Probably our favourite kale in the Grow Sow Greener gardens. This exceptional heirloom and open-pollinated variety dates back to Scotland in the 1860s. Its dwarfing habit, growing to 45cms, and delicate, succulent and finely curled leaves, combined with its versatility and ease of growing, has made it a favourite here in the UK and worldwide. Cold hardy and productive, you can expect to harvest Dwarf Blue-Green Curled Kale throughout the winter as well as the summer months, making it a must-have for the balcony container or the market garden!
- Pack size: 100 seeds
- Time to germination: 7 - 14 days
- When to sow: March-August
- When to plant out: June - September
- Spacing: 45cm
- Soil preference: Fertile, firm and moisture retentive
- Light preference: Full sun, part shade
- When to harvest: Year-round
How to grow Dwarf Blue Green Curled Kale 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, particularly kale, so avoid root disturbance by burying the coco pot with the plant. The roots will easily penetrate the walls for a faster establishment.
Once growing, Dwarf Blue-Green Curled Kale needs little attention. Water during dry periods, remove yellowing leaves and weed early on. Kale will then quickly shade these 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 they 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 before transplanting. Use a good mix of rotten farmyard manure for nitrogen, fish, blood and bone meal with some volcanic rock dust and kelp powder to give them a rich, balanced and diverse diet, released over the season for strong organic growth.
Keeping pests away
Compared to others in the brassica family (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 young plant, 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 using physical exclusion or by scatter planting single kale plants in different garden areas.
Bacillus thuringiensis is a natural soil born bacteria that is 100% safe for insects, bees, fish and other aquatic organisms and mammals, including humans. Diluted in water and sprayed onto the underside of your 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.
Instead, encourage birds, hedgehogs and toads to take up residence, as they are all voracious predators of snails and slugs. If possible, provide a water source, shelter and winter food for birds as well. When ordering Dwarf Blue-Green Curled Kale seeds from Grow Sow Greener, you will receive free sunflower seeds loose in the pack which are beautiful plants in their own right. Plant a handful into a sunny corner to attract beneficial insects during the summer months, and then their seed heads will provide a great source of food for your overwintering feathered friends.