Every spring we start kale on our Sunstation for later transplanting outdoors. We love kale, and I try to keep our plants going through the hot summer days and into fall. That’s asking a lot of a cool season plant! This year I managed to start seeds in late summer for a fall planting. Our second crop was ready for transplant when the hottest part of summer was past.
Unfortunately my tender new transplants were quickly under attack by hordes of white flies. (My bad; they migrated from our spring crop, which I had left in the ground.) This was a serious infestation, and the tender shoots of my young plants were pretty much devoured.
That was when I decided it was time to try growing our kale indoors. We wanted something compact, so we selected a variety called Dwarf Blue Curled Scotch. It has exceeded our expectations. We have had two substantial harvests from our plants so far, selecting the large outer leaves and letting the inner ones continue to grow.
I’ve left my outdoor kale to fend for itself, in hopes that once we get a frost and lose the bugs, the plants will recover. They continue to produce new little leaves, so it just might work. Kale is supposed to taste even better after a frost, so I’m crossing my fingers. Next year, my plan is to grow kale outdoors in the spring, pull it out in summer when it is most vulnerable to bugs and heat, and plant out more in the fall. In summer and winter, kale will be one of our indoor crops.