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Caring for Kale.. Indoor or Out?

I was at a local grocery store one day last week, and a shopping cart full of Kale plants with red 99 cent stickers attached greeted me at the door.  I thought this very odd but pretty neat considering I'd never seen such a thing at a grocery store in my city--and it was super cheap, so why not take the plunge?  Albeit blindly, I bought one of these treasures and carried it home to my tiny but sunny little kitchen.  What to do now is all I'm worried about.  The variety I bought seems to fall under 'ornamental' kale (which is a little upsetting, I think.. doesn't that mean it's not edible?) but other than that I don't know much about it.  It says plant outside in sun or part sun, 'best color in cool weather'... but the growing season is pretty well over here and I'm afraid if I put it in the garden it'll just wither and die and not come back.

Any ideas?  I was hoping to keep it inside.. and I was also hoping to eat it, but now I'm not sure I can do either (it seemed so promising a purchase at the time, I swear!).  It's called a Nagoya Red Flowering Kale.  Help!  I hope the grocery store hasn't proved me a chump by selling me an inedible annual at the end of its lifetime!

I don't know where you live, but it is my understanding that kale is a winter crop and even tastes better (sweeter) after a frost--I've even read putting whole leaves in the freezer briefly will improve their flavor.  Here in Las Vegas (not a cold climate, I know), we grow kale in our garden throughout the winter from seed (and it does ocassionally drop below freezing).  Ornamental kale is grown everywhere here in the winter: from family gardens to casino landscaping and is a beautiful plant and is also edible. We can harvest our kale from late November-March, though it may work better in early winter or early spring in colder climates (I've lived here my whole life and don't really know about anything except desert gardening).  I'm not sure if it would do well indoors. Try googling "ornamental kale" or even your specific variety and see what info you can get.  For 99 cents, if you blow it--no big deal, right?  Good luck.



LOL, I just read your profile and realized you are from Newfoundland, Canada--can't get much different from Las Vegas desert weather.  Honestly, I have no idea how to grow anything in a climate so different from my own. For all I know your kale would be better indoors even though it is a cool-season crop.  Well, take anything I just said with a grain of salt, except that ornamental kale, if you can grow it, is edible. :)


Elizabeth:  Here is what I wrote before your second reply!  I think I might try  growing it outside anyway.. seeing as it was only a dollar I've not got much to lose!  I'll consider it a learning experience--it'll help me figure out how I might grow kale in this type of climate.

Thanks so much for the reply, Elizabeth!  I live on the eastern tip of Newfoundland, in our capital city, St. John's.  We may start getting snow any day now, however it typically doesn't really threaten until late November/early December.  I do remember winters where we didn't see snow until January, too.  Winters on this part of the island are relatively mild and wet (super slushy from all the snow mixed with above 0 temperatures).  Wikipedia says this about our climate:
"Canada, St John's is the cloudiest (only 1,497 hours of sunshine a year), foggiest (124 days a year), windiest (24.3 km/h; 15.1 mph average), snowiest (359 cm; 11.8 ft), and wettest (1,514 mm; 59.6 in). However, St. John's has the third mildest winter in comparison to other Canadian cities."
The weather sounds pretty great, huh? (:  It's really not all that bad, and the rest of the island gets much nicer weather than we do.

I did some googling and the consensus seems to be that you can't eat it but it makes a great decorative outdoor plant for the colder months.  My plant pales in comparison to the full and vibrant mature kale seen in pictures online, but I'm hoping it might fill in once I put it in my garden (although I have read that once it has been potted it doesn't grow much bigger after being planted).  If it's true that the variety I have is inedible, I might now look into getting some edible kale seeds to sow outside seeing as it appears relatively easy to propagate.  I think the 99 cents went quite far afterall, it seems to have sparked my interest in growing some kale of my own.  Again, thanks for the great reply!

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