Frequently Asked Questions

Please look through our Frequently Asked Questions below or send us a message using the contact form at the bottom of the page.

Purple Tree Collards are still our favorite because they rarely bloom and stay more productive year round.  They are also aesthetically striking in the landscape because they contrast highly with the other plants due to their coloration.

It is normal for Tree Collards to bloom in Spring and it varies from variety to variety.  They are not dying.  

If you want to harvest and eat the flowers as you would broccoli, you can do so, but the plants will make flowers again and you will be in effect extending the reproductive cycle and delaying the plants’ return to leaf production.

If you don’t eat the flowers, let them bloom and form seed pods.  When the pods are turning less green and more brown, you can cut the branches of seeds off.  This will be approximately 3-4 months of wait time.  Once you cut them off, they should return to vigorous leaf production.

You need to follow the process outlined in the previous question but wait for them to turn brown on the plant.  Once they are a brown/tan color, you can remove them and put them in an open brown paper bag or cardboard box.  Let them mature and dry out for 2-3 months before you open the pods and extract the seeds.

No.  Tree Collards readily cross-pollinate with other members of the Brassica Family, so if you purchase or harvest seeds, they will be experimental varieties.  All will be edible but perhaps not all will be your favorite.  You can grow seedlings large enough to see different characteristics of leaf shape, texture, color, etc. and choose which ones you want to grow out.

Yes you can.  The bigger the pot, the happier the plant will be long-term.  For the best results, give it the highest quality potting soil you can afford.  Potting soil is designed to drain properly and to provide proper nutrition to the plant (and thus to you).  Several times each year you will want to feed your potted tree collard plants some organic all-purpose fertilizer.  Tree Collards and other plants in that family also appreciate some Calcium, such as crushed oyster shells, 1-2 times a year.

We all have different “wild” animals in our gardens, that can sometimes eat our plants when we don’t want them to.  It is impossible to predict which animals will eat them.  Just because you have squirrels or blue jays or possums doesn’t mean they will eat them, but it is a possibility…  Tree Collards are tasty and nutritious and the animals know that.  On my urban farm, squirrels, rats, opossums, raccoons, and birds leave them alone.  However, I have heard from plenty of customers that these animals and others can decimate them.

As for domestic animals, horses, goats, pigs, sheep, poultry, and rabbits love them.

We can only ship seeds internationally.  Please don’t ask us to ship anything other than seeds.  We have shipped them to every continent in the last 4 years.

We ship via USPS and are not currently set up to expedite shipping.

We typically ship on Monday mornings so it is optimal to get your order in by Sunday.

The best selection of varieties of Tree Collards are roughly from July to January or February. The reason for this is that many of the varieties are blooming from February through June or so. During this time they are not able to be successfully propagated.

This is a big yummy topic, but in a nutshell, use them in any recipe that calls for collards, kale or swiss chard.  This includes stir fries, soups, smoothies, collard chips, or egg frittatas.  Some people do not digest raw members of the brassica family well and it is suggested by some nutritionists that they are more readily digested when cooked.

Yes, and it will probably be more work than those of us in more moderate climates.  We have heard from customers in Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Maine, Vermont, New York, etc. who are finding ways of growing them.  One customer from Connecticut recently said their Merritt Collard seedlings survived the winter this year outdoors with no protection from snow or cold!!!!

One option is to take cuttings of your plants in late September or early October before the first freezes and bring them in the house.  They could be kept under grow lights, in a jar of water, or wrapped in moist paper towels in the refrigerator.  Another idea is to grow them in a greenhouse that stays around 30 degrees.  Perhaps a cold frame may also work.  We are in warm California, so we are not experts in any of these techniques.

We like to plant low lying medicinal or culinary herbs under or next to tree collards.  There are too many to name but here are a few:  purslane, lamb’s quarters, borage, self-heal, thyme, hyssop, mache, calendula, oregano, mint, violets, clover, pennyroyal

Perennials are plants that live for at LEAST two years. Usually, perennials live for many years. If one is gardening in USDA zones 8-10, some perennials include, fruit trees, fruiting vines such as kiwi and grapes, most berries, Tree Collards, Asparagus, Artichokes, many herbs such as thyme, rosemary, and sage, and many more obscure plants such as Longevity Spinach and Scarlet Runner Beans.

Perennials receive the same soil preparation as annual vegetables such as lettuce, cauliflower, kale and tomatoes, but they produce food for many years instead of a season. This way, we have beds in our garden that we don’t have to raise seedlings for (or purchase them) and plan the constant change of crops.

Because Project Tree Collard is a tiny, urban nursery, it is too costly to go through the certification program at this time. However, we adhere to organic practices, or what we call “beyond organic”. Organic certification actually limits and regulates compost applications and many other natural growing practices. It also approves some insecticides such as BT, which are quite toxic.

We believe in only using natural fertilizers such as crushed oyster shell, mineral rock dust, and homemade compost. We never spray our plants with anything, not even soap. We have allowed insects, birds, bats, etc. to find their own balance over the past 17 years on site. Thus we have very few pest issues.

You will first want to find a bed with the appropriate sun exposure for your climate (for example, full sun in more temperate climates such as the Pacific Northwest, and some dabbled or afternoon shade in Florida and Arizona)

We are a fan of “no dig” methods of gardening, aka Permaculture, but prepare your bed in your own way, integrating abundant compost into the bed. You may choose to add some calcium supplement such as crushed oyster shells, since Tree Collards are heavy calcium feeders.

Plan on planting your Tree Collard Plants approximately 3 feet apart. You can do it closer or farther, but this is a good distance for most gardens.

You are free to experiment with your own ways of propagation. We advise our customers to root them a certain way because it seems to have the most consistent success for beginners and advanced gardeners alike. We want success for everyone. Our method is the one we use to root a hundred plants a week.

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Thank you for your inquiry and looking forward to hearing from you.