Too much water can result in root rot, your plant will droop if you provide too little water and just enough water won’t help in developing root system.
So, it is essential to provide balanced water or moisture to kale.
You must consider various factors before setting up a watering schedule for your vegetable plants.
A simpler way to determine how often to water kale is to insert your index finger in the soil up-to first knuckle. If you find the soil is moist, then the plant has enough water. In case you find the soil dry, water generously.
According to few gardening experts, this vegetable plant needs 1 to 1 ½ inch of water weekly. But, this is when you’re not living in tropical climates. High temperature in your zone can evaporate the water and the kale plant may face underwatering issue.
This is why it is essential that you learn about the kale plant.
Temperature, Light, Water and Soil
As an edible plant kale needs moist soil most of the time. Loose well-drained soil that is rich in organic matter will help kale to grow healthy leaves.
This plant is regarded as cool weather vegetable plant. So, it can tolerate cold weather and frost to some extent. However, heavy frost can damage the plant.
Optimal soil temperature to grow kale ranges from 60F to 65F. High weather conditions may turn kale leaves bitter.
Like most vegetable plants, kale also needs 6-8 hours of direct sunlight to thrive. However, it can also do well in partial shade.
If your region is hot, use a shade cloth to save the kale plant from harsh sun in afternoon.
As mentioned above, soil should drain well. Gardening experts recommend using potting soil mix that has perlite, garden soil, organic matter and peat moss.
Note: Choosing wrong growing medium (soil) to plant your kale can result in overwatering and root rot.
Also Read: How Long Does it Take for Kale to Grow?
How Does Water Help a (Kale) Plant?
Water ensures that nutrients and dissolved sugar in the soil are transferred to plant through its root system.
Water requirement of plants differ depending on the variety, temperature and location (container or outdoor).
Through the roots water enters stem, leaves and it strengthens the plant to stand. If you underwater a plant it gets malnourished and starts drooping.
Apart from this, regular watering kale plant can help to reduce temperature.
To have healthy looking kale plant leaves, you must water it balanced.
How Often to Water Kale Plant?
If you didn’t skip above lines, then you already know the answer. Anyway, there is something more that need to be included to this topic.
What is the best time to water kale plants? How does water quality affect the plant growth?
You all knew the importance of water in photosynthesis. Without water your plant will not be able to produce food and this will eventually kill the plant.
Before moving forward, for second time I’d like to highlight about watering kale plant.
- In cold weather, you can water kale plant 2 to 3 times weekly. To ensure the soil has enough water, check for moisture by inserting your index finger in it.
- In summer, you might have to water daily. You can use mulch to preserve the moisture from evaporating to atmosphere.
- As mentioned, this plant can tolerate mild winter. Gardeners living in USDA zones 7 to 9 can grow kale in winter provided with adequate water.
Note: Though it can survive little frost, you must use frost blanket to save kale plants. Heavy frost or snow will damage the plant.
When to plant?
So, plant kale in spring for a summer harvest or late-summer for a fall harvest.
Also Read: How Often to Water Sweet Potatoes?
Best Time to Water Kale
Watering early morning will ensure the extra water gets evaporated and the plant gets moisture for the complete day.
When the weather is cool, water your kale plant generously till you see the excess water is drained through hole.
If you planted your kale outdoors, then make sure the soil is loose and water at the base of the plant.
You can also water your plant late afternoon, when the heat of sun is passed but some sunlight is left. This will give plenty of time for the plant to absorb water without evaporation escape.
However, while watering in early evening make sure the plant gets enough time to dry its leaves. Damp leaves can attract fungal infestation.
Using drip irrigation system you can water your plants in the morning and in evening, without bothering about damp leaves. As, this watering system won’t make the leaves wet.
Overwatering and Underwatering – Avoid Them
Signs of overwatering are your plant leaves start to turn yellow and you can find a layer of alage on surface of the soil. Plant experience stunted growth.
To recover from overwatering, you must stop watering and allow the soil to dry under sunlight.
Underwatering your plants will lead to drooping and tips of leaves turn yellow, which is accompanied by stunted growth.
Start watering your plant regularly without delay to recover from underwatering.
Growing Kale Tips
It’s incredible and satisfying to watch something that you’ve planted grow.
You can either start sowing outdoors or allow them to germinate indoors and transplant later.
While transplanting kale seedlings, you shouldn’t at once plant outdoors. You must allow the plant to become hardy to climatic conditions.
- As mentioned above, choose organic rich loose well-drained soil.
- Water the plant every day if you’re living in hot region.
- In colder weather, you can reduce watering frequency.
- Kale needs full sun of 6-8 hours. It does well in direct bright sun. But, you must protect it from harsh afternoon sun using shade cloth.
- Though the plant can survive little frost, save the plant using frost cover.
- This is a cold-weather crop. So, prolonged exposure to hot sun can make the kale bitter.
- You can use hay grass for mulching to increase the soil moist.
- In case you planted kale outdoors, create depression around the plant so that the water sits and root gets enough time to absorb.
- For deep watering, you can try waffle gardening to ensure the soil is moist for longer time.
- Athens is the common pest that affects kale plant. Fortunately, natural predators like lady bugs help to gets rid of these pests.
- Fertilize your kale with natural fertilizers like neem oil spray.
- After two months of planting kale, you can start harvesting your plants.
- To harvest, cut or trim the leaves from the bottom. As you harvest, new leaves starts to grow.
- Colder the temperatures, the sweeter your kale gets.
Proper balanced watering is essential to produce healthy kale leaves. Excess watering can result in root rot and underwatering the plant will lead to drooping of leaves. As mentioned, watering frequency depends on climatic conditions of your region.
But, simple way is to water your plant when you find 1 inch of soil is dry. While watering allow excess water to drain out of the hole.