covers that tightly wrap around the base of seedlings. Butterfly can be stopped by hand picking caterpillar and rubbing eggs off leaves. Club root is an incurable soil disease that can last 10 years. The only way around it is to transplant well-developed, resistant seedlings. This allows plants to have acceptable yield but stops club root infection.
For continuous harvest, make successive sowings through start of growing seasons.