Kale grabs the media spotlight, but did you know that collards are botanically the same plant? And they are heat-tolerant and crazy-easy to grow?
When I started growing homegrown collards, it was like I had discovered a new vegetable. Homegrown collards are nothing like the grocery store vegetable, with none of that bitter aftertaste. Homegrown collards are sweet-flavored, tender, and delicious.
And the Green Glaze line is handsome, with flat, glossy green leaves which look stately in an edible landscape. Plant cilantro alongside them (to discourage Cabbage White butterflies), and the dancing white flowers and lacy foliage of cilantro look lovely against the collards.
Like most broccoli family plants, it is best to start collards in the autumn so that they can grow during SoCal’s cool weather. But with little care, collards will easily last into the heat, well beyond the point that kale and broccoli get aphids and give up.
Collards are a great candidate for cut and come again harvesting. After a while, they’ll look like a bizzare vegetable palm tree. If your collards get aphids, or get harlequin bugs, cut the whole plant off at about 2″ above ground level, leaving the roots undisturbed. Top-dress the stump with compost, and keep watering like regular vegetables. Collards will resprout from the stump for a whole new crop of tender leaves.
Collards can be stir-fried (slice into ribbons), they can be long-cooked (traditional Southern recipes), they can be eaten raw (my hubby puts them in his breakfast smoothie), and you can do all the things you would do with kale.
‘L.A. Green Glaze’ is our own localized strain. Its ancestors are McCormack’s Green Glaze, but our strain has been growing in Los Angeles since 2008 over multiple plant generations.
Collards ‘L.A. Green Glaze’ (BR-4002) Brassica oleracea Seed source: Los Angeles
So Calif season: plant in cool, will grow into warm
Plant .5” deep
Use a 12” planting triangle for biodynamic spacing
Containers: plant 1 plant per 24” or 5 gallon
Plant family: Brassicas
Guild for Vegetable Crop Rotation Wheel: Broccoli guild