There is nothing worse than settling down in the kitchen to make some sautéed greens, only to miss out on kale. While it's easy to just grab some from the supermarket, it's also fun to have kale growing at home to harvest. If you've wondered if you can grow kale from cuttings, we've looked into this topic and we've got all the answers for you.
If you bought kale that has been freshly picked from the supermarket, you have a higher chance of propagating them. From a mature kale plant, look for plantlets on the main stem and carefully pluck them from the node. Prepare a pot and plant the stem directly on some potting compost. Keep moist until new roots grow.
There are also other ways that you can grow kale from cuttings. They are great to plant at home because they can easily be harvested and in this post, we will be talking more about how you can propagate them. Keep reading because we will also be discussing how you can harvest kale from the comfort of your home.
How To Grow Kale From Grocery Store Cuttings
Kale is a green leafy vegetable that is known for its health benefits and nutrients. It's a great vegetable to cook with and you can have it anywhere from salads to stir-fries. With nutrients like Vitamins A, K, B6, and C, calcium, potassium, manganese, and copper, it is no surprise that kale has found its way to the dinner table.
It is only in recent years that kale has grown in popularity. It used to be only sold in farmer's markets, but you can now generally find kale in your local grocery stores. Kale is usually sold in bunches or pre-washed and trimmed at your local supermarket. However, getting a freshly picked bunch can be quite beneficial for you.
There are a number of vegetables that can be grown from kitchen scraps and cuttings, provided that they are fresh vegetables. Although it is easier to grow kale by propagating them from seeds, you can still re-grow them from fresh grocery store cuttings.
If you manage to get your hands on a bunch of freshly picked kale, you should be able to propagate from plantlet cuttings. All you'll need is a pot, some potting compost, a shovel, and your freshly picked plantlets.
From the main stem of your kale bunch, carefully pluck the plantlets by the node. You can dip the end of your plantlet with some rooting hormone to encourage growth, but it's not really necessary. Place the plantlet in the center of your potting compost and water thoroughly every day. In about 25 days, new roots should develop on your kale plant.
How To Grow Kale From A Main Stem
Alternatively, you can also grow kale from the main stem itself. You'll need a full branch of mature kale, some sharp garden shears, potting medium, and seedling trays.
From the thick main stem of your kale, take note of the nodes. Cut above and between the nodes, in as many sections as you can get from one stem. Place these nodes in some potting media separated in the seedling trays and keep them watered and damp. These little cuttings will do better with greenhouse lids, but you should be able to see new roots after a few weeks.
Will Kale Re-grow After Picking?
One of the best things about planting kale is that it is a cut-and-come-again vegetable. This means that kale will grow back and regenerate itself if you harvest them carefully. This makes kale a great vegetable to plant at home because you don't have to keep replanting them to have a steady supply.
In order to get bunches of kale multiple times, you have to harvest the oldest leaves first. These leaves can be found on the outermost part of the plant. To harvest them, use sharp, sterilized shears and clip the leaves along with the stems. Keep doing this method and your kale will continuously regenerate for more harvests.
How Many Times Can I Harvest Kale?
There is actually no limit as to how many times you can harvest from your kale plant. As long as you harvest the old leaves first and avoid picking the central bud, your kale plant will keep growing big beautiful leaves that you can enjoy for your meals. The key is to always follow the correct harvesting procedures.
There are two types of kale that you can typically harvest from your plant. Mature and baby greens can be harvested from a plant, but they have to be harvested at different times. Both types will keep your kale plant regenerating new leaves with correct harvesting.
If you plan on picking mature kale leaves, you may pick them 60 days after the last harvest. Baby greens on the other hand can be picked 25 to 30 days after they are sown. Don't over-pick your kale plant's baby greens because it can make your plant die—just make sure to get enough every once in a while.
What Are The Types Of Kale?
If you are new to this vegetable, a lot of people will typically point you to a bunch of dark green, large leafy vegetables whenever you look for kale. However, you'll be surprised to know that there are quite a number of kale types and you can plant most of them at home.
Kale is mostly edible, but you might also find some varieties that are meant for ornamental use. For the purpose of this article, we will focus on edible varieties that you can cook and serve during meals.
For newbies, curly kale is typically the first variant you'll commonly see in supermarkets. The leaves of this variety are curly and ruffled, and you'll sometimes find them in bunches that almost look like bouquets. This variety is mild-flavored and it's a great way to introduce first-time eaters to kale.
Curly kale is a great ingredient to add to pestos, green smoothies, salads, or even chips. In the supermarket, the most common variety of curly kale that you'll find is the 'Winterbor'— a classic green curly leafed kale. You might also find a 'Redbor' variety which looks a little similar, but it comes in a deep burgundy or purple color.
Lacinato kale or otherwise known as Tuscan or Dinosaur kale is another popular type of kale that you can find in the supermarket. It has elongated leaves that are deep blue-green in color, and most cooks and foodies agree that it has a slightly sweet taste and it is less bitter than curly kale.
There are a few variants of the Dinosaur kale, most of them typically used in sautées, pizzas, or as toppings. This type of kale is popular in Italian cuisine, so do look for this type if you are cooking Italian food. The most common Lacinato kale that you'll typically find is called 'Black Magic' and it has been a farmer's staple for many years.
Flat Leaf Kale
Flat leaf kale or Russian kale has frilly leaves that are tender when eaten. This type of kale is exceptionally sweeter than its other counterparts, and you will often see them as a fall crop. Russian kale also has a slightly peppery taste which is why this variant has become a favorite for salad and sandwich enthusiasts.
Just like the other types of kale, flat leaf kale comes in different varieties and colors. Common ones that you'll find in the supermarket is the 'Red Russian' which has reddish stems. You might also find some 'Siberian kale' which is milder and sweeter than other varieties.
Baby Kale or Microgreens
Technically speaking, all varieties of kale produce babies or microgreens. If you plant your own kale at home, you can harvest these microgreens before they completely mature—roughly 25 to 30 days after you've sown them. However, you can't harvest too much of these microgreens from your kale plants because doing so might kill them.
If you do have a lot of kale plants growing at home, you should be able to harvest a good amount of microgreens at one point in time. Unfortunately, you'll have to head to the supermarket if you need lots of these because some kale farms have perfected their breeding efforts for baby kale production.
Kale is a very nutritious vegetable that you can have all year round if you manage to propagate and plant them at home. With fresh vegetables always available in the local supermarkets, you should be able to find beautiful kale bunches with healthy mature stems for replanting. Grow them and you'll have delicious greens in your kitchen all the time.
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