Farm Feature: Collard Greens

Mar 24, 2021 | Farm

By: Kaitlyn (Farm Manager)

Collard greens (Brassica oleracea) are in the cabbage family, and they are commonly used in southern cooking.We grow collard greens on our aquaponics farm, and they do very well in our system. We harvest them using the cut-and-come-again method, which means that we cut off individual leaves once they are big enough to harvest, and leave the plant growing in the system. This allows us to keep harvesting off of the same plants, without having the input of new seeds or having to wait for a new plant to grow from seed. Collard greens can be harvested as large, mature leaves or as baby leaves.

To grow collards in soil, they prefer well-drained soil that is high in organic matter, and it is important that they have consistent moisture in order to grow the best leaves. To start them from seed, either sow seeds directly, about ½” deep, or start seedlings in  a tray and transfer after about 4-6 weeks.  Collards prefer cooler temperatures and can even tolerate light frost, but the optimal temperature range is 60-70 degrees Fahrenheit. They can also tolerate heat, and will still produce good leaves in warmer temperatures.

Collard greens are high in fiber, are a good source of iron, magnesium and potassium, and also contain significant levels of vitamins A, C, E, and K. Collard greens can be eaten raw in salads or used as wraps, or they can be sauteed, steamed, blanched, or stewed. They can also be made into collard chips, which are similar to kale chips, by tossing with oil and seasonings and baking. Stay tuned to FoodChain’s blog and social media for some yummy collard green recipes in the future!