Last year I did a trial of collard varieties, planting eight varieties I had never grown before, plus five more that I had grown in the past. They all did quite well in the fall garden, and my wife and I enjoyed many a meal that included collard greens. Amazingly to me, several of the plants out in the garden actually survived our winter. I did nothing to protect them either. Our winter wasn’t particularly cold, but we did have lots of rain and a bit of snow and ice.
Since these proved to be tough and hardy plants, I decided to let them go to seed. I’ve saved seeds from kale before but never collards, so this is a first for me. It does take quite a while for the seed pods to set on and mature, but I decided I would idle the bed they are growing in and just let them go. It may well be June or July before the seeds mature. The varieties that survived are Alabama Blue, Green Glaze and Georgia Southern.
The plants have gotten quite tall, with the flower stalks reaching almost five feet tall. The plants are all covered in blooms, and honeybees and bumblebees are out there working them daily. The Alabama Blue plants are setting pods already. It’s amazing that the pods themselves are purple like the leaves. You can see them in the below photo in my hand.
I decided to let all the varieties bloom and set seed, which will surely mean they will cross pollinate. The seeds I save will make a mix of plants, perhaps some with purple leaves and some with green ones. At the very least, they all should be hardy since they come from plants that survived the winter.
If this seed saving project is successful, I plan to share some of the saved seeds later this year. I want to try some myself of course, since I love to experiment. I don’t know if the seeds will be ready in time to plant in 2020 though, since last year I started my seed in late May and set out the plants in mid July. I hope you have enjoyed this update, and I’ll be back soon with more happenings from Happy Acres!