COLLARD (brassica oleracea)
Requires six hours or more
of strong, direct sun per day.
An important perennial vegetable in southern gardens, collard is extremely resistant to warm as well as cool temperatures. Easily cultivated and highly esteemed for its flavor, this member of the Cabbage family is of major importance in the South, where, by its hardy constitution, it can withstand summer heat and winter cold.|
Collards have been described as a nonheading cabbage, resembling the tall kales in growth. Since it will stand more heat than cabbage, it is substituted for that crop in warm regions of the country. In the North where heading cabbage is successfully grown, collards have not become popular.
The culture of Collard plants
In general, the culture of collard and that of cabbage is similar. In the South, sowing is usually done in both the spring and the fall. In the North, collard may be planted in the summer for late greens.
Some believe it to be improved by the first frosts. Plants may be started early in the spring and set out later in the same way as cabbage, or they may be sown in the garden row and later thinned to stand about two feet apart, with three feet between the rows. Seedlings may be thinned to stand six inches apart if the crop is to be used while plants are still small.
For maximum crop production Collards should be planted when the moon is in the 2nd Quarter (i.e. waxing) and in one of the following Zodiac Signs: Cancer, Scorpio, Pisces, Libra, Taurus
A good fertile soil will produce a more desirable growth. High quality relies on quick growth, and generous applications of rotted manure or compost are important. The soil should be worked into good filth before planting.
Light and maintenance
Collards require full sun, and although they can withstand more drought than the cabbage, ample moisture should be supplied. No weeds should be allowed to establish themselves, so cultivation is necessary. Shallow cultivation is best to prevent cutting roots close to the surface. The hoe should be put into action about once a week until the plants are half grown, after which the shade of the plants will help to keep down the weeds.
Harvesting Collard greens
Whole young collard plants may be cut or the tender leaves at the top stripped off. A cluster of leaves may be picked a few at a time as required and before they mature so as not to be tough. As the plants are gradually stripped of their lower leaves, they may need the assistance of a stake to support the top cluster.
For tender and flavorable greens in your diet begin harvesting tender young leaves about 2 months after planting.
Disease and pest control
Collard plants should be carefully examined for signs of wilting or curling of the leaves. Damping-off is a disease which causes the soft part of the stem to rot away between the main root and the surface of the soil. The diseased plant should be pulled up and destroyed.
Regular organic insect control is the best way to insure the health of your collard crop. Cabbage worms can be thwarted with homemade sprays. A mixture of ground pepper pods, water and 1/2 teaspoon of soap powder will work effectively against the worms when sprayed on the plants. Protective shields of mesh wire and a cylinder of hoops can be erected to prevent damage to growing collards.
Collards are high in vitamins A and C.
Varieties of Collard
Georgia collards are hardy and endure adverse conditions, including poor soil. It grows 30 or more inches in height and bears a loose cluster of large, cabbage like leaves.
Louisiana Sweet has compact centers and short-stemmed leaves.
Cabbage collard is more resistant to warm weather and forms small, cabbage like heads.
Vates collard is widely adaptable and is hardy in the North.