How to Grow Kale Hydroponically (Steps and Explanation)

It’s no secret that kale is a superfood. This leafy green is packed with nutrients and a great addition to any diet. But did you know that you can also grow kale hydroponically?

This process can take as little as two weeks, and the results are a delicious, nutritious crop of kale that can be harvested repeatedly. You can also try growing other leafy greens this way, such as spinach, lettuce, or chard.

What Is Kale, and Why Is It a Superfood?

Kale is a type of cabbage that belongs to the Brassica oleracea species. This leafy green vegetable is available in two main varieties: curly kale and lacinato kale (also known as dinosaur or Tuscan kale).

Kale is an excellent source of vitamins A, C, and K. It’s also a good source of manganese, copper, calcium, potassium, iron, and phosphorus. Plus, it contains some protein and fiber.

The health benefits of kale include cancer prevention, detoxification support, cholesterol reduction, anti-inflammatory properties, and more.

How to Set up A Hydroponic Garden for Kale

You’ll need to set up a hydroponic garden to grow kale hydroponically. This can be done using various methods, but the deep water culture (DWC) method is the most common.

Here’s what you’ll need to set up a DWC system:

  • A container (any size will do, although larger containers will obviously yield more kale)
  • An air pump
  • Air stones
  • Growing media (many people use clay pellets or perlite)
  • Nutrient solution
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Once you have all of your supplies, follow these steps to set up your DWC system:

  1. Fill your container with water and add the nutrients. The ideal nutrient solution for kale is high in nitrogen.
  2. Attach the air pump to the container and add the air stones.
  3. Fill the grow bag with your chosen growing media.
  4. Place the grow bag in the container, ensuring the roots are submerged in water.
  5. Turn on the air pump and let it run for 24 hours to oxygenate the water.
  6. After 24 hours, check the roots of your kale plants. If they are white and healthy, your system is working correctly. If they are brown or mushy, there is not enough oxygen in the water, and you’ll need to add more air stones.
  7. Monitor the pH of your nutrient solution regularly and adjust as needed. For example, the ideal pH for kale is between 6.0 and 7.0.
  8. Harvest your kale when it reaches the desired size. Kale can be harvested as early as two weeks after planting but will continue to grow larger if left in the system longer.

With time and effort, you can quickly grow kale hydroponically at home. This method is not only efficient but also yields a delicious, nutritious crop that can be harvested over and over again.

How to Harvest Your Kale Grown Hydroponically

Kale can be harvested as early as two weeks after planting, but it will continue to grow larger if left in the system longer. When kale is ready to harvest, the leaves will be dark green and slightly crisp to the touch.

Cut the leaves from the stem to harvest your kale using sharp scissors or a knife. Be sure to leave at least 2-3 inches of the stem intact so the plant can continue growing.

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After harvesting, rinse the kale leaves thoroughly with clean water to remove any dirt or debris. Pat them dry with a clean towel and store them in a container in the fridge for up to a week.

Enjoy your delicious, homegrown kale!

Tips for Maintaining Your Kale Hydroponic Garden

To keep your kale hydroponic garden thriving, there are a few things you need to do regularly:

  • Monitor the pH of your nutrient solution and adjust as needed. For example, the ideal pH for kale is between 6.0 and 7.0.
  • Test your nutrient solution’s electrical conductivity (EC) regularly and adjust as needed. For example, a general range for kale is 1.8-2.2 EC.
  • Check the roots of your plants regularly and prune them if necessary. This will ensure they get enough oxygen and prevent them from becoming waterlogged.
  • Harvest your kale regularly to encourage new growth. Kale can be harvested as early as two weeks after planting but will continue to grow larger if left in the system longer.

What Are the Benefits of Growing Kale Hydroponically?

There are many benefits of growing kale hydroponically, including:

Faster growth

Kale grown hydroponically can mature up to 25% faster than plants grown in soil.

Better yields

Hydroponically grown kale can produce up to 30% more leaves than plants grown in soil.

Less water usage

Hydroponic systems can use up to 90% less water than traditional gardening methods.

Fewer pests and diseases

Because hydroponic systems rely on sterile growing conditions, they are less susceptible to pests and diseases.

Year-Round Production

With the proper setup, you can grow kale hydroponically indoors all year round!

With so many benefits, it’s no wonder why more and more people are choosing to grow kale hydroponically. So give it a try today and see for yourself!

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How to Grow Other Leafy Greens Hydroponically

Kale is not the only leafy green that can be grown hydroponically. In fact, many other leafy greens, such as spinach, lettuce, and chard, can also be grown using this method.

The steps for growing these plants are similar to those for kale, but there are a few key differences to keep in mind:

Spinach

  • The ideal pH range for spinach is 6.0-7.0.
  • The ideal EC range for spinach is 1.8-2.2.

Lettuce

  • The ideal pH range for lettuce is 5.5-6.5.
  • The ideal EC range for lettuce is 1.5-2.0.

Chard

  • The ideal pH range for chard is 6.0-7.0.
  • The ideal EC range for chard is 1.8-2.2.

You can grow different types of leafy greens using a little effort by hydroponically cultivating them at home. This technique is efficient and produces crops that are both delicious and nutritious.

What Are Some Recipes that Include Kale or Other Leafy Greens that Can Be Grown Hydroponically?

Now that you know how to grow leafy greens hydroponically, you may wonder what to do with all your delicious, homegrown produce. Here is one recipe to get you started:

Sauteed Kale

Ingredients

  • 1 bunch of kale, washed and dried
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Optional: 1/4 cup of chicken or vegetable broth

Instructions

  1. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat.
  2. Add garlic and saute until fragrant.
  3. Add the kale and toss to coat with olive oil and garlic.
  4. If using, add the chicken or vegetable broth.
  5. Cover the skillet and cook for 5-7 minutes, or until the kale is wilted.
  6. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  7. Serve immediately.