Red Russian Kale was introduced into America via Siberia by Russian traders in the 19th century. It is very frost resistant and has a distinctive sweet flavour compared to the other varieties.
Red Russian Kale is rich in the nutrients your body needs for its daily activities, containing more than 100 percent of your daily requirement of Vitamins A, C and E. It also contains 10 percent of your daily copper needs and 26 percent of your manganese.
Sun: Full Sun
Spacing: 12″ – 18″
Height: 18″ – 24″
Optimum Soil ph: 6.5-7.0
Sowing Method: Indoors or Outdoors
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.