Just seeded 45 Kale "dwarf blue curled" in.
Any hints/tips/tricks/experience with these?
Here is a link that might be useful: DFW Gardener
I would think it is a little late to plant winter garden seeds now.
Am I wrong, if so then I need to sow on the 15th.:-)
I start all my brassicas in cells. They're much more successful than direct sowing. Other than that, kale is pretty much a no-brainer. Even the cabbage loopers tend to go after my collards and broccoli before they do the kale. My Kale is also very slow to bolt(Starbor F1) compared to my collards. It's definitely one of the easiest veggies to grow and the harvest is non-stop for over a year.
As far as fert. and care:
Plenty of compost and then an occasional side dress of all purpose(organic or not) every couple months.
Pick larger outer leaves to encourage more growth(like spinach or chard).
If you see little white butterflies flying around, time to get out the Bt.
I don't know if you have cutworms, but they'll get the seedlings. What I do is put 2-3 toothpicks right next to the stalk of ANY of my transplants so the cutworms can't wrap around them and clip them at the base. By the time the toothpicks are decomposed, the plants have a large stalk.
Kale is one of the best brassicas to grow because you harvest the lower leaves and the plant just keeps growing and giving. An excellent resource for growing kale can be found at: http://alan-chadwick.org/html%20pages/techniques/garden_plants/veg_photos%203.html , which by the way includes some very good photographs. Top dressing with a layer of well rotted cow manure does wonders.
Here is a link that might be useful: Alan-Chadwick.org
I also planted that exact kale here in DFW. They were planted in pure composted horse manure. I planted them the end of August. I direct sowed 10 seeds and came out with 5 survivors. I have been harvesting them since September. I just sowed some Red Russian kale so hopefully they make it this winter. I have attached a picture of the kale from 9/22. The kale was about 3 weeks old then.
I also had disappointing germination, out of 45 seeds sowed I got 32 seedlings - about a 70% rate. And after about three weeks, they're only in the 3-4 inch range.
Give them time DFW. I have no idea who you plan on feeding with 32 Kale plants, but in the next month or 2, you'll be asking yourself why you planted SO much Kale.
Kale is a really easy crop to grow here in the deep south through the winter. Red Russian is my preferred variety, but I grow others too. For me, it works best to start seeds indoors (in as large a pot as is practical) where they benefit from the air conditioning and then set the plants outside when cooler fall weather arrives. With row covers, they will survive the entire winter here. (I am about the same latitude as Dallas.)
This year, I have planted Red Russian behind my pansies in my front door garden. As the weather cools, the leaves, stems, and veins turn purple and pink on the blue leaves. It's a beautiful plant.
Update on my kale.
I'm suspecting they're not going to get enough sun.
I've planted that variety about this time of year. It did really well. I had cutworms get some of them. I use part of a paper towel core. Cut it to about 2 inches high and press it in the ground after you plant your seeds. It will keep the cutworms out. My kale grew well for a year. It didn't mind warm temps. I did have a problem with aphids in the summer.
DFW, I looked at your video of yesterday. As you have probably figured by now, you sowed a bit late, early september is probably about right for your climate. Or, at that later date you could have seeded much more heavily to get more foliage mass. Still, you have kale, it looks pretty undamaged by insects, hopefully those trees will drop their leaves soon so that they don't get impacted by shade. In late winter those plants will put on good growth before running to seed.
Growing well, if a bit uneven
My first time at growing kale didn't go as planned, I blame poor soil mostly.
I think your kale looks pretty good considering how late you planted them. Just not much growth happens a month or so either side of the solstice. You can start harvesting the lower leaves now. Leave the growing tips and a few small leaves near the top of each plant and they will continue to produce now that the days are lengthening and the weather is warming up.
Yep. I agree with johnnycom. Harvest those bottom leaves. Too bad you have to use that space in the spring -- my guess, with harvest of the larger leaves and more and more sunshine, those things would take off this spring. You gotta harvest kale and collards though if you want them to keep producing
Not too sure if it was poor soil. My soil hasn't been exactly the greatest in the past and it thrived. I don't know what the ph was though.
A few questions and a few tips from a DFW gardner. How much light was the kale getting? It seems like it is in the shade during your video. I haven't performed my soil test yet but when I do I will add it here as I also live in DFW and do not have the stunted growth that you showed in your videos.
For the nitrogen think about possibly doing a green manure next winter. It covers the grown with beneficial plants that you till into the soil which helps to fix the nutrient levels without adding so many fertilizers and costs a lot less. I have included a link for more information on green manure.
Here is a link that might be useful: Green Manure
I did the soil test on my untouched ground. It was similar to yours except low phosphorus. I will let you know once I test one of my compost beds with the different results.