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  • Sowing Method: Direct
  • Plant Type: Vegetable

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Gardening Tips

Kale Sowing Instructions
Planting Depth
: ¼”-1/2"
Row Spacing: 18”-24”
Seed Spacing: 2”-4”
Days to Germination: 5-10 days
Germination Temperature: 45°-75°F

This leafy member of the Brassica family prefers cool weather for optimal growth. Start Kale in the spring as soon as the soil can be worked or in late summer for fall and winter harvest. You can grow Kale in partial shade as long as it gets at least 4 hours of mid-day sunlight. When growing as individuals, thin to 12" to 16" apart. Or, broadcast seed to harvest in the “cut and come again” method. Kale prefers well-draining, moderately fertile soil amended with compost and/or wellrotted manure. Seedlings thrive in evenly moist soil and enjoy occasional supplemental feedings of organic fertilizer. Hardy and pest-resistant, Kale becomes more tender and sweet after being kissed by frost. Harvest large leaves by cutting them at the base, leaving the plant to keep producing. Harvest as “cut and come again” greens when plants reach a height between 3" to 6".

A Boost For Brassicas
Kale and other leafy Brassica crops such as Cabbage, Broccoli, Arugula and Tatsoi all benefit from an extra dose of nitrogen. Forgo the chemical sources and look for what nature has put together for you. Aflalfa meal, blood meal, crab meal, soybean meal and cottonseed meal - these are all great nitrogen sources. The best time to give the crops their dose of "Vitamin N" is in early spring, at planting time. Follow the directions on the bag for the correct amount and work the product into the top 3" to 4" of soil. Then, put in your transplants or seeds and water thoroughly. Healthy, dark green leaves will be your report card and your reward.

Hail to the Hardy Greens
Most garden greens can hardly wait for cool weather to come. They perk up and sweeten up as the mugginess of August fades away. Crops such as Spinach, Arugula, Claytonia and Mâche, if protected by a cold frame or simple unheated greenhouse, survive the winter in cold climates, to be cut and re-cut for a continuous harvest. Sow them in September in the north, October in warmer parts of the country. They do best hunkering down, close to the earth. Lettuce and Endive over-winter best when cut at baby leaf size rather than full-sized heads.

Kale, Collards and Brussels Sprouts fare better if grown to full size and left outdoors to soldier on as long as they can, since they do not re-grow if cut back in winter. We can often harvest them for our Christmas table, even in snowy Maine.

Everyone's Delicious Darling: Kale

Shade Tolerance
Kohlrabi Sowing Instructions
Planting Depth
:1/4”-1/2”
Row Spacing:12”
Plant Spacing:6”
Days to Germination:5-14 days
Germination Temperature:45°-75°F

Plant this Brassica native of northern Europe in cool weather to enjoy its juicy-crisp texture, mild sweet taste and dramatic appearance. Kohlrabi prefers cool weather and moderately fertile, evenly moist soil. Amend bed with compost and/or well-rotted manure. Start transplants 4 to 6 weeks before planting outdoors, which should be done as soon as the soil can be worked. Or, direct-sow by spacing seed every 1" to 2". It grows best as a fall crop, planting up to 4 weeks before the first frost in the fall. Thin seedlings twice: first to 3" apart, then to 6" apart in each row. The thinned seedlings taste delicious steamed or used raw in salads. Harvest Kohlrabi on the small side (under 4" in diameter) for the best taste and crunch, using the leaves in soups or as a steamed side dish. Kohlrabi tolerates hard frost and is a most welcome addition to the fall table.

Krazy for Kohlrabi

Cooking Tip:
Kohlrabi Goes to Charm School

Kohlrabi is considered an “earthy” vegetable~if it is considered at all. I happen to love it boiled and mashed, in its robust peasant form. But allow me to introduce the Kohlrabi of the canapé tray. When young and tender it can be sliced into sweet, mild slivers and used instead of a cracker for dips, or to support a tasty daub of crabmeat.
Direct-Sow Basics

Lettuce Sowing Instructions
Planting Depth
: ¼”
Row Spacing: 12”-18”
Plant Spacing:12”
Days to Germination: 7-12 days
Germination Temperature: 45°-90°F

Lettuce prefers cool weather. To raise transplants, start seeds 5 to 8 weeks before setting out. Transplant out as soon as the soil can be worked. Sow thinly in flats or pots using sterilized starter mix, cover lightly and water. Provide light, moderate warmth and good ventilation. Avoid crowding: thin to 2" apart. Amend Lettuce beds with compost, organic fertilizer and/or well-rotted manure. Gradually acclimate seedlings to outdoor temperatures and moderate sunlight, water well at transplanting time, shade seedlings from scorching sun and protect from heavy frosts. Keep soil moist with regular watering and feed with a liquid fertilizer as needed. For “baby” greens, broadcast seed, harvesting leaves when 3" to 4" high with scissors. Make successive sowings every 2 weeks for continuous harvest.

Shade Tolerance