All About Growing Kale and Collards

Growing kale and collard greens in your garden will yield an abundant harvest of super-nutritious greens in spring, fall and often well into winter. This guide includes descriptions of the types of kale and collards, and tips for growing these great greens in your organic garden.

  • Don’t stop at lettuce and spinach in the greens department. Grow these nutrient-packed cabbage cousins to enjoy a wider depth of flavor and cooking versatility.
    Illustration by Keith Ward

(For details on growing many other vegetables and fruits, visit our Crop at a Glance collection page.)

Two of the easiest-to-grow cabbage family crops, kale and collards (Brassica oleracea) are closely related veggies with similar cultural requirements. You can grow quick crops of kale or collard greens in spring, while the weather is cool, and then plant them a second time in late summer for harvesting after the weather cools again in fall.

If you live where winter temperatures stay above 15 degrees Fahrenheit, you can grow kale and collard greens right on through the winter months. As true biennials, kale or collard plants that survive winter rush to produce flowers and seeds in spring.

Types of Kale

Kale varieties vary in leaf shape and color, as well as overall vigor. ‘Red Russian’ kale produces heavy yields of green leaves with reddish-purple ribs.

Tuscan kales, such as ‘Lacinato,’ produce long, narrow, dark-green leaves with a waffle-like texture.

Numerous curly kale varieties including ‘Winterbor’ and ‘Redbor’ feature leaves with rumpled, curled edges.

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