A Surprise Harvest – Overwintered Collards

This winter of 2011-12 has been interesting. We’ve had only about 1″ of snow so far, and very mild weather in general. That has given us plenty of eating choices with our overwintered vegetables, and some real surprises.

collard plants on February 22, 2012 (click on any image to enlarge)

Collard greens are not generally winter hardy here. In my memory, I have never seen them make it to January. But here it is in late February, almost March really, and the plants are still alive. So I figured I needed to cook up a mess of greens and see how they tasted. And I was not disappointed! They were nice and sweet, with large but tender leaves.

harvest of collard greens

I usually have a hard time estimating how many greens to cook. So I wind up cooking too many. My wife and I were eating on the collards for 4 meals. The leftovers were just as tasty though.

Lacinato kale on 2/22/12

Another green that has surprised us this season is the Lacinato kale. It normally doesn’t make it through our winters either, but like the collards, it is still going strong in the garden. I didn’t harvest any of it this week though.

Yukina Savoy

I did harvest some Yukina Savoy, which is an upright tatsoi relative. I did a quick stir fry with it, and we had it for a side dish one day. The Asian greens in the cold frames are doing so well that I haven’t even started any seeds for new plants just yet. At some point they will start bolting though. The maruba santoh in the greenhouse is flowering already, with bees coming in to visit on the days it’s warm enough for them to fly.


I also harvested some baby lettuce from a mini salad box in the greenhouse. All the lettuces have been doing well this winter too. This cutting gave us 6 ounces of lettuce, which was plenty for two large salads. This was a Misticanza Quattro Stagioni mix from Seeds from Italy.

Double-Chocolate Sourdough Bundt Cake

And one last thing we enjoyed last week wasn’t really a harvest, but certainly worth mentioning. I made a Double-Chocolate Sourdough Bundt Cake for a going away party for a friend at the kitchen where I volunteer. This cake was moist, not too sweet, and oh-so-chocolatey! Thanks to the folks at Curbstone Valley Farm for sharing their great recipe. I will be making this one again soon!

To see what others are harvesting and cooking up from their gardens, visit Daphne’s Dandelions, host of the Harvest Monday series.

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14 Responses to A Surprise Harvest – Overwintered Collards

  1. Daphne says:

    I’ve got to seed some Asian greens soon. Mine are all gone. I have a couple heads of tatsoi in the fridge, but other than that nothing. I might do that on Friday. Your Yukina Savoy looks fabulous. And your kale is looking healthier than mine is.

  2. Wilderness says:

    Those greens look lovely but that cake is to die for. Read the recipe but don’t think it will get made here. I don’t need it and DB can’t have it and I need to be able to bend over when I start planting my garden.

    • Dave says:

      I had to work it off at the kitchen that day, which isn’t too hard to do. I normally run a calorie count before I make a recipe, but I really didn’t want to know for this cake!

      • Wilderness says:

        For that cake I am sure my kitchen isn’t big enough. I could tolerate it once in a while but chocolate is DB’s favorite and I wouldn’t tease him that way. Maybe I will have company for dinner some night and can get a taste of it that way.

  3. Prairie Cat says:

    I always have trouble figuring out how many greens I should cook down… I figure that they wilt so much, I can cram in tons!

    But like you, we always end up munching on them for more than one meal.

  4. So glad you tried the cake! It really is the most fun thing I’ve ever done with sourdough starter. I also discovered a great way to burn off the calories from that cake too…build a barn! 😛

    Your collards and kale look great. Our Kale is a little sluggish this year, I think because of the run of very cold weather we had in December, but it’s finally catching up. The Yukina Savoy looks fabulous too, like a slightly more lush version of Tatsoi.

    • Dave says:

      My wife even went off her ‘no chocolate’ regimen to have a piece of the cake. I am thinking I need to make it again for my birthday! 😀

  5. Norma Chang says:

    Anything with chocolate is for me.
    How come bugs don’t bother your collard green? Good Looking kale too.

  6. Jody says:

    Dave, we left a kale plant to see what would happen. It’s still alive, but not growing at all. Our overwintered cabbages on the other hand, as C. James pointed out to me today, are developing heads. I’m really glad to see another gardener experimenting with overwintering veggies and having such great success!

  7. Liz says:

    The cake looks divine and I love your kale trees. I planted out my Tuscan Kale seedlings this week – hopefully they will be useable size soon.

  8. maryhysong says:

    I once had a collard plant that volunteered in late summer and grew into a multi stemmed monster …. The weather has been weird everywhere; my peach and plums trees are blooming because it’s been so warm and now it’s cold again.

  9. kitsapFG says:

    Could you send me the seeds for that chocolate cake plant please?! LOL! Holy smokes you are getting some great harvests this early in the season and that cake looks like it was “killer good”. 😀

  10. Aimee says:

    Yes indeed, those greens look great! The cake, by the way, looks AMAZING. Beautiful job. I say if you’re treating yourself to something (and you don’t make a habit of it!) then to heck with calories and everything else.

    I think I may try growing Lacinato Kale this year…I’ve been juicing every day and each morning I drink a “green lemonade” made with Lacinato Kale, lemon, cucumber and celery…needless to say I’ve been going through a lot of kale! I love using collard green leaves as “wraps” to roll up hummus/veggie sandwiches – just cut the rib out and you have to wraps! Deelish.

  11. Meemsnyc says:

    I also saw some kale and Swiss chard growing in my garden! What a strange mild winter we are having!

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