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.
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