Dwarf curly kale problems


Hi, I planted dwarf curly kale in a container (on our deck).
a) I wondered why the leaves are such a pale green and not a robust dark green
b) the very edges of the curly leaves sometimes turn a whitish colour
c) any suggestion to keep japanese beetles off kale
I live near Brantford (am I still allowed to ask) I put yes below, is that near enough to Toronto?

Thank you! Marlene


Thank you for writing re your issues with growing kale.

Kale is a member of the cabbage  family. Common varieties are smooth-leaf, or crinkled-leaf, and also the Brassica Oleracea Acephala ‘Dwarf Blue Curled Scotch, likely your variety.

Many reputable seed houses endorse container planting in 5-gallon containers, aiming for approx. 24″ deep, and 24″ wide, or greater. How large is your container, and how many plants did you plant? Water evaporates from containers at a much higher rate than from ground soil, so remain vigilant that the soil remains moist, but not waterlogged. Do you have a saucer under the pot, to retain water, for the bottom roots to draw up?

As you report, the plants’ leaves are not the deep bluish-green they should be. Have you fertilized your plants: if not, they could be suffering from a nitrogen deficiency — the brassica family have big appetites, and need to be fed. Choose a well-balanced, nitrogen strong, product at a nursery, and take care to follow the feeding/watering directions to the ‘T’.

Brassicas are notorious for having a large number of insect pests on their hit list. See HERE for another article from our library providing help to other gardeners with kale issues. As your plants are in a container and isolated on a deck, you have the advantage of being able to remove insects you find (early morning is best) and put them into a jar of soapy water. This is the most effective way to control Japanese beetle.

You are very welcome, and hopefully you can bring your kale around to better health.