Kale is a leafy green vegetable that is popular in salads and stir-fries; it is well known for its nutritional value and versatility in the kitchen. Kale can be grown on a balcony with the right tools and steps. The following guide will help you learn how to grow kale on a balcony.
Before Getting Started
Before you get started, there are a few key things that you need to know about growing kale on a balcony.
- Climate: In most regions, kale seeds need to be sown in early spring through early summer. If you live in a region with hot summers and mild winters, kale should be sown in the fall through early spring instead. Kale does well with temperatures that are about 65 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Sunlight: Kale needs at least 6 hours of direct sunlight per day. Keep this in mind, as you may need to introduce artificial sunlight depending on your balcony location.
- Planter: Kale needs a container that is at least 12 inches deep and 12 inches in diameter.
- Indoors or Outdoors? Kale can be grown either indoors or outdoors. It grows well either way, so if you find the weather is too temperamental in your region, consider growing your kale indoors instead. You can also move kale indoors on days where the temperature gets above 80 degrees F, but keep it in a location which receives filtered sunlight.
What You’ll Need
The following are the basic supplies you’ll need to grow kale indoors.
- Planter that is at least 12” deep and 12” in diameter
- Drainage materials (window mesh, small stones, paper towels, etc)
Step by Step Instructions
The following are step by step instructions to growing kale on your balcony.
1. Prepare your container and plant seeds
First, prepare your container by layering drainage materials on the bottom. Then, fill with soil and compost. Look for aged composts and manure, as these work best with kale plants. Plant your seeds at least 4 inches apart; consider wider spacing (10 inches at most) if you are using a very large container.
Make sure you water your kale plants close to the soil, especially once the plant begins to grow or if you are using transplanted kale. Water until the soil is moist but not waterlogged.
3. Check the sunlight
Your container needs to be in an area that receives at least 6 to 8 hours of direct sunlight per day. If you find the plant doesn’t get enough sunlight, move it to a different area on your balcony.
- Water: Kale should be watered as needed in order to keep the top inch of soil moist. This will vary depending on the level of drainage and the average temperature in your region.
- Growth: It will take kale seeds about 50 to 80 days to fully mature and be harvest-ready. If you are using transplanted kale plants, it will take about 30 to 40 days before you can harvest the leaves. If you planted baby kale, they will take about 25 to 30 days to get harvest-ready.
- Maintenance: Fertilizing should be done bi-weekly to keep kale plants healthy.