Growing This Ornamental Veggie During Winter Comes With Some Major Benefits
Kale has been recognized as a source of protein, calcium, and vitamins for hundreds of years. The best time to plant kale is during the autumn months when a touch of frost on a mature plant will bring a natural sweetness to the leaves, used in salads and smoothies, and also sauteed as a vegetable. Of course, you can grow kale in summer and fall, but unlike other edible plants, the hardiest varieties of kale will survive in temperatures down to -10F (-23C)! Frost actually sweetens the taste of kale as the cold converts the starches in the plant to sugars.
Much of the plant’s growth depends on how much sunlight it receives. Kale prefers to grow in fertile, well-draining soil in full sun. Even well-established plants won’t grow a lot of new leaves in the coldest, darkest winter days. But you can harvest the fresh, green leaves throughout the winter, and new growth will appear as temperatures climb and days lengthen. In the coldest parts of the country with the most severe winters you can protect kale using a cold frame, mini hoop, or greenhouse.