Hungry for fresh vegetables but no garden? We’ll show you how you can easily grow your own kale on your patio or balcony.
It is the winter vegetable par excellence – on cold days almost nothing tastes as good as a plate full of kale ( Brassica oleracea var. Sabellica ). But kale can do more than just taste delicious: it is a real vitamin C bomb and is relatively easy to cultivate. But what if you don’t have that much space? No problem. Kale can also be grown in a pot without any problems and fits on every balcony or terrace, no matter how small. So that your kale will soon sprout for you too, we will show you what you need to consider for successful pot cultivation.
1. Kale in the pot: choice of a variety
Are there no differences in kale? Thought wrong. In fact, there are numerous types of kale, some of which have extremely different properties. Therefore, you should think about beforehand which variety best suits your needs. For growing in pots, varieties that remain small, such as the lark tongue, are best. But other criteria also play a role: Winter hardiness, taste, and harvest time are just a few of them. If you like it very unusual, you can also bring some color into the bed – varieties such as “Scarlett” or “Redbor” vary between red and purple.
2. Kale in a pot: the right soil
The right soil is essential for kale – especially if it is to be grown in a pot. Since kale is one of the strong eaters, it is advisable to work the soil through with organic fertilizer. This guarantees a good supply of nutrients right from the start. The pH value should also be considered when choosing the soil: ideally, it should be between 6.5 and 8. If it is underneath, a little lime can simply be added to the earth to increase the pH. A pre-fertilized organic soil is ideal for kale, which is heavy consumers, as it provides them with nutrients right from the start.
3. Kale in a pot: the right location
As a winter vegetable, kale prefers to be a little colder. So who is surprised that the kale can’t stand the blazing midday sun? A partially shaded spot where the kale is not exposed to the midday heat is best for growing kale. If the kale gets too warm, it starts to shoot and becomes inedible. The kale also usually grows in the shade without any problems – it just takes a little longer.
4. Kale in the pot: plant kale
Kale is best grown in a large pot about 20 cm deep and 30 cm in diameter. Only one plant should be grown per pot – since cabbage is a heavy eater, the plants would otherwise dispute each other for nutrients. Several plants can only thrive in very large pots at the same time, because here too, each plant should have 30 cm of space to the next neighbor. It is best to grow a few seeds indoors from mid-May and move the strongest seedlings to the pots later. If that is too costly for you, you can also buy young plants in stores. However, the plants should have found their way into the pot by June at the latest.
5. Kale in the pot: water and fertilize
There is one thing the kale doesn’t like at all: lack of water. Especially in summer, you can watch the green vegetables grow. Accordingly, the kale also needs a lot of water to thrive optimally. To make matters worse, the water in the pot evaporates faster than in the open bed. Therefore, especially in midsummer, you should regularly check whether the kale needs water. As a rule of thumb, if the first centimeter of the soil is dry, the kale should be given some water.
The vigorous leafy vegetables are also very happy about fertilizers: It is best to use primarily organic fertilizers at regular intervals. Our Gardender organic tomato fertilizer is such a primarily organic fertilizer in granulate form. The organic fertilizer with long-term effect releases its nutrients over a period of three months to the kale and provides it with everything it needs sustainably.
6. Kale in the pot: the harvest
When to harvest kale, it varies from variety to variety. Some early varieties can be harvested as early as October, but in most cases, it is advisable to wait for the first frost. The frost increases the sugar content in the cabbage and it becomes milder in taste. You can cut the leaves of the kale individually with a sharp knife and harvest them as needed. Since many types of kale are extremely hardy, they can be harvested almost all winter long.
7. Kale in the pot: keep it
If you want to enjoy your kale not only in winter but also in summer, you have to somehow make it durable. Most people think of boiling right away. Although this method has a great advantage in that the kale has a very long shelf life, unfortunately, many vitamins and nutrients are also lost. The freezer is better for storing kale. Crushed, boiled in salted water for two to three minutes, and then frozen, the kale will keep for at least a year and stay healthy.
It’s not just kale that can be grown well in pots: we will introduce you to the best types of vegetables for pot culture.