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Crop Profile: Collard Greens

Farmers in warmer climates can enjoy this versatile brassica crop.

By Samantha Johnson


Collard Greens
Courtesy Hemera/Thinkstock

Collard greens are versatile plants. While most members of the brassica family are best-suited to the cooler climates of the northern United States, collard greens can be successfully grown in the South—hence, their traditional culinary popularity in that region. However, collard greens are also extremely cold-hardy (the flavor is actually improved by frost exposure) and heat-tolerant, making them the ideal choice for would-be brassica growers in a range of locales.

Collard greens are a loose-leafed, non-heading cabbage. Grow your collards in nitrogen-rich soil by direct-seeding or transplanting. Allow 12 inches between transplants in rows 18 to 24 inches apart, or be prepared to thin your seedlings as they grow (direct-seed 12 to 18 inches apart in rows 18 to 24 inches apart, thinning to 12 to 18 inches as the plants grow); harvest large leaves when plant is 10 to 12 inches high, allowing younger leaves to continue developing. 

Read more about growing brassicas.

About the Author: Samantha Johnson is the author of several books, including a forthcoming book on gardening for children. She raises purebred Welsh Mountain Ponies in northern Wisconsin.

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