Dwarf Siberian Kale, as the name implies, originated in Russia. This is a very strong, easy to grow, tasty variety of heirloom, open-pollinated kale. The leaves of this variety are only slightly frilled, and are very high quality. The plants grow to a maximum height of 16″, making them perfect for small spaces.
Kale is very high in beta carotene, vitamin K, vitamin C, and rich in calcium. Kale is a source of two carotenoids, lutein and zeaxanthin. Kale, as with broccoli and other brassicas, contains sulforaphane (particularly when chopped or minced), a chemical with potent anti-cancer properties. Boiling decreases the level of sulforaphane; however, steaming, microwaving, or stir frying do not result in significant loss. Along with other brassica vegetables, kale is also a source of indole-3-carbinol, a chemical which boosts DNA repair in cells and appears to block the growth of cancer cells. Kale has been found to contain a group of resins known as bile acid sequestrants, which have been shown to lower cholesterol and decrease absorption of dietary fat. Steaming significantly increases these bile acid binding properties.
Sun:6 hours of daily sun light
Optimum Soil ph:5.5 to 6.8
Days To Maturity:63-65 days
Plant Growing Tips:
Kale prefers cool temperatures and will be sweetened by a touch of frost. Optimal soil temperature is 60 – 65 degrees F. Hot weather turns kale bitter.
Kale plants like to grow in a rich soil, high in organic matter and slightly acidic (5.5 – 6.5 pH). You’re growing it for the foliage, so a high nitrogen content is good.
Kale can be direct seeded in the garden or started indoors and set out as transplants. Start plants indoors about 6 weeks before your last expected frost date. Kale seeds germinate quickly in warm soil and should be up within 5 – 8 days.
Transplant seedlings after danger of frost. Set plants out with about 16″ spacing between plants. This gives them room to spread out and still allows for air circulation.
You can direct seed in cold climates, in the spring, as soon as the soil can be worked and the soil temperature is at least 45 degrees F. Kale matures quickly, in about 2 months or less, so if you prefer you can start your plants later or even plant multiple crops in succession. In warm climates, kale can be direct seeded in late summer / early fall, as well as in the spring. A winter crop of kale in warmer climates can be much sweeter than a summer crop.
Cover seeds with about ½ inch of soil and don’t allow the seeds to dry out before germinating. Plants will grow more slowly outdoors than indoors under lights.