Collard greens are a cool weather crop. Ready to add this nutritious leafy green to your vegetable patch? This disease also produces fluffy gray or white mold on the underside of leaves. The seeds will take four to seven days to sprout. Regardless of which veggie is the most “Southern,” it’s not without reason that collards are the state vegetable of South Carolina, and cities in Georgia celebrate the collard green with annual festivals! An heirloom collard variety that seems to do well pretty much everywhere is ‘Champion.’ This is a high-yielding type that is resistant to many diseases and grows to 34 inches tall. … Collard Nutrient Needs Collards are considered "medium feeders," meaning that they have moderate nutritional needs but that growers often still need to use fertilizer to ensure collard green health. Collards are frost tolerant, so growing collard greens in USDA growing zones 6 and below is an ideal late season crop. When your seedlings are ready to plant out, or if you purchased some from your local nursery, you’ll want to set the plants in the soil at about the same depth to which they were planted pre-transfer. ‘Georgia Southern’ is another heirloom type often grown in the South. So you can still collect and plant the seeds, but they will not produce a harvest identical to that of the mother plant. Growing Zones. Insecticidal soap may be effective on harlequin bug nymphs, but as the insects mature, you may have to turn to spinosad, a natural pesticide that can be found online or at garden centers. There may be no vegetable more closely associated with the American South than collard greens. Do not wash the greens before putting them in the bag, and squeeze out as much air as possible as you seal it. The leaves are very big, but I want it to be so when I’m done they will grow back with more leaves. Economically disadvantaged descendents of other nations who populated the American South also appreciated collards’ nutrition and ease of growth, and became heavy consumers of the leafy green, as well. Drawing on cultural wisdom passed down from their ancestors, the enslaved people knew that leafy greens were nutritive, a quality that must have been appealing to these people, who history teaches us were often malnourished. We occasionally link to goods offered by vendors to help the reader find relevant products. Use about one cup of fertilizer for each 10 feet of row. Let me show you how to get started Growing Collard Greens In Containers. I am about to pick my collard greens. Known for its exceptional flavor, Burpee rates this cultivar as “Best in Class.”. Collards need about 80 days to mature from seed to harvest, but this can vary by variety, so check the back of your seed packet or plant pick. A former garden editor for a daily newspaper in Austin, Texas, Gretchen Heber goes through entirely too many pruners and garden gloves in a year’s time. Make sure soil is rich in organic material. Collards can be grown in containers that are at least a foot deep. Planting Collards. Facts about Collard greens: It would take at least 2 to 3 months to grow Collard greens starting from the germination of seeds to the stage of harvesting. Collard greens are well loved in other parts of the world too, with several African nations favoring the vegetable, as well as Brazil, Portugal, and the Kashmir region of Pakistan and India. Because no one wants to deal with 30 heads of lettuce or too many greens to freeze all at once. Collard Greens. In general, spring crops are started indoors, whereas as fall crops are directly sown. The flowers are small and attract bees, but the plant’s leaves will take a bitter turn when it bolts. From these widespread and various parts of the world, they eventually traveled to the American South. Keep this in mind if you opt to plant in containers or raised beds. It can grow to four to six feet tall. Like many other cool-season crops, they will bolt or produce a flower stalk if exposed to a prolonged cold period following a favorable growing period. Collard greens are well loved i… Because how fun does that sound?! They are also susceptible to fungal diseases. Drain the greens thoroughly, blot them dry with paper towels, and then package them in a plastic storage container or zipper bag, removing as much air as possible. If hungry deer are a big problem for you, you might want to read this article about building a deer fence next. This one is ready to harvest in about 80 days, and is slow to bolt. GARDENER'S PATH® IS A REGISTERED TRADEMARK OF ASK THE EXPERTS LLC. Greens have been all the rage for the past decade and for excellent reason. You’ll see multiple little holes in the leaves, particularly in those of young plants. Hardiness: Hardy biennial (plant that requires two growing seasons to complete its life-cycle) but treated as an annual. You can get a one-ounce package of these seeds from Eden Brothers. They will store well in the freezer for about a year if prepped this way. After washing, remove the tough center stem. Plant collard greens in spring 3 to 4 weeks before the last frost. You’d be surprised at how many greens can be harvested in frosts and even snow! Its leaves grow in a rosette. You might also like to try the recipe for creamed collard greens, from our sister site, Foodal. You’ll be able to enjoy your harvest about 75 days after planting. acephala) are leafy forms of the same species as broccoli, cauliflower and cabbage.Collards produce large, smooth, thick leaves, while kale leaves are curly, ruffled or lobed on the edges. Collards can reach 20-36 inches in height and 24-36 inches in width. The Spruce / K. Dave. Keep in mind that seeds from most hybrids won’t reproduce true to type. In other zones they may be grown as annuals. Some of these links may be affiliate in nature, meaning we earn small commissions if items are purchased. For a spring planting, you’ll want to transplant as soon as the soil has warmed to about 45°F, assuming you have enough time before air temperatures hit 85°F. Find seeds for ‘Champion’ at Eden Brothers. In this case, you do want to wash them very thoroughly before storing. Virginia gardeners can plant collards … Wait until late summer or early fall to plant. They can be produced locally year-round in controlled environment greenhouses in hydroponics. Sow several seeds and thin perhaps less aggressively than you would thin ground-planted seedlings, assuming you’re going for that bursting-at-the-seams look. These are products that I've used or recommend based from homesteading experience. Collard greens planting may also be done in early spring for a summer harvest, but adequate moisture is necessary for collards greens growing successfully in summer heat. 7 of the Best Collard Greens Varieties to Grow at Home, How to Manage a Spotted Lanternfly Infestation, Why Won’t My Broccoli Form Heads? Dig holes in the prepared soil approximately 18 to 24 inches apart -- collard plants grow 2 to 3 feet tall and about 18 inches wide. This variety has broad and thick blue-green leaves that regrow easily, with narrow stalks. As the plant becomes increasingly ill, it will wilt, turn brown, and die. Dig out rows in the soil if you are planting the collards in the ground. Use insecticidal soap, neem oil, or spinosad to control thrips. There are also many techniques to grow fresh greens. Another important criterion for growing collards greens is moisture. Depending on where you live, you might be able to do a spring planting of collards, though these greens won’t have the benefit of a sweetening frost. If you’d like to grow a variety of greens, check out these articles: Ask the Experts, LLC. The plants are grown mainly for their large and dark-colored edible leaves and also grown as a garden ornamental. In this edition, I want to share the joy I have experienced in letting my collard greens grow to their full flowering stage. The exact origin of collards is unknown, and as far as botanical experts can… Read more ». Then, try insecticidal soap or neem oil; these are particularly effective on the larval form of the pest. Growing up in a farming community, collards were a staple on many kitchen tables in the fall/winter. Dig the soil as deep as possible or at least 10 inches. Quick Guide to Growing Collards. If you’d like to collect seeds, stop watering after the plant bolts. Collard roots can grow two feet deep, so be sure your planting bed has plenty of depth. Watch for pests, perhaps implementing a row cover to help ward off bugs. Planting: In spring, plant seeds as soon as soil can be worked (3 to 4 weeks prior to frost date).Or start seeds indoors and plant 3 to 4 week old transplants into garden soil. Romans, too, cultivated and ate many leafy greens, including collards. leaf spot produces brown-tan concentric spots with yellow edges on leaves; you may also see brown to black lesions with a black border on the plant’s roots. If all goes well, harvested collard greens will be smooth, large and nutritious. Growing Collard Greens for the Fresh and Processing Markets 2 fresh-market product cost, with growers often doing their own shipping and marketing to further control costs. Yellow specks on leaves may be a symptom of a thrip infestation. Collards (Brassica oleracea, Acephala Group) are cool-season plants that should be grown in early spring or fall. To do this, experts recommend folding the leaf in half lengthwise, inward along the stem, grasping the leaf in one hand and and the stem in the other, and ripping up on the stem to tear it away. Soil preparation . Collards need a deep soil that is well drained and well prepared. Let’s discover more about this leafy green! You can harvest the entire plant, or you can simply cut off outer leaves as needed, allowing the plant to continue growing. This is an important consideration for cultivation in the South, where high humidity offers fungal diseases a welcoming environment. Collard greens takes over 60 days to mature. 9 Essentials for Optimal Broccoli Head Formation, 11 of the Best Blue Asters to Add to the Garden, 15 of the Best Brussels Sprout Varieties to Grow at Home, How to Grow Fall-Blooming Japanese Anemone Flowers, How to Use Streptomyces lydicus to Control Fungal Plant Diseases, 9 Causes of Deformed Carrots: How to Prevent Forking, Branching, Twisted, and Knobby Root Vegetables, Yellowjacket Identification, Facts, and Control Measures, How to Plant and Grow Ginger in Your Home Garden. Aphids, beetles (esp. You can also freeze your greens. Oh, wait, well, except maybe okra. Thrips are tiny, slim, winged insects that suck fluids from plant leaves. You can also save $ get this fabulous greens ebook & my ultimate printable garden planner together! Yes you can Grow fresh greens year-round! Alternaria (Alternaria spp.) ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. As the plants grow, you can harvest the outer leaves only, leaving the inner leaves to grow. Some gardeners can get both spring and fall crops in. Collards are high in fiber, manganese, folic acid, calcium, and vitamins A, C, and K, though some of their nutritional value can be lost through the cooking process. Finally, after all these years wanting to, I’m beginning gardening. Be sure to pluck the pods before they split, spilling their seeds to the ground, and before the birds beat you to them! 1. Alternatively, you can direct sow outdoors using the same timing information detailed above. Typical flavorings during this period of American history included leftover, throwaway bits from the plantation’s main kitchen, such as ham hocks or pig’s feet, and those flavoring agents remain important ingredients in traditional collard preparation today. You can start collard plants from seed or nursery transplants. They are perfect for growing year-round because unlike many other crops, they can be harvested at multiple life stages. Before planting, loosen the soil and amend with plenty of organic material, then scatter a 10-10-10 fertilizer over the planting area. This means that even if your head lettuce or your collard greens didn’t grow to the full-sized potential, you can still harvest your leafy crops instead of wasting space. Backing up a bit, greens including collards were cultivated and consumed for their nutritive value throughout much of the African continent. Market prices for collards grown for large fresh markets are quoted by the dozen-bunches, 20 … You can also use this method for any lettuce or brassicas to help them continue to grow. Make sure to check out our supplemental guide, “7 of the Best Collard Greens Varieties to Grow at Home.”. Uncredited photos: Shutterstock. To Gretchen, nothing is more rewarding than a quick dash to the garden to pluck herbs to season the evening meal. Leaves may be yellow and wilt during the day, reviving to a small degree during at night. Is it possible that they will continue grow? They’re an … You may also see black dots of frass – or thrip poop – on the leaves of your plants. Typically this is at around 40 days, but it can be as early as 28, or even younger as we mentioned above regarding thinning. As the Roman Empire spread west throughout Europe, east to what we now call the Middle East, and south to North Africa, the invaders took collards with them. Downy mildew (Peronospora parasitica) may be the problem if you see tan or yellow spots on the upper surface of leaves. These crops must be planted early enough in the spring to ensure that the crop is harvested before temperatures become t… I’m so glad our article helped to inspire you. ‘Merritt’ is a fun variety to consider. Excellent article. Your email address will not be published. Much appreciated! Collards are a cornerstone of traditional American soul food, and every Southern cook has his or her own secret recipe. If you prefer these hungry little beasts not annihilate your collard crop, check out this article with plenty of advice and tips for getting rid of the voracious vermin. Many gardeners have luck with row covers to keep the plants from being bugged. This video will show how to harvest collard greens. Texas. These relatively hardy plants, are a cool season crop that does not perform well in hot weather. You can begin harvesting collard leaves whenever they’re the size you want to eat them. Instead, Gretchen’s description at the beginning of the history section of this article was meant to explain earlier origins of the plant, dating back to 500 BC and beyond. These plants will grow well in raised beds, containers, and in-ground gardens. The vegetable is considered a “must-have” dish on many Southern tables. West Africans who were kidnapped and brought to American shores as enslaved people were often forced to forage for food, according to historians, and were likely relieved to find collards growing in winter, when other food was scarce.