Saturday, August 16

Collecting Collard Seeds

Last year, my collard greens were doing well into the fall. Even as the temperatures dropped, the collards stayed green. Finally, a killing frost did them in...or so I thought. I didn't get around to pulling them out so in the spring I was surprised when I saw the seemingly dead stems bursting back into life. It's a pretty tough plant that can survive a Maine winter.
So, I let the plants go to seed. Early in August, I pulled the plants out and hung to dry- the results of which you see in the photo above. I spent some time snipping off the little seed pods with scissors and collected them in cups. Each bean-like pod contains a great number of tiny black seeds. The seeds look similar to poppy seeds.
 I left most of the seed in the pod to continue to dry on a high shelf in my kitchen. Those you see in the cup below I sowed to test the viability of the seeds. In just a few days, I had a pot full of collard sprouts, so my experiment was a success.
 I have found collard greens one of the easiest, not to mention nutritious, veggies to grow. Collards can be started inside during the winter for spring transplanting or directly into the ground in the spring. Because collards are cold hardy, August is also an appropriate time to sow collard seeds for a fall or early winter crop, which is what I intend to do with some of my seeds. And I'll be saving some for spring as well.

2 comments:

Hannah said...

I live in the PNW where winters are not as severe as Maine. I grow turnips, kale, collards, mustard, and cabbage and let them overwinter and bloom the next year. I've been doing this for 20 years here. My experience is that there is a deadline, I use July 15, that if I plant these seeds after that they don't get large enough before frost to withstand the winter lows. I just base this on perhaps one year when I planted later. But possibly by planting later you wouldn't have the plants make it through the winter. I guess other Maine growers could tell you if they can overwinter cole crops sown later. I also use tunnels over plants to make it warmer under them and plant tomatoes and squash out earlier in the spring, I was thinking maybe I could put tunnels over the plants in the fall as well and make up for planting them late, that is what I'm doing this year since I'm working up a new bed and didn't get the seeds planted on time. I guess you can just try it and see what happens.

CK said...

Thanks for the great information, Hannah! I might try a poly-tunnel this fall. I'll be posting updates of my collards here on the blog.

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