Are you curious to know how to grow kale in a hobby greenhouse? Kale plants thrive best in cold weather, so if you want to grow kale all year round, planting them inside a hobby polytunnel is a great option for the UK. Greenhouses allow gardeners in the United Kingdom to create their own microclimate. This means that even though it’s scorching hot outside, your kale will grow well inside a temperature-controlled greenhouse.
Generally, growing kale is relatively easy, and here’s a quick rundown on how to do that: The best way to grow kale is by giving them full sun and part shade during the day. They grow in soil mixed with nitrogen, potassium, and phosphorous. If you planted your kale directly into the ground, keep them 16 inches apart. Water them regularly, feed them with plant food, and harvest a handful of kale per plant throughout the growing season.
For a more in-depth approach, here’s how to grow kale in a greenhouse:
Step #1: Prepare the Soil
As mentioned, kale is easy to grow, and it will thrive in almost all soils, except the super dry ones. But just like other types of plants, soil preparation can significantly improve the quality and taste of your kale harvest. Add organic manure to your soil before planting the seeds.
For sowing directly into the soil
Clean your soil by removing stones, roots, and other debris from the seedbed. Till the soil to oxygenate it. Next, dig a centimetre-deep trench and carefully place your kale seeds inside. Lightly cover the seeds with soil and water until the soil is moist.
If you aren’t growing them in a greenhouse, you may need to cover your seeds with a cloche or netting to keep birds, insects, and other wildlife from digging into your seedbed. This is why it’s better to plant your kale in a hobby greenhouse.
For sowing into seed trays
If you prefer to use seed trays, fill them with soil and compost before sprinkling the seed on top. Cover the seeds with a layer of compost and place the tray inside the greenhouse. Water the soil to keep it moist, but make sure it isn’t drenched and soggy.
Step #2: Transplant Kale
After two to four weeks of indoor growing, you should be able to have kale seedlings. Keep in mind that the colder the weather, the longer it may take longer for kale to grow. However, if there are still no seedlings after six weeks, sow more.
For seed tray-grown kale, you’ll need to transplant them into its proper growing space to maximize growth potential. Kale needs sunlight, but it can also grow well under partial shade.
Step #3: Harvesting Kale
You can harvest kale leaves throughout the growing season, but ultimately, your plants will be ready to harvest when the leaves are as big as your palm. Start picking leaves at the plant base, but make sure to discard yellowed and slightly wilted leaves.
Don’t take many leaves during the first few pickings if you want your kale to produce more leaves. If you can wait until after the first frost, your kale will taste sweeter. But if the weather is mild and won’t change any time soon, it’s best not to wait.
Reasons Why a Hobby Polytunnel is a Great Option
Growing kale in a hobby polytunnel is better than growing them outdoors. Here’s why:
Reason #1: It protects your plants from common kale pests
Even though kale is one of the most pest-resistant plants, it can still attract its own fair share of pests. Cabbage aphids, cabbage worms, flea beetles, and harlequin bugs are some of the harmful insects that you would love to munch on your kale leaves. Keeping them inside a polytunnel lowers the risk of attracting these pesky insects.
Reason #2: It keeps your plants safe from harsh and unpredictable weather
Heavy rain, strong winds, storms, and excessive heat can easily stunt the growth of your plants. Keeping your kale inside a polytunnel makes it easier for you to grow kale even under unpredictable weather conditions. Remember that all it takes is a single storm to wipe out a month’s worth of hard work.
Reason #3: It’s perfect for UK gardeners with limited space
If you’ve always wanted to grow your own produce but can’t find the space, a hobby polytunnel allows you to plant kale and more even with limited space. A standard polytunnel size is around 6 feet tall – more than enough for the average homeowner. If you prefer a smaller size, there are smaller ones available as well. You can place your hobby polytunnel on your balconies, patios, decks, and even on tabletops.
Reason #4: It’s great for those who want to learn about polytunnel gardening
Hobby greenhouses are a cheaper alternative to larger, more permanent greenhouses. With that said, it’s a perfect solution for those who want to learn about polytunnel gardening.
Final Thoughts on How to Grow Kale in a Hobby Greenhouse
Now that you know how to grow kale in a hobby greenhouse, the next step is gathering your materials and starting planting. Whether you live in Arizona or Montana, you’ll be able to grow kale, as well as other different types of products, regardless of the weather. Make sure to keep these tips in mind when you decide to plant your first kale seeds.