How To Grow Red Russian Kale Successfully?

Red Russian kale will be a great idea if you want to add a touch of sweetness and tenderness to your salad. Interestingly, this type of vegetable is easy to plant. 

How to grow Red Russian kale? It takes about 50 to 60 days to harvest. So let’s see what you will do for a productive crop during that period! 

How To Grow Red Russian Kale?

How To Grow Red Russian Kale

Red Russian kale can sprout into a broad, loose rosette between 0.3 and 0.5 meters tall. This variety’s vivid crimson stems and purple foliage make it easy to identify them.

The leaves have a flat, jagged shape similar to an oak leaf, a deep green hue overall, with red veins. Aside from the appearance, people also love this cultivar for its earthy and sweet flavor. 

Here are some quick facts about Red Russian kale:

  • Height: 24–30 inches
  • Hardiness: Hardy
  • Sun: Full sun to partial shade 
  • Hardiness Zone: 3-11
  • Ease of Growing: Easy
  • Days to sprout from seeds: 5–10 days
  • Days to harvest: 50-65 days
  • Water: Moderate

Now, let’s move to the main parts. We will break your gardening process into three steps for you to follow easier. 

Step 1: Choose the right time

Red Russian kale is as cold-resistant as other kale varieties. Although the plant can withstand heat, colder temperatures are better for it. Hence, spring and fall are the perfect times to cultivate. 

It would be best to choose the seed sowing date based on the growing zone: 

  • Zones 3 to 5: April and July
  • Zones 6 to 8: March and August
  • Zones 9 or above: February and September

Step 2: Sow the seeds

You can sow the kale seeds outdoors or indoors, each with a different sowing method. 

Outdoors

When the outside temperature is over 50°F, directly sow your seeds in your garden. Plant them 18 to 24 inches apart, 1/4 inch deep, and six seeds for each row foot.

When the plants grow 8 to 12 inches, thin them. Then, you can eat the thinnings.  

Indoors

If you decide to start your seedlings indoors, please take these steps:

  • Fill a tray with seed starting mix. 
  • Plan two seeds per cell, 1/4 inch deep. 
  • The ideal soil temperature for seed germination is 75°F.
  • Thin to one plant per cell. 
  • Try to maintain the greenhouse temperature at about 45°F at night and 85°F during daylight. 
  • Harden off your seedlings about one week before transplanting. 
  • Transplant the seedlings in your garden. Remember to set them 8 to 12 inches apart and 18 to 24 inches between the rows. 

Step 3: Control pests and diseases

First, some gardeners experience wilting, thinning, and yellow leaves. Thrips are the common cause of this problem. You can treat those pests using neem oil or insecticidal soap.

Besides, leafy vegetables, like kale and zucchini are also prone to damage by aphids or cabbage worms. A forceful hose spray or manual picking can help get rid of these pests. You can also use covers to keep away from your vegetables. 

There are instructions for every insecticide. Take time to read labels and use products that have obtained food safety certification. 

Step 4: Harvest

Baby kale is ready for harvest about 25 days after sowing, whether you transplant it or plant it directly. You can generally pick full-sized leaves for around 50 to 65 days.

If you grow Red Russian kale in the spring, the mature time will be shorter than in the fall because the spring days are longer. 

You can harvest Red Russian kale in the same way as other varieties of kale. Remember never to pick the interior parts of fresh growth; just go for the outer leaves.

Extra Tips For Growing Red Russian Kale

The instructions above can help you plant the kale properly. But for the best outcome, we recommend the following tips:

+Light

In most areas, kale requires full sun to some shade. It grows most strongly when receiving at least six hours of direct sunshine daily.

Give your crop some shade, particularly from the harsh afternoon light, if you live in a dry, hot region. The leaves may wilt and lose their aroma in hot weather. 

+Soil

Kale plants prefer a rich, organic soil that is a little acidic. You should opt for a pH level of 6.5 to 6.8. Besides, for robust leaf growth, the nitrogen content in the organic matter should be high, and the soil must drain efficiently.

+Water

Red Russian kale grows best in 1 to 1 1/2 inches of watering per week and demands a constant water supply. Also, keep the soil around your plant equally damp but not soggy. 

If you want to yield crisp and sweet kale, keep the soil moist all the same. You can mulch around your plant to keep the soil cool and retain moisture. 

+Fertilizer

Sprinkle fertilizer in the top three to four inches of soil before planting. Then, feed the plant as directed on the fertilizer label during the growing season. Try to use high-nitrogen compost or fertilizer for this step. 

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Will Red Russian kale grow back after cutting?

Yes. Once correctly harvested, it acts as a cut-and-come-again shrub, fast coming back to develop new leaves for subsequent harvests. 

2. Is Red Russian kale a perennial?

No. Kale is a biennial. Its life cycle has two growing seasons. 

3. Is Red Russian kale good for you?

Yes. A serving of Red Russian kale is rich in vitamin A, which is excellent for your immune function and eye health. It also contains vitamins B6, K, C, copper, calcium, magnesium, and manganese.

But remember to check if your kale is fresh first. Look for signs of spoiled kale before consumption. 

Conclusion

We have shared a complete guide to growing Red Russian kale and some extra tips for a successful crop. This cultivar is easy to plant. Moreover, it’s rich in multiple nutrients, making it a terrific choice for home gardening. 

If you need any information about growing this plant, please contact us. We will always be willing to help you. 

Thank you for reading! 

For over eighty years the Wightman Family has been growing and selling fruits and vegetables at the farm.

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