How to Harvest Collard Greens: A Fun Fall Activity!
Collard greens are a leafy, cool-weather vegetable trendy for cooked greens.
And if you are into growing your food, you may consider growing your collard greens.
Part of the growing process would also imply you should learn how to harvest collard greens properly.
You don’t’ need to live in the south to enjoy delicious and healthy collard greens.
Collard greens are highly nutrient-rich, contributing ample amounts of vitamins A, K, B-6, and C, calcium, iron, and magnesium.
In a few words, collard greens are pretty good for you.
And though it may seem to sound a little intimidating at first, especially if you are new to growing your plants, you have nothing to worry about.
Harvesting involves a relatively simple process; with the right guide and equipment, you’ll soon become a pro at how to harvest collard greens the right way.
A brief history of Collard Greens
A primitive version of cabbage (Brassica oleracea var. Acephala), collards have been cultivated since Roman times, and the word collard is a corruption of colewort, meaning leafy cabbage.
As domestication of the subspecies progressed in various parts of the world, cold-hardy kales were selected in northern climates.
In contrast, gardeners in warmer climates of South America, Africa, Portugal, and India selected headless cabbages that could adapt to humid heat and grow in short winter days.
Today’s vigorous collard varieties result from two thousand years of these efforts.
How to Harvest Collard Greens
- Harvest leaves from low on the stem first and works your way up the stalk. Pick leaves from the outside of the plant and work inward. Be careful not to damage the stem where new leaves emerge.
- Leaves will come away from the stem with a sharp downward pull. You can also use a sharp knife.
- Leave at least four leaves at the top of the plant (the growing crown), allowing the plant to grow new leaves for future harvest.
- Regular harvest and even watering will keep the plant producing new tender leaves.
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Additional Tips on How to Harvest Collard Greens
- Collard leaves are ready for harvest as soon as they reach usable size. They will be most tasty when picked young, less than 10 inches long, and dark green. Older leaves will be challenging and stringy.
- Collard greens are ready for harvest 75 to 85 days from transplants, 85 to 95 days from seed. Collards generally take 75 days to reach maturity, but the leaves can be harvested before.
- Plants can be harvested and cut to ground level when they reach 6 to 10 inches in height, or you can pick the individual leaves based on size preference.
- Collards have a better flavor after withstanding a few touches of frost and can tolerate temperatures into the upper 20s.