Veggie Spotlight - Collard Greens
Collard greens, easy to grow leafy vegetables belonging to the cruciferous family, offer numerous health benefits. Packed with essential nutrients, these greens are rich in vitamins A, C, and K, as well as folate and calcium. They are low in calories and high in fibre, making them an excellent choice for weight management and digestion. Collard greens also contain potent antioxidants that help combat inflammation and reduce the risk of chronic diseases, including heart disease and cancer. Additionally, they support bone health, boost the immune system, and contribute to healthy skin. Incorporating collard greens into your diet can enhance overall health, offering a tasty and nutritious addition to meals.
🌱 Growing collard greens is relatively easy and very rewarding. Here's a step-by-step guide on how to grow collards:
Choose the right time: Collards are cold-hardy, cool-season crops, so they thrive best in autumn and winter in Australia. The ideal temperature range for their growth is between 10°C and 24°C.
Select a suitable location: Collards require full sun exposure for at least six hours a day. Choose a spot in your garden that receives ample sunlight.
Prepare the soil: Collards prefer well-draining soil with a pH level between 6.0 and 6.8. Amend the soil with organic matter, such as compost or aged manure, to improve its fertility and drainage.
Sow the seeds: Collards can be directly sown into the ground or started in punnets or trays and transplanted when their second leaves have come in.
Watering: Keep the soil evenly moist, but not waterlogged. Water deeply, providing enough moisture to reach the root zone.
Fertilisation: Apply a balanced organic fertiliser or compost around the base of the plants once they reach about 10-15am in height. Follow the instructions on the fertiliser package for application rates.
Thinning and spacing: When the seedlings have grown about 5cm tall, thin them to maintain a spacing of 30-45cm between plants. This allows enough space for the plants to grow and receive proper airflow.
Mulching: Apply a layer of organic mulch, such as sugar cane mulch, around the plants to help conserve moisture, suppress weed growth, and maintain an even soil temperature.
Pest and weed control: Regularly inspect your collard greens for any signs of pests or diseases. Common pests include aphids and cabbage moth. If necessary, use organic pest control methods like clever companion planting or spraying regularly with neem oil. Remove any weeds that compete with the collard greens for nutrients and space.
Harvesting: Collard greens are typically ready for harvest in about 60-75 days from planting, depending on the variety. Begin harvesting the outer leaves when they reach a usable size, usually around 20-25cm long. Cut the leaves from the base of the plant, leaving the central growing point intact to allow for regrowth.
Once you're ready to harvest those well-tended greens, you'll need to put them to good use!
Here's a delicious recipe for collard green, leek, and cauliflower soup: 🍲
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 leek, white and light green parts only, sliced fine
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 head cauliflower, chopped into florets
- 4 cups chicken or vegetable broth
- 1 bunch collard greens, stems removed, leaves chopped
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Optional toppings: grated Parmesan cheese, chili flakes, fresh herbs, crispy bacon bits, croutons
1. Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the sliced leek and minced garlic, and sauté until the leek becomes tender and fragrant.
2. Add the cauliflower florets to the pot and stir well to combine with the leek and garlic.
3. Pour in the broth and bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and let it simmer for about 15 minutes or until the cauliflower is tender.
4. Add the chopped collard greens to the pot and continue simmering for an additional 5 minutes or until the greens are wilted.
5. Remove the pot from the heat and let it cool slightly. Use an immersion blender or transfer the soup to a blender to puree until smooth. If using a blender, be sure to blend in batches and exercise caution with hot liquids.
6. Season the soup with salt and pepper to taste.
7. Ladle the soup into bowls and garnish with grated Parmesan cheese, red pepper flakes, and/or fresh herbs such as chives or parsley if desired.
8. Serve hot and enjoy! Even better with a piece of well-buttered fresh baked bread to dunk. 🍞
This nutritious soup is packed with flavour and provides a comforting and healthy meal option. There is absolutely nothing better than sitting down to a meal you have nurtured from seed and harvested from your own little green patch, and then allowing that goodness to nurture you right back. 🥰
Grow, and eat well! 🌿
We have put together a special offer soup pack. Featuring Collards, Cauliflower, Leek, Onion, Parsley and Carrot. All for the bargain price of $20, including shipping. This pack is valued at $30. Find this pack here.