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Kale Growing Guide

Bursting with goodness, these hardy no fuss vegetables are brilliant crops to plant in the winter garden. Kale is a superfood in every sense of the word. This fantastic leafy green can be used both fresh and cooked. It is a quick growing crop for the cooler months, and it looks highly attractive in the garden too.


Being part of the Brassicaceae family, kale is very similar to cabbage. However, it doesn’t form a head, the frilly, robust leaves instead appearing in rosettes from the thick stems.  The leaves are typically way, crinkled or curly, and vary in colour from dark to pale green, purple and red. Some varieties are used in flowering gardens to add extra texture and ornamental colour.

Refer to our Planting Calendar for when to plant in your region.


Like building a house a good foundation is the key to success in your garden. The better the soil, the better your plants will grow. If you are starting with an existing garden bed dig in organic matter like Tui Sheep Pellets and Tui Compost to your soil. Then you can add a layer of Tui Vegetable Mix. If planting in pots and containers, fill with Tui Vegetable Mix.

The best times to plant are early in the morning or late in the day, so the plants aren’t exposed to the hot sun straight away. Always water plants well before and after planting.

Find a full sun, sheltered position to plant and space at least 30cm-50cm apart, to ensure the crops can fully mature and are not fighting for space, fertiliser and water. If you planted kale or a certain variety of brassica last year don’t grow them in the same spot as pests and diseases can be lingering in the soil, read our Crop Rotation Guide here 

Planting in garden beds

  • Water plants thoroughly before planting and allow to drain.
  • Dig a hole, approximately twice the depth and width of the root ball of your plant.
  • Partly fill the hole with Tui Vegetable Mix.
  • Gently loosen the root ball of your plant and position the plant in the centre of the hole.
  • Fill in with Tui Vegetable Mix.
  • Press soil gently around the base of the plant.
  • Water your plant well.

Planting in pots and containers

    • Water plants thoroughly before potting and allow to drain.
    • Partly fill your container with Tui Vegetable Mix.
    • Gently loosen the root ball of your plant and position the plant in the container.
    • Fill your container with Tui Vegetable Mix up to 3cm from the top.
    • Tap the container gently on the ground to settle the mix.
    • Press soil gently around the base of the plant.
    • Water your plant well.

Pick leaves from leafy varieties of brassicas like kale as required, the plant will keep producing leaves throughout the season.


Feed your plants and they will feed you. Plants use nutrients from the soil as they grow, so replenishing the nutrients ensures your plants grow to their full potential.

Select a fertiliser specially blended for your crop like Tui Vegetable Food. Feed kale planted in pots and containers with Tui NovaTec Premium fertiliser. Well watered, well nourished veges will have a better chance of keeping insect pests and diseases at bay. While your kale are growing regularly apply a dose of Tui Organic Seaweed Plant Tonic to give them a welcome boost.

Protect your plants from the elements with layers of Tui Pea Straw Mulch, to help keep their roots moist and keep your garden weed free.

Be vigilant and stop unwanted insects and diseases from ruining your plants. Slugs and snails can be an issue - lay Tui Quash slug and snail control around young plants.

When should I plant
  • Jan
  • Feb
  • Mar
  • Apr
  • May
  • Jun
  • Jul
  • Aug
  • Sep
  • Oct
  • Nov
  • Dec
  • Harvest in 60-70 days