How to Grow Collard Greens

Sarah June 6, 2023

Collard greens, known scientifically as Brassica oleracea (Acephala Group), are an absolute treasure trove of nutrients and a delight for the senses. In this post, we’ll be exploring everything you need to know about growing and caring for these leafy wonders. Let’s get started!

Growing Conditions for Collard Greens

Collard greens are hardy and adaptable plants, but like all greens, they have their preferences. They are a cool-season crop, best suited to USDA Hardiness Zones 6 through 9. Collard greens prefer a well-drained, sandy or loamy soil with a neutral to slightly alkaline pH (around 6.5 to 7.5). A sunny spot is perfect, although they can tolerate partial shade. The best time to plant collard greens is in early spring or late summer. Frost is not a big issue for these plants. In fact, a touch of frost can even improve their taste by reducing bitterness.

How to Plant Collard Greens

There are two main methods to plant collard greens: direct seeding or transplanting seedlings. Direct seeding is the easiest method. Simply sow the seeds about 1/2 inch deep into the soil, spaced 1 inch apart. If you choose to transplant seedlings, start them indoors 6 to 8 weeks before the last expected spring frost. Once the seedlings have 2-3 true leaves and are about 4-6 inches tall, they can be transplanted outdoors, spaced 18-24 inches apart.

How to Grow Collard Greens in Pots

Growing collard greens in pots is a fantastic option if you’re short on space. Choose a container at least 12 inches in diameter and 8 inches deep. Fill it with a high-quality potting mix, plant the seeds or seedlings as described above, and make sure the container has good drainage.

How Long do Collard Greens Take to Grow

Typically, collard greens take about 60 to 75 days to reach maturity from seed, or 30-40 days from transplanting. Adequate sunlight, water, and nutrient supply can speed up this growth, while poor conditions can slow it down.

How Big do Collard Greens Get

On average, collard green plants can reach up to 2-3 feet in height, with leaves that can grow up to 10-14 inches long and wide.

How Much Sunlight do Collard Greens Need

Collard greens love the sun! They prefer full sun, but can tolerate partial shade. Aim for at least 6 hours of sunlight each day.

How Much Water do Collard Greens Need

Collard greens like a consistently moist soil. Water them deeply about 1-1.5 inches per week, depending on rainfall and soil type. If leaves start to wilt or turn yellow, they may be over- or underwatered.

Fertilizing and Mulching Collard Greens

Collard greens benefit from a balanced organic fertilizer, like compost, applied at planting time. You could also use a slow-release granular fertilizer if needed. Mulch around the plants to conserve moisture and suppress weeds.

How to Harvest Collard Greens

The leaves of the collard greens plant are harvested for eating. The best time to harvest is when the leaves are tender and about the size of your hand. Cut the leaves individually from the bottom of the stalk upwards.

Pest and Disease for Collard Greens

Common pests of collard greens include cabbage loopers, aphids, and flea beetles. Diseases include black rot, clubroot, and leaf spot. Regular monitoring, proper spacing, crop rotation, and using disease-resistant varieties can help prevent these issues. If necessary, use organic pest control measures like neem oil or diatomaceous earth.

Sarah Hirsh

Hi! I’m Sarah and I live in a small town with my two boys. We have our own little garden where we grow vegetables every year. It's been so much fun to share my gardening journey in this blog!

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