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Frequently Asked Questions

What is the best type of Tree Collard?

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.

My Tree Collards are Blooming!  Are they dying? What should I do?

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.

How do I collect Tree Collard Seeds?

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.

Are the seeds true to type (identical to the parent plant)?

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, flavor, texture, color, etc. and choose which ones you want to grow out.

Can I grow tree collards in a pot?

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.

What animals eat tree collards?

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.

Do you ship internationally?

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.

How do you ship domestically?  Can you rush ship my order?

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

When do you ship?

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

How do you cook them?

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.

Can I grow tree collards in a colder USDA climate?

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.

What other plants can I plant under or near tree collards?

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


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