Red Russian Kale has flat leaves with purple veins and are slightly incised on the ends. Leaves resemble large oak leaves. The purple color will deepen and intensify with frost. Red Russian is extremely cold-tolerant and has been noted to tolerate temperatures down to -10 degrees Fahrenheit. This variety has a thinner leaf and is more tender than most kale. It is a great selection for harvesting baby leaves or bunches. The smaller leaves are mild and a great accent to any salad.
Red Russian Kale is a multiple harvest crop that will keep producing throughout the entire year. It is a cold-tolerant crop, but is also resistant to bolting during warmer months. If planted in early spring, it can often be grown throughout the entire year. It can also be planted in fall and will produce throughout the winter and into spring. Harvest the bottom leaves, keeping a few leaves at the top so the plant can continue to photosynthesize and grow. After multiple harvests, plants will resemble a mini palm tree with stalks that continue to grow upward and produce new leaves. Stalks can get as tall as 4-5′ in some cases.
Red Russian Kale may be direct-seeded or transplanted, although we recommend transplanting. Transplanting allows for more consistent plant spacing and prevents seedlings from competing with weeds in the early stages of the plant. We recommend starting transplants 3-4 weeks before the desired outdoor planting date. Kale transplants grow great in our heavy-duty seed starting trays, where they develop a solid root ball with roots that are trained to grow downward. Plants are ready to go in the ground when they can be easily pulled from the cells in the seed starting tray.
Red Russian Kale Planting Information
Planting Method: direct seed or transplant
When to Plant: early spring and fall
Planting Depth: 1/4″
Seed Spacing: 12″
Row Spacing: 2-3′
Days to Maturity: 65
Disease Tolerance: None