A Comprehensive Guide to Growing and Caring for Collard Greens


Collards are nutritious greens that are easy to grow in your garden. They are packed with vitamins and minerals, making them a great addition to your daily diet. With a growing season that extends from spring to fall, you can enjoy a steady supply of fresh collards throughout the year.

If you’re new to gardening, it’s important to learn a few tips for growing collards. First, find a well-drained area in your garden with adequate sunlight. Collards require at least six hours of direct sunlight daily for optimal growth. Space your collard rows about 18-24 inches apart, with a spacing of 12-18 inches between plants within the rows.

When planting collard seeds, it’s best to sow them directly into the garden. The seeds should be planted about 1/4 to 1/2 inch deep and 2 inches apart. Water the seeds regularly to ensure proper germination, especially in dry conditions. It’s also important to watch out for diseases that can affect collards, such as damping-off and downy mildew.

As your collards start to grow, it’s important to keep them well-watered. Tomato plants, especially, require consistent moisture to thrive. Be sure to water your collards deeply, soaking the soil thoroughly. However, be careful not to overwater, as this can lead to root rot and other issues.

Harvesting collards is easy, and you can start picking the leaves as soon as they reach a size suitable for eating. To harvest, simply use a sharp knife or scissors to cut the leaves off the main stem. Harvest the outer leaves first, leaving the inner leaves to continue growing. Store harvested collards in the refrigerator to keep them fresh and increase their shelf life.

Collards can be enjoyed in a variety of ways, from raw in salads to sautéed in the kitchen. They have a slightly bitter taste when eaten raw, but cooking them will reduce the bitterness. If you’re looking for a tasty way to prepare collards, try sun-dried collards. Simply wash, dry, and lay the leaves out in the sun until they are crispy. Sun-dried collards can be stored in airtight containers for later use, adding a unique flavor to your dishes.

With this guide, you will learn all the necessary information for growing and harvesting collards in your own garden. Enjoy the health benefits and tasty dishes that fresh collards have to offer!

How to Harvest and Store Collards

Collards are easy to grow and provide gardeners with an abundant harvest of nutritious greens. Here is a step-by-step guide on how to harvest and store collards:

  • Planting: Collards can be grown from seeds or seedlings. If planting from seeds, start indoors at least five weeks before the last expected frost date. Transplant the seedlings to the garden when they are about four to six inches tall, spacing them about 12 to 18 inches apart.
  • Harvesting: Collards are ready for harvest when the leaves are of desired size, usually between six to ten inches long. Pick the outer leaves first, leaving the central head to continue growing. Harvesting should be done in the morning or evening to avoid the heat of the day, as they can wilt quickly.
  • Storage: Collards have a good storage life, especially if stored properly. To store collards, it is recommended to clean them first by removing any dirt or insects. After cleaning, dry the leaves well and store in a well-draining container or plastic bag in the refrigerator. Collards can stay fresh for up to a week when stored this way. For longer storage, collards can be blanched and frozen.
  • Blanching and freezing: Blanching collards before freezing can help retain their flavor, color, and texture. To blanch, bring a pot of water to a boil and immerse the collard leaves for two to three minutes. Once blanched, quickly transfer the leaves to an ice bath to stop the cooking process. After draining excess water, pack the blanched leaves into airtight containers or freezer bags and freeze. Frozen collards can be stored for up to 10 to 12 months.

It is important to note that collards taste better when grown in cooler months. The colder weather helps develop their flavor and improves their texture. Some gardeners even recommend a process called vernalization, where collard seeds are exposed to cold temperatures (around 40°F) for a week or two before planting for better results.

Collards are a versatile green that can be enjoyed in many ways. They can be used in salads, sautéed, or added to soups and stews. Their high nutritional content makes them a great addition to any diet.

When harvesting and storing collards, make sure to follow the proper cleaning and storing requirements to maintain their quality and extend their shelf life. Enjoy the taste of fresh collard greens throughout the year!

When to harvest collards

Picking collards at the right time is essential to ensure tasty greens for your family. To learn when to harvest collards, it’s important to understand their growth cycle and requirements.

Collards can be planted in both the spring and fall months, and they’re easy to grow. They require well-draining soil and adequate moisture. Gardeners should water them well, especially during dry spells. Collards grow best in cooler temperatures between 45°F and 75°F (7°C and 24°C).

The harvesting time for collards depends on the variety you’re growing. Most collard varieties take around 80-85 days from seeds to maturity. You can start harvesting the outer leaves when they’re about 8-10 inches (20-25 cm) long. Simply pick the leaves from the bottom and leave the center leaves to continue growing.

Collards are quite hardy and can endure a few frosts, which actually make them taste sweeter. However, if you experience a hard freeze, collard greens can become damaged. To protect your collard crop from frost, you can use covers or other protective methods.

Harvesting collards is a continuous process. You can start picking the outer leaves as early as 35-45 days after planting, but it’s recommended to wait until the plant is at least 60 days old for better tasting greens.

When harvesting collards, make sure to clean them thoroughly. Remove any debris, pests, or signs of diseases. It’s also a good idea to soak them in water to get rid of any dirt or small insects that may be hiding in the leaves. Rinse them well before processing or eating.

If you have more collards than you can eat, you can store them in various ways. One common method is to blanch and freeze them. Another option is to store collards in the fridge. To maximize their shelf life, keep the leaves dry by placing a paper towel in the bag with them. Collards can stay fresh in the fridge for up to a week.

By following these tips, you’ll be able to harvest collards at the perfect time, ensuring delicious and nutritious greens for your family.

How to harvest collards

Collards are a well-loved vegetable that thrive in cool weather and can be grown in the lower states of the US. Harvesting collards is an easy process that can be done at any time during their growth cycle. Here are some tips to ensure a bountiful harvest:

Picking the right time: Collards can be harvested at any time, but it is recommended to wait until they reach maturity. This is usually between 60-75 days after planting. You can also pick collard leaves when they are younger for a more tender and mild flavor.

Harvesting the plant: To harvest collards, simply pick the leaves off the plant. Start by picking the outermost leaves and work your way inward. This will encourage new growth and ensure a longer harvesting season. You can pick collards on a daily basis if you have a large garden.

Storage considerations: After picking collards, it’s important to store them properly to maintain their freshness. Collards can be stored in the refrigerator for up to a week. To store them for longer periods, you can blanch the leaves and freeze them in airtight containers.

Special considerations: While collards are a hardy plant, there are some special considerations to keep in mind. Collards require well-draining soil and need to be watered regularly. Additionally, they’re susceptible to insects and diseases, so it’s important to take proper care of them. Considerations like vernalization, isolation, and daily care can also contribute to the overall size and growth of your collards.

Saving seeds: If you want to save collard seeds for future planting, let the plant bolt and produce flowers. When the flowers dry out, the seeds can be threshed and stored in a cool, dry place. Be sure to label the seeds and store them in an airtight container to ensure their viability.

Enjoying collards: Collards can be enjoyed in a variety of ways. They can be cooked and used in soups, stews, and stir-fries. Their hearty and slightly bitter flavor makes them a great addition to any dish. Collards are also packed with nutrients, making them a healthy choice for any meal.

Read on to learn more about the growth requirements, care tips, and insects that may affect your collards. Happy harvesting!

How to store collards

Collards, a member of the Brassica family, are a common species grown in many states. They are easy to grow and produce tender, tasty leaves that are a staple in many southern dishes. To ensure the best quality and flavor, it is important to know how to properly store collards after harvest.

After picking collards, it is recommended to store them soon to prevent wilting and loss of texture. To start, assess the collards for any signs of damage or pest infestation. Remove any damaged leaves and discard them. Next, give the collards a thorough cleaning to remove any dirt or debris. Rinse them under cool running water, making sure to rub the leaves gently to remove any stubborn dirt.

Once cleaned, you have several options for storage. One easy method is to store collards in a plastic bag with a few small holes for airflow. This helps retain moisture while preventing the leaves from becoming too damp. You can also store collards in the refrigerator, wrapped loosely in a damp paper towel to maintain moisture levels.

If you prefer a longer shelf life, you can consider freezing collards. Start by blanching the collards in boiling water for a few minutes, then transfer them to an ice bath to stop the cooking process. After the collards have cooled, drain them thoroughly and place them in airtight containers or freezer bags. Label them with the date before storing them in the freezer.

Another method of storing collards is sun-dried. If you have adequate sun and dry conditions, you can lay the collards in a single layer on a clean, flat surface. Turn them daily to ensure even drying. Once the collards are dry, store them in airtight containers in a cool, dark place. Sun-dried collards can be rehydrated before use by soaking them in water for about 30 minutes.

Regardless of the method you choose, it is important to use proper spacing between collards to prevent overcrowding and ensure adequate airflow. This helps prevent spoilage and prolongs shelf life. For seed-saving purposes, consider isolation from other brassica species, as collards can cross-pollinate with other plants in the same family.

When it comes to eating collards, freshness is key. The best time to enjoy collards is within a few days of harvest. The leaves should be bright green, crisp, and have a slightly sweet taste. As collards age, they become tougher and less desirable for fresh eating. However, they can still be used for cooked dishes like soups, stews, and stir-fries.

In conclusion, knowing how to store collards properly is essential for preserving their texture and flavor. Whether you choose to refrigerate, freeze, or sun-dry collards, following these tips and considerations will ensure that you can enjoy this delicious, nutritious green for an extended period of time.

✿ Read More About Vegetables.

Dr Heidi Parkes

By Dr Heidi Parkes

Senior Information Extension Officer QLD Dept of Agriculture & Fisheries.