Question: Can I grow kale indoors? Which varieties will grow betting inside? -Lenny H.
Answer: Yes, you can grow kale indoors and enjoy this leafy green vegetable year-round, regardless of your climate. Use a seed tray that has holes to provide drainage, and fill the tray with three or four inches of soilless seed starting mix. (A soilless seed starting mixture meant for growing vegetables is best.) Use a spray bottle to mist the surface of the seed starting mix so it’s damp. Plant two or three kale seeds per cell by covering them with half an inch of seed starting mix. If the seed starting mixture feels dry after seeds are planted, use your spray bottle to moisten it again.
If the seed tray came equipped with a plastic lid, cover the tray with the lid. Otherwise, cover it loosely with a plastic bag to keep the humidity high in the container. Choose a warm location for your seeds to sprout, such as on top of your refrigerator. (The seeds don’t need sunlight to grow yet.) Check on the seeds every two or three days, and keep them moist but not overly wet. The seeds should begin sprouting within four weeks or so.
Each plant will need to be transferred to an individual container that’s a minimum of 12 inches deep and 12 inches wide, and containers must have holes to provide drainage. Using the soilless mixture you planted seeds with, fill each container three quarters of the way full. Gently remove your seedlings from the cell tray, and plant them in small holes in their new pots that are about the same size as the seedling’s root system. Gently fill in around the plant with more soilless mixture as needed so they are sitting securely in the growing medium. Just bury the plants up to where their roots meet the stems—the stems do not need to be buried. After transplanting your seedlings, water around the base of the young plants so the growing mixture is moist but not oversaturated.
Find a sunny location such as a south-facing window where your kale plants will get at least six hours of sunlight per day. If you don’t have a location available that provides enough sun, you can use grow lights to grow your kale indoors. The plants will need partial shade to protect them in weather hotter than 70 degrees Fahrenheit. They will also need to be watered every few days, whenever the growing medium looks dry. If you aren’t sure, you can always stick a finger in near where your plant is growing. If it’s moist to the touch and the growing mix sticks to your skin, your kale plants don’t need to be watered yet.