When And How To Harvest Purple Kale

Kale plants have curly leaves and include various color shades, including purple. You can easily grow kale plants in your backyard, and the time from sowing seeds to harvest takes three months or less.

If you are growing kale in the garden for the first time, you must be wondering when and how to harvest purple kale.

Kale usually leaves mature within 60-70 days after planting. A mature purple kale leaf usually grows two to three inches or about the size of a palm, and you need to harvest at this time. If you do late in harvesting, then the matured purple kale leaves will have a bitter taste.

The article discusses purple kale and its harvesting. So, keep reading this article to learn more about purple kale.

purple kale

How Can I Plant Purple Kale?

Purple kale is a relatively fast-growing vegetable. You can plant kale three to five weeks after the last frost. You need to sow seeds one-half to one inch deep into the soil. There must be at least two inches of distance between the two purple kale plants.

These plants require a good amount of sunlight to grow. Additionally, the soil must be high in nitrogen. So add a good amount of compost to the well-drained soil for proper plant growth.

Conditions Required For Growing Purple kale

1. Light

Purple kale plants require sunlight for at least 6-8 hours for proper growth. But if you live in extremely hot climates, try to cover the plant mainly in the afternoon. It is because too strong and harsh sunlight can wilt the foliage.

2. Water

You need to water regularly to kale. Ensure to keep the soil consistently moist. The moist soil helps in keeping the leaves sweet. Additionally, do soil mulching from time to time. It will help in keeping the soil cool and moist.

3. Temperature

Kale is a winter vegetable. The ideal soil temperature for growing kale is 60-65 degrees Fahrenheit. The plant can even handle a little frost once it matures. But if the plant is exposed to heavy frost, it will collapse.

4. Soil

Kale grows well on soil rich in organic matter and nitrogen for proper foliage growth. The PH of the soil must be between 6 to 6.5.

When should I Harvest Purple Kale?

Kale is a biennial plant. It grows leaves in the first year and seeds or flowers in the second year.

The purple kale plant becomes mature within 60-70 days of planting. The plant will be 12 inches in height at that time. The matured leaves will be almost the size of your palm, and you need to harvest the leaves at that time. People mainly prefer to eat matured purple kale leaves by cooking.

You can use it in soups to increase the taste. Simultaneously you can easily make kale chips at home. Simply toss the purple kale leaves with oil, put it in the oven, and set it at low temperature. Your crisp kale chips will be ready within a few minutes.

Well, you can harvest leaves even before this period. You can harvest baby kale leaves only 25-27 days after planting. The leaves are pretty soft and tender. People mainly prefer to use baby purple kale leaves in salads.

You should keep on harvesting kale leaves within a gap of a few days so that new leaves will keep on growing. If you don’t harvest for a prolonged time, then the leaves will slowly lose pigment and finally start falling from the plant.

How Should I Harvest Purple Kale?

Harvesting purple kale is quite simple. The harvesting period is usually in spring or early summer, and the second harvest season comes in autumn.

A healthy purple kale plant will have above ten leaves. The baby will be on the top and center, while the old, matured leaves will be at the bottom.

You need to snip off the leaves from the plant base with your hand or with garden shears. Never cut the roots or stem of the plant, as it can stunt its growth, or it will die.

Simultaneously always harvest matured purple kale leaves from the base of the plant.

You should always harvest from the outermost layer of the plant. Harvesting the old, matured and long leaves ensures that the plant will further grow new leaves.

Simultaneously, if you find any discolored or yellow color leaves, remove them when harvesting.

How Many Times Can I Harvest Kale?

You can harvest kale as many times as you want. However, you need to follow the correct steps while harvesting. Ensure the plant is healthy, and avoid picking leaves from the terminal bud.

The terminal bud is located at the center of the plant. If you harvest leaves from the center, it can affect the plant’s growth and its foliage.

You can harvest kale within two weeks and enjoy its foliage either in raw or cooked form.

How Should I Store Purple Kale Leaves?

  • Wash all the harvested purple kale leaves with cold water to remove all the dust and debris. Washing the leaves in hot water can cause wilting.
  • Remove stems from the leaves if you don’t want to eat them.
  • First, dry the leaves with the help of a paper towel and then allow them to air dry for 10-15 minutes.
  • Put all the leaves inside a plastic bag and place a paper towel on the side so that moisture cannot damage the leaves. Try to squeeze all the air from the plastic bag.
  • Keep the plastic bag inside the refrigerator and consume the leaves for almost two weeks.

How Can I Harvest Kale So That It Will Keep On Growing?

  • You should harvest leaves when it is almost mature. Maturing takes nearly 70 days after planting.
  • Harvest baby foliage only 25 days after planting
  • Always pick larger and older leaves.
  • Cut leaves from the base.
  • You should always cut one fistful of leaves in one harvest. If you cut more leaves at a time, then it can affect the plant’s growth and production.
  • You should do harvesting within a gap of one week. Continuous harvesting will help in growing more foliage.
  • Some people love to eat baby kale foliage compared to matured foliage. But only harvest baby foliage at a time.
  • Some people grow kale in the fall. We will recommend you harvest only after the first frost. Remember, little frost can make the leaves sweeter and tender compared to harvesting foliage in the spring.
  • You should remove the discolored leaves from the plant during harvesting. Leaving the ill and diseased leaves on the plant can take up the energy the healthy leaves utilize.
  • Detect the reason behind yellow leaves. It can be caused either by pests or by overwatering. Solve the issue accordingly.
  • Kale plants can last long on cold ground if you cover the plant with a hoop house. Well, you can even use a tarp to cover the plant.
  • Store the kale leaves properly after harvesting.

What Should I Do With Purple Kale Harvested Foliage?

Kale is a superfood for human beings. It is packed with various vitamins and antioxidants. The best thing about this plant is that the more leaves you harvest, the more it will grow healthy.

The leaves are nutritious, and you can consume them in raw or different cuisines. Purple kale leaves are primarily used in salads. It is because when you cook purple kale leaves, their color starts to fade.

What Should I Do If I Find Holes On The Kale Leaves?

Don’t panic by seeing the holes in the kale leaves. The leaves are affected by the pests in the garden, and they have created holes. Simply snip off the leaves on which you find holes. Check also the undersurface of the leaf. If you find any pests, then remove them by your hand.

The pests always affect the larger and outer leaf. Simply snip off the pest-affected foliage and take it inside your home. Wash the foliage thoroughly with water and consume it.

You will hardly find any holes in the small new foliage, usually at the plant center.

Is My Kale Plant Still Good After It Bears Flowers?

Yes, the kale plant is still good after it starts bearing flowers. The flowers will be sweet to taste if you have frost in your area.

Most people think that when the kale plant starts bearing flowers, then that’s the end of the season. But in reality, it is not so. The kale plant will continue to grow even after bearing flowers.


Purple Kale foliage is a powerhouse of various vitamins and minerals. You can easily grow them in your garden and add foliage to your favorite cuisines.

The cultivation and harvesting are pretty easy and simple. We recommend you follow the steps above to harvest properly and grow the purple kale plant in your garden.

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Hi, I am Dr. Aman Agarwal, a botanist from India. I love growing vegetables in my garden and sharing tips with others.
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