Kale ‘Scarlet’ is an open-pollinated, curly variety, boasting decorative dark green, purple/red-veined leaves, which progressively turn a frilly deep scarlet as the temperature drops. A healthy, tender and tasty variety with excellent winter hardiness, providing even the limited space grower succulent greens throughout the winter months. This is a beautiful, ornamental, and very edible kale to include in your garden or planter!
- Pack size: 100 seeds
- Time to germination: 7 - 14 days
- When to sow: March – August
- When to plant out: April - September
- Spacing: 50cm
- Soil preference: Fertile, firm, moisture retentive
- Light preference: Full sun, part shade
- When to harvest: September - February
How to grow Kale Scarlet from seed
Kale is best sown in 3cm coco pots rather than directly in the bed. Poke a hole 1cm deep and sow two seeds, gently covering and watering in. Kale germinates anywhere between 5 and 30 degrees, so room temperature is sufficient.
Place pots on a windowsill or under grow lights to establish and bulk up, then thin to one plant and transplant outside when they are 10cm or have 5 or 6 leaves. This is usually 6 weeks after sowing. All plants suffer transplant shock, however kale somewhat more so. Avoid root disturbance by burying the coco pot with the plant, and the roots will easily penetrate the walls for a faster establishment.
Once growing, Scarlet Kale needs little attention. Water during dry periods, remove yellowing leaves and weed early on. As it grows, kale quickly shades weeds out.
Harvest this easy-going leafy green as a microgreen, baby leaf or when mature. As a general rule of thumb, the smaller leaves are more tender than larger ones, so aim to harvest when they’re the size of your hand.
To ensure your kale grows back all season long, pick the lowest largest leaves first and avoid the central bud. Always leave enough foliage, so the plant has the means to regrow as well!
What to feed your kale plants
All kales are heavy feeders, yet will tolerate less fertile soils. It is said that aphids are attracted to weaker plants, and growth is faster and larger if well fed, so we suggest amending the area prior to transplanting. Do so with a good mix of rotten farmyard manure for nitrogen, and fish, blood and bone meal. Add some volcanic rock dust and kelp powder to give them a rich, balanced and diverse diet released over strong organic growth over the season.
Keeping pests away
Compared to others in the brassica family, such as cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli and so on, kale suffers slightly less from pests and diseases, although they aren’t without predators.
Garden pests enjoy kale seedlings, and as such we recommend starting them off indoors and under lights to ensure a compact, healthy seedling which is large and sturdy enough to survive an encounter with a slug or pigeon.
The other pest worth a mention is the caterpillar. Pleasant white butterflies dance around your summer plot, dipping onto brassicas to lay their eggs. Their offspring can decimate a crop if left unchecked. If you have a healthy resident bird population, these are less of a problem. Limit infestations by means of physical exclusion or scatter plant single kale plants in different garden areas.
Bacillus thuringiensis is a natural soil born bacteria 100% safe to insects, bees, fish and other aquatic organisms and mammals including humans. Diluted in water and sprayed onto the underside of your Scarlet Kale leaves, it is deadly to caterpillars. While this organic remedy works effectively, we recommend avoiding planting kale in blocks and rows to keep this easy-going veg low maintenance. Grow Sow Greener is a regenerative gardening company advocating back to the roots tried and tested methods. We don’t recommend the use of or sell any extremely profitable pesticides, herbicides or inorganic fertilizers. They are detrimental to the health of your entire garden ecosystem from microbe to mammal.
Alternatively, encourage birds, hedgehogs and toads to take up residence, as they are all voracious predators of snails and slugs. Ideally, provide a water source, shelter and winter food for birds. When ordering Scarlet Kale seeds from Grow Sow Greener, you will receive free sunflower seeds loose in the pack. Plant a handful into a sunny corner to attract beneficial insects during the summer months, whilst their seed heads provide a great source of food for your overwintering feathered friends.