Companion Plants for Kale | How to Plant and Grow Your Kale - Krostrade

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Companion Plants for Kale | How to Plant and Grow Your Kale

It seems that everyone is obsessed with this leafy green superfood from kale smoothies and salads to kale chips and tacos. Kale is a delicious vegetable that’s packed with vitamins and nutrients your body needs. Even though you always see this vegetable in the supermarket, there’s something different about growing and planting your own kale. It tastes better, it’s free from harmful pesticides, and it’s more sustainable. 

If you’re planning to grow and harvest kale in your backyard, you need to know important factors, such as the different types of kale, companion plants for kale, and more. 

How to Plant and Grow Your Kale

Different Types of Kale and Its Benefits 

Kale is undeniably one of the healthiest and most nutritious green leafy vegetables. It contains vitamins A, K, C, and B6, as well as calcium, copper, manganese, magnesium, and potassium. Kale can also help lower cholesterol, reducing the risk of heart disease. It contains cancer-fighting nutrients like sulforaphane and an indole-3-carbine. 

If you’re looking to plant this superfood, it helps to know the different types of kale:

 

Curly Kale

Curly kales are the most recognizable type of kale, best known for its wavy leaves. We often see this type of kale served at restaurants or sold in supermarkets. It has a pale to deep green color and has large leaves with frilly edges and long stems. 

Just like other types of kale, curly kales have a high amount of essential nutrients and antioxidants, including potassium, vitamin K, vitamin B6, and vitamin C that’s higher than the ones in oranges. 

 

Baby Kale

As the name suggests, baby kales come from a young kale plant. It looks and tastes like curly kale, except that it has smaller and thinner leaves. It’s also one of the most common types of kales people find it grocery stores. Its mild and delicate flavor makes it ideal for eating raw. 

Even though baby kales are smaller than other kales, they’re rich in vitamin C, A, and K1. They also contain calcium and iron, making them an ideal to include in your daily diet.

 

Premier Kale/Early Hanover

The leaves of primer kale are smooth and have scalloped edges. Premier kale is rich in antioxidants, including beta-carotene, a plant pigment found in fresh fruits and vegetables. This antioxidant improves cognitive function, promotes good skin health, reduces macular degeneration, and prevents cancer. 

Many people say that premier kale is the most flavorful type of kale. It’s used in different dishes, including fresh salads, sandwiches, and sautéed vegetables. Most people like to eat it raw because premier kales are not as tough as other kale types. 

 

Walking Stick Kale

You can easily identify walking stick kale because of its height. Unlike other kales, walking stick kales can grow over six feet tall! Also, it isn’t called walking stick kale for no reason. You can actually use it as a walking stick by properly drying its long stem, laminate it, and then use it as a cane. 

While walking stick kales are impressively tall, growing this type of kale requires more care and attention than other types. The ideal overall climate has to be around 75 degrees Fahrenheit, the soil must be drained well, and there should be layers of organic compost. 

 

Redbor Kale

Redbor kale is not only delicious to eat, but it’s also beautiful to look at. This type of kale can be both an ornamental plant and a vegetable plant. It has a deep red color with dark purple undertones, and it has curly and frilly leaves. 

This type of kale is usually grown in gardens because of its ornamental value. During cold weather, the reddish leaves turn to violet. Its deep hues make an incredible plate décor. 

Aside from its beauty, redbor kale is also a great source of essential vitamins and nutrients, such as vitamin A, vitamin C, dietary fiber, potassium, iron, calcium, proteins, and magnesium. It also contains an important antioxidant called ALA (alpha-lipoic acid) that can help lower blood sugar levels and improve heart health. This can significantly benefit people with diabetes and heart problems. 

 

Red Russian Kale

This type of kale is known for its unique flavor that many people describe as sweet and tender with a peppery kick. This unique combination makes red Russian kale one of the sweetest kales, especially after frost. It’s delicious eaten raw, tossed in salads, and blended with other fruits and veggies. 

Just like other varieties, the red Russian kale is rich in vitamins and minerals. It even contains higher amounts of nutrients compared to other kales. It also improves bone health since this type of kale is exceptionally high in calcium. 

 

Tronchuda Kale

This Portuguese kale is the least common type of kale. 

It has thick, soft leaves that are perfect for juices and smoothies. Tronchuda kales have large, flat, and rounded leaves that look like collard. Its fleshy stems are edible as well. Compared to other kales, this one has a cabbage-like taste. 

This Portuguese kale is loaded with nutrients, plus it has a low-carb content, making it a perfect superfood. This kale may not be as common as curly kales or baby kales, but it’s a great plant with heat-tolerant properties. It’s relatively easy to grow as well

 

Chinese Kale

Chinese kale, also known as Chinese broccoli, is a leafy green vegetable that belongs to the cabbage family. This type of kale has a thick, flat, blue-green color with small flower heads that look similar to broccoli. Additionally, Chinese kale tastes just like broccoli. However, Chinese kale has a slightly bitter and stronger flavor than broccoli. AS a result, you’ll find many recipes substituting Chinese kale with broccoli. 

This kale variant is also rich in nutrients like vitamins A, vitamins C, iron, and calcium. Because of its strong taste, most people pair Chinese kale in sweetened sauces. 

 

Lacinto Kale

Also called Tuscan kale and dinosaur kale, lacinto kale is the second most popular type of kale. You’ll most likely find it in the vegetable section in most supermarkets. Lacinto kales have long, dark gray leaves that look aesthetically pleasing when you grow them in your backyard, whether in your garden or in a greenhouse. It has a dark color with a thin texture. Its bluish-green leaves are wrinkly, making them look nice when plated. 

 

Benefits of Companion Planting

If you’ve been planting for a long time, then you’ve probably heard of companion planting. 

Companion planting is a proven method of planting different crops near each other for various reasons, such as pollination, pest control, growth stimulation, habitat for helpful insects, and crop productivity. 

Some of the benefits of companion planting include the following:

 

Improve Soil Nutrients

Your crops take important nutrients from the soil to grow healthy. This is why gardeners take proactive steps to improve the soil’s nutrients. Companion plants like bush beans and pole beans can add nutrients, like nitrogen, back into the soil, ensuring that the surrounding plants grow healthy. 

 

Repel Pests

Pests like carrot flies, cabbage moths, cabbage worms, cucumber beetles, Mexican beetles, and other types of insects can harm your plants. You can plant companion plants around your crops to repel harmful pests.  

 

Attract Helpful Insects

While there are harmful pests, there are helpful insects as well. Pollinator bees and ladybugs can be beneficial when it comes to pollinating the crops. You can encourage these insects to visit by planting attractive flowers near your crops.

Provide Ground Cover

Some plants that spread low across the ground blankets over the soil. This protects the surrounding crops from too much heat, keeping it cooler for plants that prefer lower temperatures. Oregano, ferns, mondo grass, and creeping juniper are some examples of low-maintenance ground cover plants.

 

Markers

Rows of slow-growing plants may be hard to spot while you’re waiting for the seeds to sprout. When you plant fast-growing plants near slow-growing ones, you can separate and distinguish where the slow growers will be. 

 

Faster Growth and Better Taste

Some companion plants release chemicals that help hasten growth and or help crops taste better. 

 

Provide Shade

Tall and leafy companion plants can provide much-needed shade from the sun.

 

Companion Plants for Kale

Now that you know the importance of companion planting, you’ll need to know how to implement this method when planting kale. Be sure to avoid planting other brassicas near your kale, such as cauliflower, Swiss chard, Brussels sprouts, kohlrabi, and broccoli, because they may fall prey to the same pests and diseases. Here are some of the companion plants to plant near your kale:

 

Alliums

Chives, leeks, onions, and shallots are some examples of alliums. Planting them near kale will help repel common pests like cabbage loopers and aphids that munch on your kale leaves. 

 

Cilantro

 

People have mixed emotions when it comes to cilantro. But love it or hate it, cilantro is one of the best companion plants for kale. It attracts helpful insects like hoverflies that eat harmful pests like aphids. 

 

Legumes

Legumes like beans or bush beans can fertilize the soil around the kale by increasing the nitrogen content and helping your kale grow healthy and flavorful. 

 

Dill

Other than pickling, dill also makes an excellent companion plant for veggies, including kale. It helps attract pollinators that can aid in your plant’s growth, as well as beneficial insects that kill pests. Dill can also help protect your kale seedlings as they grow. 

 

Marigolds

Marigolds, sweet alyssum, and other flowers can attract hoverflies that eat aphids, harmful insects that can damage your kale plants. 

 

Buckwheat

Buckwheat is a ground cover plant that helps seal moisture in the soil and kills weeds that can hamper your kale’s growth. By planting it near your veggies, you can ensure that they grow in ideal conditions. Additionally, buckwheat attracts useful insects and enrich the soil with nitrogen. 

 

Catnip

Lastly, catnip is another great companion plant that can help different vegetables and flowers grow healthy. It protects your kale by repelling pests and attracting helpful insects. 

 

Growing Plants in Greenhouses

Planting in greenhouses is a great way to plant vegetables and flowers. Growing kale indoors means you don’t have to worry about the changing season and the erratic weather. By planting in greenhouses, you can ensure that your plants are protected from harsh weather conditions they usually face by being outdoors, such as wind, drought, heat, cold, pests, and other critters.  

Greenhouses allow you to create the optimal conditions for your kale and other crops. You can control different factors, such as temperature, light, moisture, humidity, fertilization, and irrigation. Additionally, you can be sure that your plants aren’t exposed to harmful chemicals and diseases. 

 

Growing Plants in a Greenhouse vs. Growing Plants Outdoors

There’s a difference between growing your vegetables outdoors and growing hem indoors. As mentioned, indoor planting allows you to control all the variables that contribute to your plants’ growth, such as light, humidity, water, temperature, and soil nutrients. 

When temperature, humidity, and moisture are controlled, this gives your plants a constant supply of moisture, reducing water stress and allowing your plants to grow freely. Additionally, growing plants in a greenhouse allow you to control the soil. Having the right type of soil can make or break your plants as it can prevent diseases and ward off pests compared. 

The only downside to having a greenhouse is the costs that come with it. However, greenhouses are an investment. If you’re willing to shell out money and invest in a greenhouse, it’s a better option than growing plants outdoors. 

However, planting outdoors has its advantages and disadvantages. With outdoor planting, your plants rely on soil moisture alone. Drought and other external factors may contribute to water stress, making it harder for your plants to thrive. 

On the other hand, outdoor plants get more sun, allowing them to grow bigger and stronger. Planting outdoors won’t cost you much as well. 

 

Final Thoughts

Greenhouses are a great way to plant kale and other types of companion plants for kale. If you’re looking for a low price and high-quality greenhouses, Krostrade offers affordable greenhouses ideal for people who want to grow their fruit and vegetables in their gardens. Our greenhouses are made with high-quality materials so you can use them for years to come. 

The greenhouse film is made with COEX-3 technology consisting of three layers. This creates a dense, heat-insulating dome that still allows 95% of natural sunlight. If you want to know more about our offer, don’t hesitate to contact us today.  

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How Long Do Azalea Bushes Bloom?

How Long Do Azalea Bushes Bloom?

If you’re trying to grow azaleas, you’re probably asking this question: How long do azalea bushes bloom? Before we get into that, you need to know more about this evergreen shrub.

 

Azaleas: The Basics

Countless gardening enthusiasts love azaleas because their presence can bring any garden to life. With their healthy and glossy green foliage and their brightly colored blooms that come in a variety of petal shapes, this type of rhododendron serves as one of the heralds of spring.

Although this favored garden guests come in many kinds, not all varieties can grow in the same region. However, as long as you choose the right tup of azalea variety, soil, as well as weather, and watering conditions, you can be sure that your azaleas will have what they need to thrive well and produce lots of flowers for months.

Among their distinguishing characteristics are their glossy, deep green-colored leaves that have small hairs on their surface. Furthermore, azaleas also feature single flowers instead of clusters.

 

Factors to Consider When You’re Growing Azaleas

Azaleas might be pretty, but if you’re not so sure about the factors you have to consider when you’re growing them, you won’t be able to make the most out of these plants.

 

Factor #1: They need a little love to get the best color

Azaleas may be one of the most reliable plants in your garden, but if you want them to show off their best colors and keep on producing the flowers you love, you need to give them some TLC. You can have the most blooms if you make sure that they get enough sun and get watered properly and on a regular basis.

 

Factor #2: The weather can influence their growth

Did you know that the weather conditions play a critical role in the bloom of your azalea? In case you’re not aware, the number of flowers they produce and the length of time they produce them are greatly affected when the temperatures dip. Expect their actual bloom dates to vary about a week or two.

The warmer the weather, the earlier their blooms erupt. What’s more, azaleas planted in these warmer areas bloom again in the fall.

 

Factor #3: There are over 900 species of them

You might be surprised to know that while azaleas have more than 900 species out there, you can find over 20,000 hybrids of Rhododendron spp., as well as azaleas. These all come in various shapes and sizes.

You can find azaleas that are both tall and spiky or bushy and small. They could look like they hug the ground or they could produce waves of gorgeous flowers dotting its canopy of deep green foliage.

 

How Long Do Azalea Bushes Bloom?

Generally, an azalea plant produces spectacular blooms for a period of three weeks during springtime. However, other types of azaleas also show off their gorgeous flowers during the summer depending on the region where they grow, as well as the weather.

In maritime and mild climates, the flowering season for azalea plants can be extended up to a period of seven months. On the other hand, azaleas that are planted in colder climates tend to have a shorter blooming time which could only range between three weeks to three months.

It’s best to select a type of azalea that blooms well during the milder months of the area where you plant them. To make this happen, make sure that you feed your azaleas with a balanced 15-15-15 fertilizer. In case you’re wondering, azalea plants will do well if they get more nitrogen.

 

 

Grow Your Precious Plants in a Mini Greenhouse!

If you don’t have enough space in your backyard, you might want to grow your plants in a mini greenhouse. Greenhouse gardening offers you loads of benefits that can help you take your gardening experience to the next level! Here are some of them:

 

Protection against bad weather conditions

Since a mini greenhouse is an enclosed space, you won’t have to worry about your plants when Mother Nature unleashes her fury. While other traditional outdoor gardeners get caught up making emergency preparations to ensure their plants’ safety, you can just sit back and wait for the storm to pass.

 

It keeps the pests and vermin away

Having a mini greenhouse can be a huge plus when it comes to protecting your plants from different types of destructive insects and animals. Your mini greenhouse serves as a barrier between your indoor garden and the pests.

 

You can control your plants’ growing environment

Creating an optimal growing environment for your plants will be much easier for you if you keep them in a mini greenhouse. Controlling the temperature, heat, and humidity levels inside the enclosed space won’t be difficult for you. What’s more, you can also choose to introduce beneficial insects to your garden to help your plant babies thrive well.

 

Extended growing seasons

With a mini greenhouse, you can effortlessly extend your plants’ growing seasons. It allows you to grow certain types of plants that aren’t native to your area.

 

Conclusion

Now that you finally know the answer to “How long do azalea bushes bloom?”, you might want to experience the wonderful benefits of greenhouse gardening today!

 

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