Do you know your collards?

mauirose(11)June 11, 2009

i'm growing this 'new to me' asian green-Komatsuna 'Senposai'.

Supposed to be a Komatsuna/Cabbage hybrid. It's easy to grow, fast, and productive and has a nice flavor. The thing is i saw a picture of collard greens the other day and now i'm thinking they look a lot like my Komatsuna 'Senposai'! i've never really seen collards in person, what do you think?

"

Please excuse the bug bites, they really don't affect the taste ; )

Here is a link that might be useful: For the curious

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pnbrown

Cabbage is effectively a heading form of collard (the word 'collard' is a corruption of 'cole-wort', AS for 'kale-plant'). So collards and cabbages often have leaves that would be very difficult to distinguish on their own...

    Bookmark   June 11, 2009 at 6:30AM
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iam3killerbs(7 NC Sandhills)

Collards and cabbages are close relatives so a family resemblance is expected. And that's a good resemblance, though your greens look more delicate and tender than collards.

Collards are bluer with smoother leaves and, because those leaves are quite stiff and firm, present what I can only describe as an upright, "at attention" appearance. Collards take more cooking than most greens -- they're too chewy to eat any but the very youngest leaves raw (and they are cabbagy to the extreme when raw anyway).

If well protected from bug-chewing, they're a very handsome plant that could, outside the southeast where everyone knows what they are, be passed off as an ornamental.

I'm afraid I don't have a picture of mine that I can share. I found some on the web, but when I tried to put them into the format for the forum I couldn't get it right.

Your greens certainly look tasty. I don't have any greens ready to eat because my chard sat there doing nothing for weeks and has only now decided to grow. But this has reminded me that there is one, lonely bag of frozen collards in the back of the freezer that I should probably cook for dinner tonight. :-)

I bookmarked your link for next year because I could really use a heat-tolerant, cabbage-family green around here. The collards are a winter crop.

Here is a link that might be useful: Recipes for collards (or kale)

    Bookmark   June 11, 2009 at 9:08AM
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farmerdilla

Looks like a mustard -spinach (Brassica rapa var. komatsuna) Collard look like a cabbage when young.

    Bookmark   June 11, 2009 at 11:12AM
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iam3killerbs(7 NC Sandhills)

Farmerdilla, you seem to be the resident authority on southern crops. Do collards come in red or purple like cabbage does?

If so, I WILL use them as an ornamental (and eat them too). :-)

    Bookmark   June 11, 2009 at 2:29PM
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pnbrown

The so-called red russian kale is close to being a red collard. The leaves cook down a bit more tender than a typical collard.

Nice-looking greens, farmerdilla!

    Bookmark   June 11, 2009 at 2:33PM
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iam3killerbs(7 NC Sandhills)

I grow Kale too. My Yankee Collards are an adaptation of my Kale recipe that I learned from Italian acquaintances in Pittsburgh's multi-ethnic mill towns.

I like the form of the collard plant and figured that, if a red or purple one existed, it would be prettier in my streetfront bed than the ornamental cabbages and kales -- serving two purposes. :-)

    Bookmark   June 11, 2009 at 2:55PM
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cabrita(9b SoCal)

Collards are Brassica oleracea, just like cabbage, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, kale, broccoli. Same species, but that does not mean they are the same. Theirs leaves seem to taste the similar though. They will cross too. I use collards, some forms of kale, cabbage, the outer leaves of cauliflower interchangeably in cooking. I will be soon trying the outer leaves of Brussels spouts, they look like they will be the same too (still waiting for sprouts).

So while we are talking about collards and Farmerdilla is here I might as well ask a question. I have always sown Georgia collards and they do well here. However, it does not freeze much, so they are normally bitter. Does anyone know of other Collard varieties that do not get so bitter with warmer weather? they look nice and healthy, just taste bitter. When we travel to the south (Louisiana) we buy collards on the side of the roads, and those are not bitter. I do not think it freezes there much either, so I am thinking southern gardeners might use other varieties? or am I doing something wrong? or failing to do something right?

    Bookmark   June 11, 2009 at 2:55PM
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anney(Georgia 8)

Since collards don't have fruits that need to be pollinated, is it possible to grow them under row covers all season long to prevent bugs from helping themselves? And, in the same family, would broccoli grow to maturity under row covers, too? Mine were nearly destroyed last year by loopers and flea beetles. Didn't get much broccoli.

I've planned to grow broccoli as a fall crop this year in hopes of avoiding the plague of spring pests and am wondering if I can use row covers to further help them along?

    Bookmark   June 11, 2009 at 3:18PM
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ania_ca

I just bought Senposai seeds the other day and am going to try them in the fall. The picture that I saw online when I bought the seeds looks like your plant.

I'm also going to try some giant red mustard in pots. That one looks like a very nice ornamental.

Ania

    Bookmark   June 11, 2009 at 3:33PM
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farmerdilla

iam3killerbs; I do not know of any red collards, but they should be simple to develop. They are just a loose leaf cabbage. Probably have not been done , because southerners don't take much to red cabbage or kale.
cabrita ; Georgian is popular but one of the least tasty in my opinion. Collards are a fall/winter crop here. Much tastier in cool weather. My choice for flavor is Green Glaze, followed closely by Cabbage Collards. Some of the hybrids are fairly tasty and they are more vigorous. Best thus far, Flash.

    Bookmark   June 11, 2009 at 6:17PM
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pnbrown

I grew GG for a couple years but even that one which is supposed to be somewhat resistant was getting torn up wicked by cabbage-moth.

    Bookmark   June 11, 2009 at 6:35PM
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farmerdilla

Cabbage worms (butterfly) and cabbage looper (moth) are not active here from late September to March. Anyone who grows brassicas April to September should discover Bt. very effective on all butterfly or moth larva, but especially effective on these two.
My favorite mustard spinach, Savanna

    Bookmark   June 11, 2009 at 8:20PM
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cabrita(9b SoCal)

iam3killerbs, there is a red mustard, Red giant is the name, that is really beautiful. It is a Brassica rapa (rather than oleracea), very nice color and shape. Mine is going to seed right now so a picture would not do it justice. Perhaps this would work for you in edible landscaping? I am planning to use it in this fashion myself when I sow brassicas again in the fall. I loved it shredded in salads for a little mustard bite, and the leaves were great in sandwiches too, any sandwich where you would use mustard. Pnbrown mentioned the red russian kale, I have it growing too and it is really good looking. It is also pretty pest resistant around here. I also have the black tuscan kale, that one wins the beauty contest (IMHO) and I find it the tastiest too. It is a little slower to grow than the other kales though.

Farmerdilla, thanks for the information, this is exactly what I was looking for. I will look for seeds for the varieties you mentioned. In general I like heirlooms since I try to save seeds, but for collard I usually do not, so hybrids will work if they perform better. My problem last year was that it would not cool down in the fall here, it really did not cool down until December! so I figured the cole crops would not sprout well in the heat, and I have no air conditioning in my house. So we waited until December to sow cole crops. I know that was a mistake, but I am not sure how to get around this problem. Will they sprout and do OK in the heat? I am talking 90s and even 100s, in November, it was crazy (Santa Ana winds).

    Bookmark   June 11, 2009 at 8:33PM
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mauirose(11)

Well thank-you all, i can see the difference clearly now. And am glad to be growing Komatsuna after those descriptions of collards!

i picked some Bt up a few months ago but haven't used it yet. Really need to mix some up and spray the chard if i want to eat any myself since it is getting hammered by some wormy caterpillar. Might even help my Komatsuna to look more like Farmerdilla's Savannah ; )

    Bookmark   June 12, 2009 at 3:38AM
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pnbrown

Rose, IME the pests that plague brassica do not bother chard, beet, spinach. I don't think there is any need to apply bt to those.

Farmerdilla, my impression is that the imported cabbage butterfly/moth (or whatever it calls its loathsome self) becomes increasingly less of a problem as one goes toward Dixie. The mid-atlantic coast seems to be perfection for them; at higher northern elevations winters are cold enough to disrupt them, and I know that they don't exist in central florida presumably because summers are too hot. I have had infestations here in the past so severe that bt affected them like cough-syrup on strep throat. You can almost hear them scoff......

    Bookmark   June 12, 2009 at 7:03AM
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farmerdilla

cabrita; Most collards are open pollinated, that includes Green Glaze, both types of Cabbage Collards,, Georgia, Vates, Morris Heading etc. Hybrids include Flash, Top Bunch, Bulldog.
pnbrown; The looper moth is rare here, But right now I could catch a hundred cabbage butterflies in a few minutes. They are worst here than they were in Virginia, where I spent most of my life. Without Bt, cabbages, broocoli and cauliflower would be shredded. Secret is to have Bt on the plant when the larva hatch out.

    Bookmark   June 12, 2009 at 7:45AM
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mauirose(11)

Pat you may be right, most of the damage on the Komatsuna i think is from the Chinese Rose Beetle. The cabbage moths are around but seem to be mostly trapped by a large patch of nasturtium although i have picked one or two green caterpillars off of the Komatsuna. Sure hope it helps the chard tho', i've been letting the damage go for a few months now hoping it would sort itself out but no luck. Practically skeletonized and not a bit left for me to eat! And yes, whatever it is hasn't touched the Komatsuna, bok choy or lettuce.

    Bookmark   June 12, 2009 at 1:36PM
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eddiebuck

farmerdilla: do you have diamondback moth caterpillars,if so, how do you get the sprays on the underside of those collard leaves where them varmints are hiding? Thanks EB

    Bookmark   July 4, 2009 at 2:06AM
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farmerdilla

Ninety percent of mine are the imported cabbage worm (Pieris protodice). Adult is a small white butterfly. This is a medium green caterpillar. I just overspray with Bt. It gets them when they come out to feed. They have to eat Bt for it to affect them. I have encountered the looper (Trichoplusia ni ) which is a slender green looper (What as a kid I called an inch worm) but it is relatively rare here. This one is the the larva of a moth. Bt. works on any type of butterfly or moth larva. Have not had a problem with the Diamondback (Plutella xylostella ). In it early stages it is supposed to act as a leaf miner, so I don't know if Bt would be effective.

    Bookmark   July 4, 2009 at 8:18AM
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