any tips on harvesting collard greens? Can these be used as needed? If so, do you cut from the bottom first? What size do the leaves need to be?
You start from the bottom when those leaves are 2 hands in size and you have enough for a cooking. Next you wash them good then start cooking. when done have some cornbread to go with them and start eating, but PLEASE save me some lol.
I fear that collards harvested at this time of year may be bitter. In the south, they are planted so that the timing of the harvest coincides with some frosty temperatures. A frost seems to bring out the sugars. Please let us know how yours turn out.
All leafy greens I can only recommend harvesting by the leaf as needed. You can get so much more per plant this way.
Harvest the largest leaves first at the size you prefer to eat them.
I cut off the outer leaves and leave the ones in the middle to keep growing and producing. So far, I've only gotten one nice sized meal out of one plant that was beginning to see the ravages of cabbage moth larvae, but it's still growing and doesn't look to be ready to bolt any time soon (fingers crossed). They were a bit bitter, but I enjoyed it anyway, maybe solely because I was thrilled to be eating the collards before the larvae did.
Not to worry about bitter collards. I have a great recipe especially suited for those greens (turnips, kale, collards, rape, etc.) if they're a tad bitter:
Put a clean brick in the bottom of a large pot, fill with your choice of freshly cut greens, and cover with water. Bring to a boil. Dump the water and repeat two times. On the third boil, add slab bacon, if desired, and S/P to taste. I like a bit of vinegar in the water, too.
After the water comes to a boil for this third and final time, drain the pot of water and greens......and eat the brick.