Looking for tips on how to grow hydroponic kale? You’ve come to the right place. Kale is often touted as a mystical, healing superfood.
While it’s true that kale is loaded to the brim with nutrients (and is quite tasty, to boot!) the good news is that it’s also easy to grow at home.
You can easily cultivate kale in your backyard garden, but learning how to grow kale hydroponically is a great way to improve your yields - and grow a bountiful harvest regardless of what your outdoor conditions look like.
If you’re ready to learn how to grow kale hydroponically, that’s great news. Here’s what you need to know to get started.
Should You Learn How To Grow Kale Hydroponically?
If you’re thinking about starting a hydroponic garden, kale is perhaps one of the best vegetables you can grow.
Not only does it flourish when grown indoors, but it also offers excellent yields without a ton of care.
What Are The Benefits Of Growing Kale Hydroponically?
There are lots of benefits associated with growing kale hydroponically. Not only can you harvest kale when fully grown, but you can also harvest it early, as microgreens to enjoy.
The health benefits of kale are widely-known. In fact, it’s viewed as one of the most nutrient-dense foods.
There is a misconception out there that hydroponically-grown vegetables, including kale, are not as nutritious as those grown in a traditional setting.
Fortunately, that is simply not the case. Your kale will be as nutritious as you make it, since hydroponically-grown vegetables create their own nutrients from the nutrient solution in which they are grown.
Another benefit of growing kale hydroponically is that you will know exactly how it was grown - and you’ll have full control over the entire process. And let’s not forget how fun it is, either!
How Long Does It Take To Grow Kale Hydroponically?
If you’re interested in harvesting baby or microgreens from your kale plants, you will find them ready to harvest in just a few weeks.
For mature plants, give yourself at least three months to harvest. Once the plants are mature, though, you can continue to come back for additional cuttings.
How To Grow Kale Hydroponically - Step By Step Guide
Ready to start learning how to grow kale hydroponically? Here is a step-by-step guide to help you get started.
Start By Choosing The Best System For Growing Kale Hydroponically
There are several hydroponics systems you can use to grow kale hydroponically. Here’s a quick overview.
Hydroponic DWC Systems
Without a doubt, DWC, or deep water culture, systems are some of the easiest for novice hydroponic growers to get the hang of.
These systems work by suspending the roots of your plants directly in a solution of nutrients and water.
This solution is kept in a hydroponic reservoir, eliminating the need for a water pump since the plants’ roots remain in the reservoir forever.
Instead, an air stone and air pump deliver oxygen to the root zone to prevent them from drowning in the solution.
DWC hydroponic systems tend to be low maintenance and are easy to get started - especially if you invest in a full kit from Hydrobuilder.
At Hydrobuilder, we offer entire kits that include stands, trays, and all other materials you need. We have a wide range of these, too, many of which are customizable to meet your needs and come in a wide range of sizes.
Shop our DWC collection to find everything you need.
Hydroponic NFT Systems
It is a lightweight, easy to assemble kind of system that saves water, nutrients, and growing media. It is highly efficient and perfect for environmentally-conscious growers.
You can find full NFT (nutrient film technique) systems and modular components by shopping at Hydrobuilder. We offer everything you need to get started right away.
How Do You Start Hydroponic Kale?
Kale lends itself well to hydroponics since you can grow it from seeds or by cloning an existing kale plant.
In most cases, starting from seed will be the most convenient option. Your seeds will germinate best at temperatures between 60-75 degrees Farhenheit.
However, these cold-hardy seeds can often be germinated at cooler temperatures, too, albeit at a lower rate of germination.
Soak your starter cubes in non-chlorinated water, then insert seeds into the cubes. You can put four seeds per cube, since not all will germinate, and simply pinch off extras later on.
Put these cubes on a grow tray and water them daily with ¼ strength nutrient solution. They usually take up to a week to germinate.
After you sow seeds and they have germinated in soil, give them four or five days to mature a bit before you transplant into your hydroponic system.
They should have three to four true leaves before you put them in the system. You’ll find everything you need to start seeds or to clone your kale plants by shopping our extensive collection at Hydrobuilder.
How Much Light Does Hydroponic Kale Need?
Whichever option you choose, just make sure you leave enough room between the overhead lighting and the plants so you don’t burn the leaves.
You also need to be aware of the environmental conditions for growing kale hydroponically. Temperatures should be kept cool, with most kale plants doing best under 65 degrees Fahrenheit.
Although the taste of kale improves with a bit of cooler weather, you should never let the temperatures in your grow room drop below 40 degrees, as this can stunt your plants growth.
Tips For Growing Hydroponic Kale Indoors
Hydorponic kale plants should be grown in a nutrient solution that has a pH between 5.5 and 6.5. Use a nutrient solution that is formulated specifically for kale or other cruciferous vegetables - this can help you prevent burning the plant with too much nitrogen.
These solutions also tend to supply magnesium sulfate and calcium (if these aren’t included in your nutrient solution, you can always add them separately).
If you need to grow your kale plants in lower-light conditions, reduce the amount of nitrogen and potassium you use to fertilize your plants.
On average, you should fertilize and change out your nutrient solution about once per week.
However, it’s important that you test your solution regularly (every day if possible) to make sure your pH and EC are up to snuff. Read our guide on how to adjust pH for more information on this.
Keep your plants spaced at least a foot and a half apart. Although this might seem like an excessive amount of space when your plants are just seedlings, you’ll appreciate the wiggle room as the plants mature.
How To Harvest Your Hydroponic Kale
You can harvest your hydroponic kale as soon as 20-30 days after you have transplanted the plants into the hydroponic system.
Just keep in mind that you will be harvesting baby kale at this time, which will be much more tender but smaller in size. Mature kale will be ready in three to four months.
Simply cut leaves as they mature, never removing more than a third of the plant at once, to allow it to continue to grow and produce a bountiful, unlimited harvest for you in the future.
Final Thoughts On How To Grow Hydroponic Kale From Home
Now that you know how to grow hydroponic kale from reading the tips in this article, chances are, you’re chomping at the bit to get started.
Not so fast! You need to make sure you’re outfitted with all the right gear before you get going.
Enter - Hydrobuilder. We offer a one-stop-shop for all of your hydroponic growing needs. Shop our extensive selection of equipment, nutrients, and more.
We have the lowest prices and the best customer service to make your shopping experience quick and painless - even enjoyable!