Want to grow kale indoors? It’s not as difficult or time-consuming as you might think. You can harvest fresh, organic kale year-round with the right growing conditions!
Kale has become a popular choice for leafy greens vegetable due to its tremendous nutritional value.
This blog post covers all you need to know about kale grown indoors, including:
- What kind of growing conditions do you need to grow organic kale
- How long does it take from starting seeds until harvesting kale
- growing tips and tricks
What are the benefits of kale grown indoors?
There are many reasons why growing your own organic superfoods is beneficial for you, the environment, and the local economy.
- You’ll save money growing your veggies at home.
- Growing vegetables indoors is an eco-friendly lifestyle choice since you’re not using land or water that would otherwise go unused! This reduces unnecessary pollution caused by transporting produce over long distances.
- Growing organic kale at home ensures you don’t consume harmful chemicals or pesticides.
- You’ll be growing a superfood when you’ll decide to grow kale! Kale contains iron, calcium, vitamin C, magnesium, fiber, potassium, and antioxidants – just for starters! The health benefits of kale are amazing:
- help with digestion
- prevent cancer
- improve heart health
- boost cognitive function
- strengthen bones & teeth
- manage diabetes
- The list goes on!
- And for something delicious: Making kale chips, smoothies, and added to salads 🙂
Growing kale indoors from seedlings with the right growing conditions and a little patience is not difficult.
What Type of Kale Should You Grow?
There are many different types of kale (botanical name: Brassica oleracea), each with its own growing requirements. Here are some of the most popular varieties to grow indoors:
Lacinato kale goes by several names, including dinosaur kale, Tuscan kale, black kale, and cavolo nero (Italian for “black cabbage”).
The leaves of this plant are dark green and large, known for a strong earthy flavor and chewy texture.
Red Russian Kale
Goes best with salads and has a high calcium and Vitamin C content.
This variety does best growing through the winter months so that by springtime, they’ll start growing quickly again outside. You may need to start this type of kale inside first, then transplant it into your greenhouse once winter is over.
Chinese Kale / Gai Ian
It’s leafy with flat leaves and a tiny blossom. It is delicious when cooked and even resembles broccoli in flavor.
Baby kale is growing in popularity, and you can grow it indoors by starting it inside first. This type of kale loves growing on a sunny window with direct sunlight exposure for at least four hours per day – the more light available to your plants, the faster they’ll grow! Baby kale is different from other varieties of kale because it’s ready to harvest and eat much sooner than other varieties of kale.
Increasing in popularity as well, and growing it indoors with enough sunlight is easy. It has a peppery, cabbage like-flavor that can become quite bitter when overcooked.
Be prepared for lots of tall plants growing upwards! Mature kale plants can grow up to four feet tall, so ensure there are no ceiling obstructions above the area where you plan to grow it. It will need around three hours of direct sunlight per day to produce its best leaves. Curly kale is also the best type for making kale chips!
How long does it take to grow kale indoors?
Kale plants mature, on average, after about two months from seedlings. However, this time may vary depending on the type of kale you want to grow.
For example, baby kale growing indoors will take about 40 days to grow from seedlings to produce tender leaves that taste great raw!
Seeds germinate in around five days – make sure you keep the soil moist while they’re growing!
Some kale varieties are best grown in the winter months. However, planting kale indoors during this time of year will take them longer to mature, producing two or three times slower than growing outside!
If you’re looking for a quick turnaround on your kale plants – starting them inside under grow lights is the way to go!
When Should You Start Growing Kale Indoors?
When growing kale indoors, it’s essential to know when is the best time for starting seeds. Ideally, you should start six weeks before your last frost date.
The further away you live from the equator, the earlier you should start growing it. So that is during the wintertime growing season from October through March.
You can start growing your indoor kale plants as early as January. This will give your indoor garden enough time to produce tender leaves by springtime!
This will also give them enough time to mature outdoors by summertime once temperatures reach above 40 °F consistently outside (you can also grow kale in a greenhouse).
If your growing conditions aren’t ideal for young plants – don’t worry! Just ensure they get plenty of sunlight and water since this helps speed up their growth process.
What Growing Conditions Do You Need to Grow Kale Indoors?
You’ll want to ensure you give growing kale your best effort by providing the right conditions, such as temperature and growing space.
Cold temperatures can slow down growing kale plants substantially. This is why it’s essential to pick the right growing location for growing yours indoors!
Kale houseplant needs to be kept warm, with temperatures between 65-75°F for best results!
For germination, kale needs temperatures between 75-80°F. The warmer your growing conditions are, the faster seeds will germinate and grow into solid seedlings!
Ensure your kale plant gets enough light daily, even if the sun doesn’t shine directly on it! Kale grown outdoors will need at least six hours of direct sunlight each day to produce healthy-looking leaves free of yellow spots or other discolorations.
This can be difficult when growing in a greenhouse or enclosed space without grow lights. Therefore, the best way to grow kale indoors is with LED lights set up directly above it.
This method helps when you start growing kale indoors to produce healthy leaves faster than growing in sunlight through a south-facing window alone!
If you’re using grow lights, keep kale plants around 2-5 inches away at all times for best results.
Kale needs moist soil at all stages of growth when microgreens are growing up with suitable drainage holes, which means using quality potting mix instead of garden soil.
Ensure you water your kale houseplant with at least one inch per week or when the soil dries out to keep the plant strong and growing quickly!
If growing outdoors with other vegetables during summertime, don’t let it dry out completely. Otherwise, the leaves will turn brown at the tips.
Ensure you have plenty of room to grow your kale plants in pots or containers. You can use any growing container with good drainage that fits at least four inches of soil.
Mature leaves need at least twelve inches of space around each plant during the growing season for best results. So make sure you have plenty of space between each seedling so they can access the ample sunlight needed to thrive as microgreens!
This also helps prevent developing kale diseases, which most commonly develop in growing conditions with lots of moisture and close-growing spaces.
Smaller varieties like baby kale only require around eight inches per pot/container. In comparison, larger types like Russian Red may need up to twenty-four inches of growing kale in pots.
How do you grow and harvest kale?
Growing kale indoors is all about getting the right kale seeds for your growing environment! This means finding reputable seed companies that sell high-quality kale varieties adapted to indoor growing conditions.
How Do You Germinate Kale Seeds?
Starting seeds that are already sprouting is the best way to get a jump-start on growing healthy kale plants. However, you don’t have to soak seeds before planting in containers/pots if you start from seeds. However, it does help speed up germination!
So here’s the process just to make it easy:
- Fill small containers or pots halfway full of growing medium. A potting mix is a more cost-effective solution for growing indoors! You can also use seed trays or similar growing containers.
- Decide how many kale plants you want to grow. Place the kale seeds slightly under the growing medium, about a half-inch deep, and cover them with the growing medium.
- Water it thoroughly until all excess liquid drains out from the holes at the bottom.
- You can use a seedling heat mat to keep seedlings warm until they sprout, then move them under grow lights or into direct sunlight as soon as their first true leaves emerge from the soil!
How big should kale seedlings be before transplanting?
Kale growing indoors will be ready to start growing outdoors when they have their first true leaves. This means seedlings should be around four inches tall before transplanting into larger pots.
How do you prune kale?
Pruning kale is a huge part of growing healthy and productive plants!
Sometimes, kale can grow too big for its container or get damaged by pests like aphids. Don’t feel bad about cutting parts off the plant to keep it growing well when this happens.
As long as there are still some leaves on the stem that haven’t started turning yellow yet, your plant will survive. Here are some pruning tips to help:
- If your kale plant is too big for its pot, trim the stems with a sharp pair of scissors to help kale plants stay small.
- Cutting kale leaves down to the base will also encourage new growth at the center and increase overall production! Just ensure you’re not cutting growing tips that still produce energy for your plant’s entire system. A certain way to tell kale tips from leaves is to look at the shape of your cutting. Kale tips have sharp pointy ends, while kale leaves usually get rounder and fatter as they grow larger!
When is it ready to harvest?
Kale harvesting seasons depend on what type of kale plant you have selected! Growers typically start harvesting baby types around 30-45 days after planting them in pots/containers indoors, while larger varieties like Russian Red may take up to 90 days.
How many times can you harvest growing kale?
This is another growing kale question with a simple answer: you can harvest growing kale as long as the leaves are firm and green, which means they haven’t started turning yellow or brown yet!
Usually, around two months of total growing time inside containers/pots is enough to produce four batches of microgreen crops using this method before killing the plant entirely!
To conclude, growing kale indoors is easy as long as you have the right growing conditions and keep your seedlings healthy from start to finish!