Kale has become an increasingly popular choice of leafy greens in the last decade. And why not? This nutrient-dense veggie pairs well with almost every meal. Sandwiches, pizza, pastas, soups, smoothies \u2013 you name it \u2013 you can integrate kale into all of them.\u00a0\nAnd while it\u2019s fun to eat kale throughout the year, it doesn\u2019t grow well outdoors in many places. It\u2019s a cool-season vegetable that can typically handle some frost in its adult form, but areas with more extreme cold weather temperatures aren\u2019t always ideal for growing kale.\nInstead of worrying about the time of year to plant kale, grow your own inside! You don\u2019t have to worry about planting after the last frost. And if you live in a city or somewhere with less outdoor gardening space, growing kale indoors can be the perfect solution. These plants are surprisingly easy to grow inside, they can be a great way to supplement your grocery budget, and their many-shaded leaves can be the perfect accent for any home.\nLet\u2019s dive into the exciting world of growing kale indoors.\nPhoto by Adolfo F\u00e9lix on Unsplash\nCan Kale Be Grown Indoors?\nWhile kale is traditionally grown outside, it's possible - and even easy - to grow kale indoors all year-round. With proper lighting, soil, and nutrients, you can grow mature kale, baby kale, and even kale microgreens in a small indoor space.\nGrowing Kale Indoors (In A Nutshell)\nHere are all the things you\u2019ll need to start growing kale indoors. We\u2019ll break down these individually in the article. But here are the basics:\n\nkale seeds \u2013 common varieties listed below\ngrow lights or another light source that gives kale full light during the day\npotting for seeds\nfertilizer\nwater\nplanting medium (potting soil\/potting mix works fine for most situations)\n\u00a0\n\nWhat Is Kale?\nThis green superfood is in the cole crop family of the species Brassica oleracea, and shares some similarities with non-heading cabbage, swiss chard. A decade ago, kale was mainly grown in the U.S. as a garnish on dishes, but this changed once we started to learn the health benefits of actually eating the leafy vegetable.\n\nKale looking well in Lancashire @AgriiUK #kale #cropwalking #wintersunshine pic.twitter.com\/Pq4wfNfUC0\n\u2014 Alexander Silverwood (@Agronomysilvers) November 12, 2020\n\nWhat Does Kale Look Like?\nThere are several varieties of kale \u2013 each with specific distinguishing features and sizes. One of the most common types sold in American grocery stores is called Common Curly Kale (or just curly kale), which has light green spines (the stem through the middle of the leaf), and ribs (steps that run through the leaves). Check out these most common types of kale:\nTypes of Kale\u00a0\n\nCommon Curly Kale \u2013 This is a typical American variety with a range of bluish-green color in the leaves \u2013 with the edges of the leaves frilling at the end.\nLacinato Kale (includes Dinosaur Kale and Tuscan Kale) \u2013 This kale has longer, darker leaves (unlike most common varieties).\n\nThomas Jefferson grew this type of kale in his garden.\n\n\nDwarf blue curled \u2013 Dwarf varieties are often more manageable than other, larger varieties, which can grow up to two feet when they\u2019re mature. Dwarf varieties are recommended if you\u2019re planning to grow your kale on a windowsill or balcony.\nRed Russian \u2013 This variety of kale is known for being semi-sweet and tasting good raw.\u00a0\n\nHere's a breakdown of types of kale and links to buy seeds.\n\n \n \n \n \n \n \n \n\n Kale ImageKale VarieityPurchase Seeds\n\n\n\n \n Common Curly KalePurchase Seeds \n \n Lacinato Kale (Dinosaur Kale, Tuscan Kale)Purchase Seeds \n \n Salad Savoy (Ornamental)Purchase Seeds \n \n Red Russion (Ragged Jack)Purchase Seeds \n \n Chinese Kale (Kailaan, Gai Lan, Chinese Broccoli)Purchase Seeds \n \n Siberian KalePurchase Seeds \n \n Redbor KalePurchase Seeds \n \n Premier Kale (Early Hanover) Purchase Seeds \n \n Walking Stick KalePurchase Seeds \n \n \n \n \n \n\n\n\n\n\nGrowing Kale Indoors From Seed\r\n\r\nWhen planting kale seeds, you must sow seeds from 1\/4 to 1\/2 each deep, according to the Old Farmer\u2019s Almanac. Typically, you should use seed trays for germination that have drain holes. For the growing medium, use either a growing mixture designed for vegetables or a soilless medium that includes perlite or vermiculite.\u00a0\r\nHere are some of our favorite types of potting mixes available from Amazon:\r\n\r\nBlack Gold All Organic Potting Mix\r\nMiracle-Gro Potting Mix\r\nFoxFarm Happy Frog Nutrient Rich Potting Mix\r\n\r\n \r\nWhen you sow seeds, only put a few of each seed in each container and cover them with about 1\/2\u2033 inch of the growing medium you\u2019re using.\u00a0\r\nIt\u2019s important to keep your seeds warm during this period \u2013 close to around 70 degrees F. It can technically germinate as low as 48 degrees F, but lower temperatures will slow down the speed of germination.\r\nIf you're worried about keeping your kale seeds warm enough, consider using a Seedling Heat Mat. They're affordable and useful for controlling the temperature.\n\n\n\nThinning Kale\r\nWe recommend that you thin your kale about ten days after planting, which will help the healthiest sprouts to thrive. For all the plant lovers out there, this may be a difficult step, but it improves the health of your plant and overall harvest.\r\nThin the kale seedlings so they are between 8 and 12 inches apart. Kale typically takes five to eight days to germinate from a seed. This can sometimes happen faster if you\u2019re using a grow light that allows for more hours of sunlight.\r\nHow Many Days Does It Take To Grow Kale\r\nKale is ready to harvest in about 60 days, depending on the variety. You should wait until the leaves reach about seven inches before harvesting. If you're interested in growing baby kale, which has a slew of benefits, you can harvest in as little as 25 days.\r\nCheck out these 29 veggies that you can harvest in under one month!\r\nSoil\r\nA quality potting soil that\u2019s high in organic matter will work for kale. It needs to be a potting mix that drains well and typically has a pH of 6.0-7.9. Some potting soil options that work well for kale include the following: Gardener\u2019s Potting Mix, Miracle Grow All Purpose Potting Mix, and The Sill Organic Potting Mix.\u00a0\r\nIf you\u2019re planning on growing the kale in a hydroponic garden, you would be better using a soilless growing medium such as peat moss. This would help keep the soil from getting into the water pump of the hydroponic system. Whatever growing medium you choose, you\u2019ll be harvesting the leaves, so your kale plant must have access to a high amount of nitrogen.\r\nStay clear of using soil from your garden, which could lack proper nutrition or contain diseases that your kale will be susceptible to.\u00a0\r\nYou must keep the soil moist when growing kale, as it\u2019s a fast grower. It should never dry out fully.\r\n\r\nGrowing Kale In Containers Indoors\r\nDepending on the variety of kale you choose, the space needed indoors may vary. But even smaller varieties, such as Dwarf Blue Curled varieties, need a 12\u2033 container per plant.\u00a0 This is quite different from other veggies, such as carrots, which could grow several plants at once in the same 12\u2033 space.\r\nDoes Kale Need Direct Sunlight\r\nWhen growing kale indoors, it should still receive full sun during the day \u2013 typically six hours or more, but it can also grow with partial shade, which is four to six hours during the day. One of the best places to get the needed light for your kale plants is in a south-facing window.\u00a0\r\nDon\u2019t have a windowsill with access to six hours of light? No problem. Another option for a light source is to get a grow light. Grow lights can help you supplement your plants with natural light during the day.\u00a0 This artificial light can be an excellent way to give the kale plant the much-needed sun it needs.\r\nHere are some basic grow lights you can use for kale:\r\n \r\nCheck out the best small grow light options we recommend.\r\nTemperature\r\nKale is a cool-season leafy green, so you want to keep it on the colder side. The preferred soil temperature for growing kale is approximately 60-65 degrees. That said, a bit of frost can sweeten the taste of kale, so you may want to stick your plants outside if the weather allows.\r\nWhile cool weather is usually better, too much cold can also be dangerous. If you're growing kale in a shed or anywhere else with dangerously cold temperatures, here are some grow mat options to help regulate the temperature.\r\n \r\nWatering Kale\r\nYou want to make sure your soil stays moist but not overly damp. For most growers, this amounts to 1-1.5 inches of water per week. The soil should be noticeably wet - but there should not be standing water in the pot. If you start to see your kale's leaves turning yellow, it is likely a sign that you're overwatering it.\r\nBest Fertilizer For Kale\r\nAny balanced fertilizer (like a 10-10-10) will work well for kale, especially a water-soluble fertilizer that you mix with one gallon of water. Typically, you should fertilize your kale every seven to ten days. Here are some top fertilizer options for growing kale indoors.\r\n\r\nDr. Earth Home Grown Tomato, Vegetable, and Herb Fertilizer\r\nOsmocote Flower and Vegetable Smart-Release Plant Food\r\nMiracle-Gro All Purpose Plant Food\r\n\r\nHow to Harvest Kale\r\nYou can harvest kale periodically, taking the mature leaves off the plant, which allows the younger leaves to continue growing. The kale leaves will last up to 14 days if you place them in the refrigerator in a sealed plastic bag.\r\n\r\nDid you know cooked #kale contains 3.5g fibre\/100g. That makes it a great #seasonal way to help you achieve an increase in your fibre intake. #FibreFebruary, #seasonalfood pic.twitter.com\/O3PlB8LXxg\r\n\u2014 MolyneuxKale (@MolyneuxKale) February 5, 2021\r\n\r\nGrowing Kale Hydroponically\r\nIf you're growing kale indoors, it may make sense for you to raise these greens hydroponically. This means that you're not growing with soil and - instead - are growing the kale using nutrient-rich water distributed along the roots and growing medium. Most countertop hydroponic systems can quickly grow kale and other greens. AeroGarden and Rise Gardens both provide excellent options for growing kale indoors.\r\nCheck out the best hydroponics systems for growing kale.\r\nHow To Grow Kale Microgreens\r\nMicrogreens are young edible greens produced from a vegetable or herb. Research suggests that kale microgreens are an excellent source of potassium, calcium, and antioxidants.\r\nFor kale microgreens, you\u2019ll start with a container that you fill to the brim with soil, spray with water to make it moist, and then distribute seeds evenly across the top of the soil. You want to cover the entire surface with the kale seeds. Water the seeds lightly, and then cover them up with aluminum foil to keep out all the light.\r\nAfter 3-5 days, your kale seeds should have germinated and are ready for sunlight \u2013 or you can use an artificial light. You\u2019ll want to continue watering them regularly, but not enough to develop mold.\r\nYou should be ready to harvest your kale microgreens just about ten days after planting them. You can use a paring knife to harvest these microgreens.\r\nHere's a great video that walks you through the steps of growing kale microgreens.\r\n\r\nWhat Is Kale Good For?\r\nThis supreme leafy green has been called a superfood. And there\u2019s a lot to be said for it. Kale has antioxidants, calcium, vitamin K, vitamin C, vitamin A (a single cup will give you 200% of your daily requirement), fiber, manganese, copper, potassium, magnesium, vitamin B6, and more.\r\nHere is the full list of nutrients in kale.\r\n\r\nBenefits of Growing Kale Indoors\r\nWhether you don\u2019t have the space or you\u2019re just craving a kale smoothie during the dead of winter, growing kale indoors is an ideal option. And many varieties of kale look visually appealing, so they can even work as a houseplant. Not only this, but having kale inside means, you can easily access your harvests without taking a trip to the garden.\r\n\r\nA new Harvard study shows that eating more #spinach and #kale can help you live longer! #WINNING! Learn more: https:\/\/t.co\/2A0V03EmL6 pic.twitter.com\/U9ujbFMdfT\r\n\u2014 Lettuce Info (@lettuce_info) March 11, 2021\r\n\r\nKale Pests To Look Out For\r\nOne of the benefits of growing indoors is that your plants are protected from most pests. But if a window or a door is ever open, an infestation is still possible. Here are some of the most common pests known to hurt kale:\r\n\r\n\u200bHarlequin Bug\r\nImported Cabbage Worm\r\nAphids\r\nGnats\r\nFlies\r\nFlea Beetles\r\n\r\nFor help with pests on your kale, start here.\r\nThe Big Idea\r\nKale can be grown in the comfort of your home. It\u2019s an easy plant that you can raise without much time or effort, and it will be sure to provide you and your family with highly nutritious leafy greens throughout the year. Start growing kale today with these easy steps. So whip out your green thumb and get started today!