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Kale Germination Time (When & How Guide)

Kale, one of the cold hardy vegetables you can grow throughout winter, gives off young seedlings in a short time through an easy germination technique.

The germination time of Kale depends on the medium it is set to germinate. It takes 5 to 7 days to germinate the Kale seeds in the paper towel and 7 to 10 days in an indoor pot and outdoor garden.

Thus, the most curious part of growing Kale is its quick germination time.

Don’t skip this article if you wish to track germinating time while growing Kale in your garden or indoors.

What Do Kale Seeds Look Like?

Some popular Kale varieties, like Lacinato, Ornamental, Curly, Siberian, Chinese, and Red Russian, all produce tiny round seeds.

The juvenile Kale seeds, regardless of variety, appear bright green and gradually turn purple, black, gray or tan with maturity.

The pods enclosing the seed resemble tiny green beans or bananas, gradually turning dry and brown on maturity, releasing the seeds.

If you cannot distinguish the seeds, try taking help from the table.

ColorLight green to purple initially with almost black in maturity
Size2 mm
ShapeSpherical to oval smooth seeds
Blossoming SeasonLate spring to early summer
BlossomPale yellow petals with spiked flower
Seed podLong, slim, pointy resembling the bean pods

When & How To Harvest Kale Seeds?

As Kale is a fast grower, you can harvest the leafy part of the Kale in just three months from seed germination.

Although Kale is grown as an annual plant for their leaves, Kale is a biennial plant that completes its lifecycle in two years.

So, Kale prepares to flower and produce seeds in the following second year.

The flowers of Kale are incapable of self-fertilization and hence rely on pollinators like bees for pollination.

harvested kale seedpods for germination
Kale seedpods will burst open, sending seeds out everywhere, so do not wait too long to harvest.

The seed pods are ready to harvest when they turn dry with a light tan or buff color.

Remember, too early a harvest results in immature seeds but do not wait too long as the seed pods burst open and release seeds.

Furthermore, not all seed pods ripen simultaneously, so when more than half of the seedpods on the stalk turned darker, cut the stalk and let it dry for a week.

After all the seed pods have dried out, carefully take out the seeds by gently crushing them pods.

Let the seeds dry completely before storing them in a cool, dry place in a paper bag.

After the successful harvest, preplan to sow Kale seeds in the early spring or three months before the upcoming fall frost.

How Much Time Do Kale Seeds Take For Germination?

Even though the seeds of Kale are tiny in size, they hold a rapid pace for germination.

The seeds of Kale can germinate within 5 to 10 days in the potted or ground condition if the soil temperature is no less than 45ºF.

If the soil temperature is cold, the Kale seed germination time can take up to 2 weeks.

Moreover, multiple germination mediums have different germinating paces.

Germination in Paper Towel

The best time to germinate Kale in a paper towel is six weeks before the first frost date or in the summer for fall harvest.

The timing gives the seedlings enough time to establish themselves in the soil before the temperature rises.

  • Cut a paper towel in half and moisten it but do not let it drip down.
  • Sprinkle the Kale seeds over the moistened paper towel.
  • Maintain a 3 to 4 cm spacing between the seeds to avoid overcrowding.
  • Dampen the paper towel and cover the seeds with the other half of the paper towel.
  • Put the paper towel with the seeds in a zipper bag, and lock it to escape the air.
bunch of kale seeds after germination with new sprouts
Seeds germinating from the paper towel can produce a harvest in 60 to 75 days under proper care.
  • Use a permanent marker to note its name in the bag with its planted date for the record.
  • Maintain the temperature at around 70°F to 80°F for faster germination time.
  • Place seeds over the refrigerator, near a heating vent, or on a mat.
  • Regularly check on the seeds and sprinkle one or two sprays of water over the seeds using a spray bottle.

Paper towel allows you to work in a soil-free and pathogen-free condition, and the process is easy to perform with a germination time of 5 to 7 days.

Once the new seedlings have root sprouts, transplant them to a pot or ground.

Germination in Pot

The best time to sow the Kale seeds collected in mid-spring indoors is 5-7 weeks before the last expected frost date.

  • Choose a pot having a diameter of at least 12 inches and enough drainage holes.
  • Try using a readymade organic potting mix if you are a beginner.
  • Otherwise, use a DIY mix made from 4 parts screened compost, 2 parts coconut coir, 1 part vermiculite and 1 part perlite.
  • Fill the 3/4th part of the pot with the potting mix and thoroughly water till water oozes out from the drain holes.
  • Sow the Kale seeds 0.25 to 0.5 inches deep in the pot and cover them with light soil.
4 seedling of Kale is growing inn a container.
Each hole must not contain more than four Kale seeds and should have proper spacing to let them enjoy adequate lighting.
  • Water them daily to keep the soil moist but do not overwater.

With proper care, Kale seeds can germinate within 7 to 10 days time in the pot.

Relocate the seedling to a bright east or south window to ensure optimal sunlight to encourage better growth.

Germination in Garden

Redbor Kale has beautiful, purple ruffled leaves that add great ornamental value to your garden when grown with Pansies, Violas, and Snapdragon.

For best results, sow the Kale seeds right after the end of the frost or during the early spring.

  • Carefully select a location that welcomes plenty of sunlight during the fall.
  • And choose a partly shady location if the germination time falls in mid-summer, as the seeds cannot tolerate extreme heat, resulting in bolting.
  • Poke the seeds with your fingers or make a hole of 0.5 inches into the soil to sow seeds.
  • Ensure each seed is at least three inches apart.
  • Cover the seeds with 0.5 inches of light soil and moisten them.
  • Provide regular watering to the seeds and keep checking on the germination.
  • After the sprouts have formed, you can thin them out and transplant them into rows.

Kale seeds may take about 7 to 10 days to germinate in the ground.

Tips For Kale Seeds After Germination

Kale has a wide range of adaptability and can grow both in the fall and the summer.

However, ensure you have provided the following care requirements if you want your Kale plants to grow successfully after sowing.

  • Daily six hours of sunlight with partial shade is ideal for the Kale seedlings.
  • Maintain the humidity level between 55-70%  and temperature at 45-85°F for the sweet Kale leaves.
  • Mist the plant daily, and after the seedlings have sprouted, provide 1 to 1.5 inches of water weekly.
  • Aim for sandy, loamy soil of pH 5.5-7 that facilitates well-drainage for juvenile Kale.
  • Provide mulch of straw or grass to retain moisture and maintain the temperature of the soil.
You can transplant Kale seedlings in three weeks when they start sprouting.
  • Provide a liquid fertilizer with 10-10-10 N-P-K after the first harvest of leaves to boost growth.
  • Thin your Kale after two weeks of germination and transplant them.
  • Prevent your plant from common pests like aphids, moths, cutworms, and flea beetles by removing the plant residues every two weeks.
  • Also, apply neem oil or insecticidal soap to control and prevent pest infestation.

From Editorial Team

Fast-Growing Nutritious Leafy Kale

Kale is a nutritious staple food with anti-inflammatory, heart-protective, and anti-cancer effects.

But they also have an adverse effect on some people as they contain goitrogens which hinder thyroid function.

Be Careful and Enjoy!

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