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Collards Growing Quick Tips

collards ground level

Sowing: Sow collard seeds in early spring for an early summer crop or in midsummer for a fall crop. In mild-winter regions, sow collards from fall to late winter. Sow seed outdoors 2-4 weeks before the last frost. Start seed indoors 10-8 weeks before transplanting seedlings to the garden. Sow seeds indoors in a warm, well-lighted location—in a bright window or under grow lights. Sow seeds ¼-½” (6-12 mm) deep in seed starting mix; firm lightly and keep mix just moist. Seedlings emerge in 5-10 days at 45-85°F (7-29°C).

Growing: Seedlings can be transplanted into the garden when they are 4-5” (10-13 cm) tall 2-4 weeks before the last expected frost in spring and 8-10 weeks before the first frost in fall. Move seedlings to a sheltered place outdoors to “harden off” 1 week before transplanting. Thin plants in the garden 18″ (45 cm) apart in rows 18-24” (45-61 cm) apart. Grow collards in compost-rich, well-drained soil, in full sun. Give collards regular water keeping the soil evenly moist.

 Harvesting: Collards will be ready for harvest 60-90 days from direct seeding depending upon variety. Clip individual leaves when they reach about 12” (30 cm) long. Do not disturb the central bud when picking he leaves. Pick leaves from the bottom up before they get old and tough. Harvest through winter in most regions; frost makes the leaves taste sweeter. Collards will keep in the refrigerator for about 1 week.

For more detailed articles on growing collards click on Collards.

Written by Stephen Albert

Stephen Albert is a horticulturist, master gardener, and certified nurseryman who has taught at the University of California for more than 25 years. He holds graduate degrees from the University of California and the University of Iowa. His books include Vegetable Garden Grower’s Guide, Vegetable Garden Almanac & Planner, Tomato Grower’s Answer Book, and Kitchen Garden Grower’s Guide. His Vegetable Garden Grower’s Masterclass is available online. has more than 10 million visitors each year.

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