Growing Collard Greens
in Northeast Florida Vegetable Gardens
( Brasica oleracea )
Collard greens are one of the easiest to grow vegetable plants for the Northeast Florida home gardener. They are a considered a cool season crop and are grown in spring and again in fall in the Jacksonville and St. Augustine Florida area.
Plant your collard green seeds or S&J Nursery transplants in early spring, as soon as the weather begins to warm in February, March, and April. Begin your second crop for the year in late summer, start planting from August to November for your winter crop of fresh collard greens.
Foliage, Origins, and Use of Collard Greens / Brasica oleracea for Northeast Florida vegetable gardens:
Collard Greens are a non heading relative of the cabbage family. They originated in the eastern portions of the Mediterranean area and are little changed from their original form to today’s modern hybrids.
A biennial or sometimes perennial plant, collard greens can grow a stalk up to 4 ft high with time. The thick leaves are a traditional southern vegetable, chopped and used as greens or pot herbs.
Planting Season for Collard Greens in the Jacksonville and St. Augustine Florida and their surrounding areas:
They are a considered a cool season crop and are grown in spring and again in fall in the Jacksonville and St. Augustine Florida area.
Some gardeners wait till after the first frost to begin harvesting collard greens, it is said to be slightly sweeter after exposure to freezing temperatures.
Collard greens will be ready to harvest from seed planted in 70-80 days and from S & J Nursery transplants in as little as 40-60 days.
Sun Exposure for growing Collard Greens in Northeast Florida Vegetable Gardens:
Plant your collard greens in a full sun or partially shaded location for the Jacksonville and St. Augustine area.
If allowing your collard green plants to perennialize, plant in a location that will receive a minimum of all afternoon shade during the hot summer months.
Soil Preferences for Collard Greens / Brasica oleracea in the Jacksonville and St. Augustine Florida areas:
Collard green vegetable plants grow well in any well drained soils.
Amend your vegetable planting site generously with a good quality compost each year in spring before planting your collard greens for best results.
Care of Collard Greens in the Northeast Florida Vegetable Garden:
Watering your Collard Greens:
Collard greens are drought tolerant and can be planted and left to grow on their own after seeds and transplants are established into the garden.
For maximum growth potential, keep soil moist by mulching plants generously and giving extra water as needed when rainfall levels are low.
Fertilizing Your Collard Greens:
Feed every three to four weeks with an all purpose fertilizer like 6-6-6.
Or for an organic approach, try fertilizing with a mixture of fish emulsions and seaweed(kelp) at one ounce each per gallon of water. Apply semi weekly as a foliar spray.
If your vegetable plants look like they could use a boost, give them a good watering with homemade compost tea as soon as the top few inches of soil around your plant is dry to the touch!
Harvesting Your Collard Greens foliage in the Northeast Florida Vegetable Garden:
Commercially, entire rosettes of collard greens are cut from the base and harvested in bunches.
Home gardeners in the Northeast Florida area may pick newer tender leaves and leave the lower sets of older leaves on the plant to help it maintain it’s growth. Or remove all lower leaves and leave only the newest tender young new growth at the top of the stalk to continue to develop for subsequent harvests.
Store your fresh collard leaves in the refrigerator for up to a week after harvesting.