Photo Credit: Farm with a View
Kale seeds are tiny and my fingers are big. Getting a single kale seed planted and spaced several inches apart, as all the guides suggest, is a particular challenge for me. I try scattering the seeds along neat rows. In past years, I’ll follow up the initial over-planting with a pass with scissors – cutting out seedlings so that the remaining plants are several inches apart.
As I’ve learned, the more space each plant has, the bigger it grows. The plants don’t have to work as hard to spread their roots to grab nutrients and water from the soil. This is a classic example of “less is more.” The less I crowd the plants the more vegetables I harvest.
This year, I tried a new experiment. Instead of cutting out seedlings, I let the plants grow half a dozen leaves. At this point, the hardy plants have already announced themselves, and the runts are starting to whither. I still have to thin, but instead of cutting out healthy plants, I dug them up and replanted them several inches away.
I worried that the kale plants would still be too fragile and would not survive the disruption. Though they did wilt briefly, within several hours and a gentle rainfall, they perked up quite nicely.