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Beginner Gardening: Will my Kale get any uglier?

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Forum: Beginner GardeningReplies: 4, Views: 66
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Jackson, MS

March 25, 2013
10:39 AM

Post #9461382

I'm totally new to Kale and just saw them at Lowe's and snapped them up as a great filler between my individual shrubs for the Winter. They were tiny 2 pint plants a few months ago and have grow exponentially! Now that the warm weather and lots of sun is here, they are growing large stems at the top with flowers. Although I like the flowers, I think the stems are ugly.

My questions are:
1) are the stems permanent?
2) should I expect them to get much taller than the 17 inches they are now?
3) can I trim the ugly pink stems back to the main part of the plant without harming it?
4) are they heat/humidity proof? (It get's brutally hot here in Mississippi during the Summer and they will get 6+ hours of full sun during the day.)

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(Zone 7a)

March 25, 2013
10:49 AM

Post #9461389

Your kale is flowering. It's called 'bolting.' You can cut it off or leave it, it's up to you. I don't know if the plant dies after it bolts.

March 27, 2013
11:39 PM

Post #9464601

Keep your kale plants well watered. Along with cool temperatures, moist soil helps keep kale leaves sweet and crisp, rather than tough and bitter. Side dressing throughout the growing season with compost or feeding with fish emulsion will keep your kale growing. Mulch is important to keep the ground cool.
Contra Costa County, CA
(Zone 9b)

March 28, 2013
8:44 PM

Post #9465471

Flowering Kale (grown for decorative leaves) will die after flowering.
They are great winter color, but as the days lengthen and warm in the spring they finish their life cycle. If you had cut off the flower stems when they first showed up you might have continued growing them a bit longer.
This plant is edible, but once it starts going to flower the leaves are tough and bitter.

It is time to move on to summer annuals!
Ayrshire Scotland
United Kingdom

April 2, 2013
1:33 PM

Post #9469912

Kale either green or curly kale are like all this family, cabbages, sprouts ect are all winter / cool weather vegetables and at this time of year, in your zone, the heat tells them their growing season is over and time to set seeds for re-production, the leaves will be too tough and bitter to eat now,

Next time you wish to grow these type of greens, then choose the coolest months, add as much manures /compost to your soil to help add nutrients, air and water retention to the soil, BUT add this stuff months before you want these plants to grow as they do prefer a soil that in newly had manure added.
Therefore adding manure a while before wont harm them, they do need a lot of moisture and a cooler growing time, we grow these here in UK as a winter / spring Veg and we don't get anywhere near as hot as your climate gives out.
Good luck, WeeNel.

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