Harvesting kale doesn’t have to be an all-or-nothing proposition. You can start with just a few stems and watch them grow into a big crop of fresh greens. Kale is one of the most nutritious vegetables you can eat. You don’t want to lose it after you harvest it, though. Keep reading the article to learn how to harvest kale so it keeps growing?.
How to Harvest Kale So It Keeps Growing?
Kale is the perfect salad green that is frost-friendly and surprisingly hardy — so we want our kale garden harvests to last as long as possible. But how do harvest kale to ensure they keep growing? Read on to discover our Grow Pro tips to help you keep your kale plants healthy and happy.
Growing kale is a big hit among families and health nuts, novice gardeners, and more. Nutritious and easy to grow, these nutritious greens are just the thing for fall. The main things you’ll need to get going are a seed starter and some good soil. Once your seedling is ready to go in the ground, you’ll enjoy watching it grow.
With a few gardening tips, you’ll be happily harvesting kale leaves all season long. There’s nothing like a fresh leafy green on your plate.
Here’s how to harvest kale so it keeps growing in 12 simple tips.
Harvest When Leaves are about the size of your Palm
A mature plant will begin producing leaves in the early 70s. The first leaves on the plant will be the first ones that go bad so you should harvest them as soon as they appear.
Kale is one of the most versatile vegetables on the planet. It can be eaten raw, cooked, juiced, fermented, and in many other ways depending on your preference. The downside to kale is that it needs about 10 to 12 weeks of growth before it can reach its full maturity.
Cut along the Base to Harvest.
Harvesting kale is incredibly simple. To harvest, grasp the leaf in one hand and simply snip off along the base near the stem using pruning shears. You’ll need a couple of minutes at the beginning of each season, but that’s the only thing that’s required.
Don’t Cut the Root of the Plant
If you want to get more out of your kale, don’t cut the stem. Instead, let it live for as long as possible so it can continue to grow and produce more leaves. This way you’ll get bigger, tastier vegetables than if you chop off the stems.
Cut the stalk of the leafy greens you will be picking in one session and only take what you need.
Pick the Largest and Oldest Leaves First
The largest and oldest leaves are usually found at the base of the plant. You’ll be able to tell because, well, they’re usually the biggest. The ones near the base are the ones that go bitter first.
If you harvest kale from young plants, it will keep growing until the weather turns cold. This means you’ll need to cut back on harvesting to only the leaves that are older and stronger, as the young leaves have less yield and will not store as well as the mature ones.
Avoid Picking the Terminal Bud
The terminal bud is found at the top center of the plant. It is a thick, hard structure with a large number of tiny flowers. Harvesting the terminal bud allows your crop to continue to grow for much longer.
Pick about one Fistful of Leaves per Harvest
If you want to serve your guests a delicious kale dish, feel free to choose whatever size you like. It doesn’t matter if the dish is small or large; what matters is that your kale dish is great!
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Return in one Week for the Large Leaves
Harvesting kale leaves requires a little attention and care. Kale stems must be cut back to encourage the leaves to come out from the center of the plant. Kale leaves also need to be returned every 5-7 days to maintain freshness.
Harvest your Microgreens — but not too many
As you’re harvesting your kale plant, make sure to harvest your microgreens – they’re delicious, and they have more of the nutrients found in mature kale leaves. But don’t over-harvest – if you do, the kale plant may stop growing, and your harvest will be ruined.
Wait Until After the First Frost
If you’re growing kale in the fall, our favorite pro tip is to wait to harvest until after the first frost! A good frost makes your kale taste sweeter. Frost increases the amount of sugar in your kale leaves, making them tenderer and sweeter than a spring harvest.
Harvesting leaves before the first frost is great for keeping the plant healthy and full of vigor, but you may want to harvest sooner if you can. That way, you’ll be able to enjoy your fresh kale leaves longer and avoid wilting and deterioration after picking the bunch.
Remove Yellow or Spotted Leaves
When harvesting, always check leaves for yellowing. Dead or damaged leaves will use up energy that could instead go towards healthy leaves and extend the length of your crop.
If you see yellow, spotted, or wilted leaves consistently, your plant is in distress. Consider whether it could be caused by common kale pests (like cabbage worms or aphids) or simply overwatering.
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Protect Kale from the Weather
You can extend your harvest of kale, collard greens, mustard, and more by just covering them. Cold weather makes for tougher produce and is a great time to get your product started early so that it’s ready to go when the weather gets warmer in the spring.
If you don’t have these on hand, simply drape a tarp over the kale plant and secure it with something heavy. The good news about the cold is that it will transform your container garden kit into a mini-fridge! Your kale will last longer in the cold ground than it would otherwise and allow you to harvest into winter (if you can protect the outside with a cover).
Spring comes when the ground begins to warm after winter, and most gardeners like to wait as long as possible before beginning their planting season. This gives the plants the best chance at survival, and it also gives them time to produce new growth. You could also decide to cover your bed with mulch and wait.
Kale is a leafy green vegetable with many health benefits that is also a member of the cabbage family. Kale, like other vegetables and fruits, will store well in the refrigerator, but if you want to keep your kale longer, here are some tips on how to do that.
To prepare properly, follow the steps below: Wash the leaves thoroughly with cold water, removing any debris. Remove the stems now, unless you plan to eat them.
Pat the leaves dry with a paper towel and let air dry for about 10 minutes. Once they’ve dried, store them in an airtight container or bag to protect against molds and bacteria.
Place leaves in a plastic bag alongside a paper towel. Squeeze as much air out of the bag as possible.
Place in a sealed plastic bag in the fridge for several weeks and then bring to room temperature before eating.