Collard Greens

jwr6404(8B Wa)January 5, 2008

with a Cabbage type head

My wife loves Collard Greens and I'm receiving some seeds of this variety and description in a trade from a Southern Lady. Was told it had been in her Husbands family over 100 years so I'm assuming its an Heirloom. Any knowledge or experience out there with this variety? Really interested if it might grow well here in the PNW.


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Since collards and head cabbage are the same species, one being loose leaved, one might think that it is just an heirloom head cabbage.

    Bookmark   January 6, 2008 at 5:04AM
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There is a good possibility that it is a cultivar with the simple name Cabbage Collard. Collards are pretty adaptive and will grow anywhere a cabbage will grow, plus tolerate cold better so I see no reason it would not grow in the Pacific North West. A lesser possibility is Morris Heading, which forms a loose head but won't be mistaken for a cabbage.

Here is a link that might be useful: Cabbage Collard

    Bookmark   January 6, 2008 at 8:56AM
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wesley_va(z7b VA)

It is possible that you have a green glaze collard, one of the original varieties of collards developed in this country from the Green Glaze cabbage, around 1830, if memory serves. This collard does have a tendency to form loose, pointed heads. The leaves are smaller and a much brighter green than the modern Georgia or Vates Collard. The variety availabe today has been reconstituted by Dr. McCormick. I have an aquaintance at Emory and Henry College in Virginia who is working on the giography of the collard and I am sure would be intersted in its provenance if it is indeed a family heirloom.

    Bookmark   January 20, 2008 at 2:30PM
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A dear gardening friend is sending me both the Green and the Yellow Cabbage Collard Seed. I am passing along the description and information she shared with me. Perhaps this is the same 100 year old variety which you have.

The Yellow Cabbage Collard, and the green version, usually just referred to as Cabbage Collard. These are fairly unknown outside the Carolina's. Usually they are heavily guarded family heirlooms, having been passed down for more than100 years in the same family. Most folks will not share seeds. After literally years of looking, I have been smiled upon and gained samples of both types in the SAME year! I am sure there are many other lines of both versions because each family and each farm saves their own seeds from year to year.
These particular Yellow Cabbage Collards originated from The Cabbage Shack in Ayden, North Carolina. I have long known that these folks would sell the seed at their farm stand, but would not mail them. Finally I came across a new gardening friend who was willing to make the drive. Now he and I, and all of you folks also, have a new old garden favorite to try!
This link is to a page with pictures of Cabbage Collards made by folks who really grow them. Please pay attention to the series of pictures by farmerdill of a Cabbage Collard at various stages of development:
I am told that these plants grow to the size of a No. 4 washtub. Normally these are harvested in a progressive manner with the outer leaves first harvested individually, and then the heads as they form. As with almost all of the Brassicas, they have a sweeter flavor after they have been kissed by the frost. I am told that the heads of these are particularly tender.
Yellow Cabbage Collards in the field:
Just a personal observation...I haven't had the opportunity to grow either of these collard varieties to maturity. I have had the yellow version once before. If this strain is anything like the ones I had before, they will be perky little plants of a bright yellow-green with a tender and velvety texture. I planted them early in the spring, and fought the darned cabbage worms for them most of the spring. I lost when we had to leave town for a weekend. I will probably start a few plants now and keep them covered with netting this time. But I will also save some to start late summer when there will hopefully be less competition with the infernal cabbage stealers!

Collards are an acquired taste for lots of people. I grew up eating them and the other strongly-flavored southern greens. And to tell the truth, I really only like collards and some of those early greens after the first light frost, or in the early spring when it is still cool. Radishes are better then as well--loosing the overwhelming hot spicyness that plagues them in the heat of summer and developing a sweetness that I find very refreshing.
There are many ways to cook collards other than the typical pot of boiled greens--although that is a traditional way to cook them, and can be very satisfying with a nice hot piece of buttered cornbread alongside (or ladled along with the pot likker over the cornbread in a nice deep bowl). However, there are many other ways to serve them ranging from soups to casseroles. In fact, when I started collecting recipes found online, I was surprised myself at the many interesting ways people have devised to serve these sorts of greens.

    Bookmark   February 19, 2008 at 8:00AM
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vgary Just how would I find the collard shach in Ayden?

    Bookmark   March 2, 2008 at 2:17PM
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earthmanjack(Zone 7-6 Berks/Mont PA)

Vgary, About an acquired tast for collards, here is the way I like to fix them. It's not frugal but the flavor is unbeatable. I grow the loosehead cabbage type, and I wait until there is a nice thick head in the center, and I cut only that. The leaves are somewhat blanched and tender and have a wonderful mild flavor. I used to take only the large outer leaves as garden books recommend ( to let the plant keep growing ) but these leaves can be quite thick and tough hence the recommendation to boil them for an hour or so that you often see. Try taking just the hearts and see if you don't agree that they are much better eating.

    Bookmark   April 11, 2008 at 9:51AM
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Collard greens grow very well here in the PNW--YEAR ROUND! Make sure you put in a generous supply of seeds in the garden in late September and you will have greens all winter. Covering the rows with plastic will help you find them easier if you get snow but snow will not stop collards from growing.

Plant some now too for slightly more bitter greens all summer long.

Ever heard of a Tree Collard? This perennial produces collard greens all year round and lives for up to 20 years!

    Bookmark   April 12, 2008 at 12:58PM
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I would love to try some yellow collards, having discovered that I absolutely love the green ones, especially from my garden! If anyone is local to Ayden and would be generous enough to buy some seed and send it to me, I would gratefully pay them handsomely and do my best to find something local to share :) The only thing I've found is a local variety of sweet potato that a 90 year old neighbor sells slips of every year that everyone raves about, but I have no idea what variety they actually are. He just put his sign out for this year and there's already a waiting list :)

    Bookmark   June 5, 2009 at 1:36PM
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ppod(6 SE NY)
    Bookmark   June 20, 2009 at 10:53PM
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climbthemtns(Zone 8 to 10)

If anyone is looking for seed, I have some. Send me an email to
I also have Wild Collard seed. I got this hybrid from someone on a garden forum and wish I had made a not of who it was so I could follow-up with the question: "Where did you get these???" It's semi-perennial - I grew one for two years until it flowered. It got almost six feet high and three feet wide with lots of branching.
The photo is my Yellow Cabbage Collard (Carolina Collard). I'll upload a second photo of the Wild Collard (the name that was on the envelope that was sent to me).


    Bookmark   November 8, 2012 at 8:54PM
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climbthemtns(Zone 8 to 10)

Here's the Wild Collard photo

    Bookmark   November 8, 2012 at 8:55PM
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Collard seems to be an American term. The tree "collard" is best known as Walking Stick Cabbage, Walking Stick Kale, or Jersey Kale ( from the island of Jersey) There are vendors in the USA

    Bookmark   November 9, 2012 at 4:32PM
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