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College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences


Kale: An Easy-to-Grow and Tasty Vegetable



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What vegie contains TONS of good “stuff” and is easy to grow?!

And are you anxious to get started on your garden this spring? Here's a great idea for the serious vegetable gardener – start your seedlings indoors before it’s time to plant outside.

Kale is a terrific (and tasty!) plant to start your early garden prep. The seeds are fairly inexpensive, and they germinate rapidly and mature quickly. Seedlings can then be planted outside as a transplant or grown entirely inside (easy to harvest with scissors).

Check out Tim's easy tips and tricks for getting strong kale seedlings started  but keep in mind that many of your garden vegie favorites can also be started indoors.

A Recipe for Success
Start with a few basic supplies: sterile seed-starting soilless mix; pots – for example, small-cell six-packs from a local garden center; water; a good overhead light.

Put soilless mix into the pot/pack cells. Lightly dampen the mix before adding two to three seeds per cell/pot. Sprinkle a little soil over the top of the seed in the pot, then mist with more water.

After the seeds sprout, thin to one seedling per cell/pot. Pick the strongest looking seedlings and keep treating them to adequate light and water. Before long, you’ll have small healthy plants you can transplant outdoors or continue to grow inside to harvest for your own salad addition, make into kale chips, etc.

Not only is kale easy to grow, it's a nutrient-dense food. It contains Vitamin A, Vitamin K, Vitamin C, Vitamin B6, Manganese, Calcium, Copper:, Potassium, and Magnesium. Kale is also full of antioxidants, and it can help lower cholesterol, which may reduce the risk of heart disease. It also contains many cancer-fighting substances.

Kale chips are a crunchy snack that are easy to make, full of vitamins, calcium, iron, and fiber and are a delicious way to enjoy your harvest. Check out Tim McDermott and Jenny Lobb's short fun video that shows you how to Crunch on Kale.

And here's a few more fun facts about how Kale can be a crunchy, healthy snack, courtesy of Chow Line from the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences.

This recipe is time-tested and can be a great side dish for Thanksgiving or any other meal: a recipe courtesy of Ohio State for a tasty Kale and Bacon Tart.

We have many free fact sheets available on Ohioline. Check out these resources for additional information about kale and other garden greens. 

Kale is actually pretty easy to store and keep well. Check out Chef Katie McCurdy from The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center as she shares How to Clean, Prep, and Store Fresh Kale.

There's always something to learn! Ohioans with an interest in specialty crops (such as kale and other vegetables) are invited to participate in an upcoming virtual listening session on Friday, March 25. The morning session will feature CFAES researchers and OSU Extension educators with updates on priorities, existing support for specialty crops, and research and education.The free event is sponsored by CFAES, and participants should register online no later than March 24 at