The thing that really makes collards key down here is their season. Most other crops get toasted by frost… but not these guys. You can stuff your freezer with these without much trouble. I put away at least forty pounds last year. We STILL have collards in the freezer. We even dried some to add to soups and omelets. Out of the brassica family, collards are right up there with radishes on the “ease of growing” scale. They’re tough, take the cold, grow and grow and grow, and rarely if ever will fail to give you a harvest.
Observe the image above and see how patchy the grass appears… and how lush the collard greens are growing. Unstoppable.
On the nutrition front, collards are also impressive. Check out these stats (images from NutritionData.com):
Low on vitamin K? Look no further.
Collards to the rescue!
Other bonuses to collards: young leaves are excellent in salads. Cooked and cut in strips, they can fill in for pasta in low-carb diets. (My wife makes a killer “collard lasagna.”) They can also be used to threaten children, as in “Clean your room or so help me I’m gonna serve collards again tonight!”
To plant the easy way, prepare a bare patch of ground, then scatter seeds, rake them around, and water for a week. Baby plants will come up everywhere. Thin as needed to give them space for growth and eat the thinnings. Harvest leaves as needed – the plants will take a lot of cutting.
And seriously – if you’re not growing these yet, set aside a patch. Spring or fall: collards are a must-have.
Latin Name: Brassica oleracea
Nitrogen Fixer: No
Exposure: Full sun
Part Used: Leaves
Method of preparation: Raw, boiled, steamed, dried.
Storability: Leaves can be dried/frozen
Ease of growing: Easy
Nutrition: Very good
Totally. Collards and kale have become my two workhorse crops. In central Florida you can raise them about 9 months out of the year, if you keep toying with shade and water. I find that if you plant enough you can keep harvesting them while the leaves are young, before they get too tough and stringy.
I find that having a couple fresh collard leaves right before a workout just seems to give me a little extra energy.
I will have to try the collard lasagna.
The "lasagna" is amazing.
When I had my gigantic garden of collards last year, we fed ourselves daily, plus had plenty left for goats and chickens… and still put away 40lbs into the freezer. Cut and come again all the way. And you're right… they do have that "so green it gives you power" thing going on.
Greetings from Prince Edward Island, Canada. I grew Collards about five years ago , “Champion” and wow!. We have very few days above 80F, so the do well all year long here. Our temps into late December, say the 20th, are about 25F, so they still do well.
They are a good substitute for cabbage in soup and rolls
They would probably be good in one of those green smoothies EVERYBODY's talking about. Hmmm…not having to buy expensive berries from the grocery store but still getting to have a smoothie. Sounds good to me.
Rachel, darling… you're making me look schizophrenic.
Hey Rach… log in as David and say something really embarrassing. I'll make sure it gets out to all his blogger friends before he can change it.
I tried juicing collards but they were just a little too bitter. Kale is right on the edge of being to bitter but still drinkable. Maybe if the collards were juiced with something sweet like carrots and apples…
I juice them with carrots and apples, use lime/lemon/orange to cut bitterness and it's great, i've been drinking one all day. throw in a little fennel and aloe for flavor.
Wow. I believe you're going to live forever.
Hi I must grow in pots as I have no soil I am allowed to plant in. I LOVE Chard. But I see no seeds for any green but lettuce and greens down here. Can I grow Chard in Florida AND I have a prolific cucumber with blossoms galore but no cucumbers? Have had that problem with zucchini as well? Lots of male blossoms no producing blossoms. Thanks all
You need to plant chard in the winter in Florida, or when it cools down in fall. It will grow, no problem. The cucumber may just be producing male blooms right now. I’ll bet female blooms and cukes will follow soon.
Grew up on collards! A bit of onion, garlic, vinegar, whatever, good food! I hope I’ll be able to grow them in lower Midwest during warmer months?
Will have to hunt around this blog and find your wife’s recipe for lasagna!
[…] you, even containing anti-cancer compounds. Though it’s not as cold-hardy as kale or collards, mustard will stand quite a bit of frost before dying, down into the mid-twenties. In fact, […]
I’ve been looking for a collard lasagna recipe but I’m only finding recipes using collard leaves AND pasta. Does Rachel just use the greens in hers? Are they prepared a certain way before using? Thanks!
I have the same questions as Becca. Would Mrs. The Good be willing to share her recipe?
I will ask her.
You had a story online about getting some Tree Collard. Did you like them? Do you prefer regular collards? I see a lot of growers of Tree Collard (purple and green) in California but am having trouble finding growers in Florida (NW Florida in particular). I’m in Pensacola. If you are any where near Pensacola, would you consider sharing a couple cuttings (if you still have the tree collard)? I tried ordering some from California and they all arrived dead. Thanks
I do not have them anymore – they didn’t like Florida that much, at least in my garden.
So a wee bit confused it is ok to plant collards now? We are in Bronson outside of Gainsville.