Give Kale Space, Enough Space, Don’t Crowd It In

Kale can be a large plant measuring 2 feet or even 3 feet tall and up to 2 feet across. How big it gets and how much space it needs actually depends on how you will use your kale.


Spacing for Kale Sprouts

While there is a hybrid of Red Russian kale and Brussels sprouts that is sold as kale sprouts, the term sprouts or “micro greens” usually refers to kale and other plants that have been harvested almost as soon as they form.

Because the kale is harvested at such an early stage, you can crowd the seeds tightly together into a shallow container so that they will form a solid covering of greens when they sprout. Just make sure that the seeds are 1/4 inch to 1/2 inch deep.

Harvest your kale sprouts shortly after the first leaves or cotyledons make their appearance.

Spacing for Baby Kale

If you don’t have a lot of garden space or if you simply prefer the youngest leaves, you can grow baby kale.

Whether you plant your kale in your garden or in a container, make sure the seeds are 1/4 inch to 1/2 inch deep and leave 1 inch between the seeds. The first sets of leaves that appear are the cotyledons that are part of the seed. Wait until at least three sets of true leaves appear to begin harvesting.

Spacing for Growing Kale in a Container

Choose a container large enough to give each plant at least 6 inches of apace. Plant the seeds 1/4 inch to 1/2 inch deep and 1 inch apart. When the plants have two sets of true leaves with a third set forming, thin them to leave 6 to 12 inches between the plants.

Spacing for Mature Kale Plants

If you intend to allow your kale to grow into mature plants, you need to consider three things:

  • Mature kale plants are large and need space.
  • Not all of the seeds or seedlings you plant will grow to maturity.
  • It’s better to start too many seeds and plants than too few.

Whether planting seeds outdoors in the garden or indoors for later transplanting, sow them 1/4 inch to 1/2 inch deep.

Indoors, sow them 1 inch apart and thin the plants so that they are 12 inches apart when they are 3 to 4 inches tall and have four true leaves with two more forming.

Outdoors, sow the seeds 1 inch apart in rows that are 18 inches apart and thin the plants to 12 to 18 inches apart.

Plant seedlings 12 to 18 inches apart in rows that are 18 inches apart.

Spacing for Ornamental Kale

Ornamental kale is usually a smaller plant than the kale that is grown for food. Leave about 12 inches between these decorative kale varieties.