Spring best time to sow kale plants
March through May sowings will help produce robust leafy greens for the over-winter period
QI’ve been trying to grow kale plants that will over-winter and give me a long harvest season. So far I’ve had no luck. The summer sowings that were recommended for plants to over-winter have not worked for me. Is it better to plant kale in the spring?
A: My experience with kale has been similar to yours. In my garden, spring planting works best for producing sizable, robust plants that over-winter well. Even though summer sowings are often recommended — and I presume they work well in some gardens — they are minimally successful in mine.
In my experience, kale sizes up best for fall, winter and spring harvesting when sown directly into the garden March through May. Later plantings may be satisfactory if sturdy, well-sized transplants are used.
Kale can actually be sown outdoors from late winter through late summer for young salad greens.
Every year, I grow five or more varieties to observe and compare. Red Russian and similarly reddish-hued types have long been my favourites, but in the harsh winter of 201617 I was glad I’d grown a curly Scotch type. While other more tender and thin-skinned varieties went temporarily limp with the cold, the tougher leaves of the curly Scotch kale remained usable. West Coast Seeds has a superbly extensive selection of kale varieties.
QSince I moved several years ago, my hoya plant has not flowered. It is growing on top of a cabinet sited against the far wall of a south-facing room.
A: Hoyas have a reputation for not responding well to being moved. Also, it is probable that the plant needs more light. Hoyas do best with around four hours daily of direct sunlight, but with protection from direct, hot summer sun. Hoyas are tropical plants requiring warmth (16 to 21 C) and minimal watering in winter.
Consider taking cuttings in the spring for young plants to locate where they’ll be exposed to some direct sun.
Red Russian kale has long been a favourite of Helen Chesnut, but Scotch types are good during harsh winters.