How to Rescue Your Kale Plant

March 15, 2015

Giving Kale a Second Life

What’s Wrong?

As Spring turns to Summer you may find your kale plant

showing some symptoms that it’s not doing too well

The increased temperature and age of the kale plant can lead to

quite a few issues.

The most common problem is bolting. Bolting is when the

plant starts its reproductive cycle, making flowers and then

seeds. This take the place of the new kale growth, which means

no more fresh kale leaves – unless we do something about it!

Can it be saved?

You may think you have no choice but to remove your kale

plant, and either switch to summer crops or plant new Kale

starts, but you do have another option! Most kale plants can

actually withstand being cut back, and will grow new shoots off

of the main stalk.

What do I do?

The process is very simple. Once you’ve determined your Kale

plant needs a fresh start, take a look at the stalk. It should have

small buds or leaves coming from some of the nodes along the

stem.

This is where the new growth will come from. Simply cut the

kale plant ABOVE one of these nodes (at a 45? angle so water

runs off easily) and the plant will redirect its energy to the new

growth.

But it’s growing differently now…

Now that it’s lost it’s main head, the kale will try to grow multiple

new heads off of it’s stalk. The more heads, the smaller the

individual leaves will be, so you get to choose: you can pull off

all but one of the new heads, leading the plant to produce

bigger leaves just like it was before, or you can leave multiple

heads, and harvest “baby kale” leaves.

Why bother?

Giving your Kale plant a second life is easier than pulling it out

and planting a new one. It also saves you time and money, plus

your more likely to get lots of baby kale – a specialty that is

marked up in stores and restaurants. This method can also help

Kale plants that are infested with aphids, or other problems that

require a fresh start.