Growing Collard Greens
Growing Collard Greens is easy. They are part of the cabbage family and can be grown when the weather is cool. They are highly nutritious and very rich in vitamins A, K, C among other vitamins. Collard greens also have a number of minerals, like calcium, copper, manganese, to name a few, as well as a good amount of protein. No wonder they are considered a superfood. Collars are very low calorie with lots of fiber. To learn about other family members see the blog https://www.gardeningtheorganicway.com/vegetables/growing-broccoli/
How to Grow Collards
They are very easy to grow and maintain. The soil needs to be kept moist and have good soil fertility. If allowed to go dry, the flavor of the leaves get slightly bitter. Collard greens will tolerate a wide range of soil pH, which should be kept in the range of 6.0 to 7.5. They require full sun during the cooler months but prefer light shade in the heat of the summer. Collard greens can be grown from spring, to summer, and right into the fall season.
The color of the leaves varies depending on varieties. Some leaves will have blue hue while others will be deep green, and others medium green. Some varieties will get as high as three feet and about two feet wide. Therefore, proper spacing is necessary for the leaves to have room to grow. If you plant them too close to other vegetables, they will shadow them and take over within a few months.
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Direct Seed or Use Transplants
If you decide to direct seed collard greens plant as soon as the temperature of the soil gets to be around 40°F all the way to 85°F. Consequently it’s best to use transplants for a spring crop, starting the seedling seven weeks before the last frost. Put seedlings out as soon as the soil is workable.
For a fall planting, you can start from seed anytime in August or September. To get fully developed leaves, they need about three months before the first frost, henceforth plan accordingly. To learn more about staring seedlings take a look at my blog https://www.gardeningtheorganicway.com/vegetables/how-to-start-your-own-seedlings/
Collards respond well to a soil high in organic matter. Plant seeds around 3” apart, you can then thin them out and eat those leaves until you reach the desired spacing of 18” to 24” apart. To overwinter the plants, just apply some straw mulch to prevent heaving.
Harvest the lower leaves as the plant grows. The plant will continue to grow, and the lower stem will look bare, giving it the appearance of a long tail with lots of leaves protruding. Collards are very cold hardy, and you can harvest it in the middle of snow; their flavor improves with frost. Wait until the first frost to harvest the leaves in order to get a sweeter flavor.
Insects and Pests
They have all the same insects and diseases that other cabbage family members have. These are: cabbage worms, cabbage loopers, flea beetles, cabbage aphids, cabbage root maggots, cutworms, slugs, clubroot, black rot, and black leg, among others. To prevent these problems use a floating row cover; otherwise, you will just be feeding the insects. To help control diseases, rotate crops and don’t plant any of the same family for three or four years. You can purchase ‘Garden the Organic Way’ as an eBook http://Amazon- Garden the Organic Way