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Collards Growing Information

Collards are a member of the Brassicaceae family. They are grown for their leaves, which are cooked much like kale. This cooking green is most often associated with Southern U.S. cooking. Collard greens are native to the eastern Mediterranean and Asia Minor, but the plants are easily grown in most U.S. climates.

Like kale, collards are non-head forming cabbages. Collards and kale are quite similar genetically, but breeding and cultivating over the years has produced plants with different textures and flavor. Collard leaves are smooth and almost waxy, with pronounced veining. They are quite large, with a bright to dark green color, and the stems are very fibrous and tough.

You can start collard plants from seed or nursery transplants. Start seeds outdoors about two weeks before your last spring frost date or get a head start by sowing seeds indoors, four to six weeks earlier, and planting the seedlings right around your last frost date—these plants can readily handle chilly spring weather. For an autumn/winter harvest in cool climates, plant in late-summer, about six to eight weeks before the first frost date (Feb).


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