No Matter What You Think About Greens.....

Collard Greens

....adding them to your diet has it's benefits.

"Greens" are a vegetable that has been part of a southerners diet for many, many years. Greens by local definition can mean anything that is loose leaf like kale, collards, mustard, turnip or cabbage. "Mess o' greens" is the term you'll hear when a true southerner cooks a batch for a meal. Most often they are cooked with ham hocks or salt pork, slowly boiling them down until tender.

Although much of the American tradition of growing greens comes from the south, you can find them as a part of the ancient Greek diet all of the way to a 17th century Lowland Scot's diet. Collards are one of the oldest varieties of the cabbage family and one of the mildest flavors of the greens.

One of OUR main reasons for growing collard greens in our garden is for it's amazing nutritional qualities. For as quickly as it grows, produces and ease of cooking, adding it to our diet just seems to be a logical choice. Even if we only add chopped up bits at a time to soups and such we are able to improve our vitamin intake.

Collards are considered a cool season crop like broccoli, cabbage, Brussels sprouts and cauliflower. Here in North Texas its best to either grow them as a fall crop (planting dates: seeds 8/1-9/1 & transplants 8/25-9/15) or make sure you plant them in early spring (planting dates: seeds 2/10-3/10 & transplants 2/15-3/1) You will get bitterness in your plants if you grow them when it's warmed up quite a bit in late spring and early summer.

Even if you aren't growing these yourselves, I would list collards among the best values for the money. If you're trying to stretch a buck these days, looking for high nutrient and low cost foods, then collards would easily fit into your diet. The best way to get them is fresh, but I often see them in the produce section of our local grocery store already bagged.

I'll be cooking up a "mess o' greens" today for my family along with eggs cooked in one fashion or another from our chickens plus whatever else I can think of today. Having fresh organic food right out in my backyard amazes me still. What a gift!


  1. I really never liked them because they always tasted so bitter! Then I tried some fall grown ones with vinegar and ham chunks. So good I could have cried!

    Thanks for the great plant profile.

  2. Sounds wonderful! Are we all invited? Happy gardening to you :)

  3. @ ChristyACB
    Thanks. I think greens in general have been disliked in general because of how they were cooked. I'm happy to know you've been won over. :)


    Come on over, lol..I'll keep them warm on the stove for you. :)

  4. What a gift is right! That looks like a fantastic crop of greens. I hope you enjoy them.

  5. as a New Yorker I never tried them till a southern transplant friend of mine made a mess of greens and black eyed peas for new years.

    Absolutely Awesome!

    This year I found a black eyed pea variety that supposedly will mature up here. I plan to grow some collards in the fall for a local version of the meal come winter. I'm told if you keep them under a plastic hoop they do fine well into the winter.

  6. Collard Greens -- I tried them for the first time last week at a dinner fixed by someone who has them all the time. I liked them (my son thought they were too bitter) -- but boy! Did I ever find out they clean out the ole' intestinal tract the next day! I'll have to keep that in mind next time and not eat so many. :)

    Kind of reminds me of the taste of poke greens (picked and cooked only when very young, of course)

    Tracy (from FreedomGardens)


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