- 1). Loosen the soil to a depth of at least 10 inches with a shovel. Remove rocks and other debris you come across. Select a planting site that is in full sun all day.
- 2). Spread a 4-inch-layer of well-rotted manure or compost over the soil surface if it is predominantly clay or sand. Work it into the ground uniformly.
- 3). Rake the planting bed to create a smooth area. Drag the back of the rake over the surface to firm it.
- 4). Broadcast 2 lbs. of 10-10-10 fertilizer per 100 square feet of bed when you are ready to sow the seeds in early spring. Wait until the soil temperature reaches 45 degrees Fahrenheit. Blend the fertilizer with the top 3 inches of soil.
- 5). Build soil ridges 6 inches higher than the surface level. Space multiple ridges 3 feet from one another.
- 6). Make ½-inch-deep furrows on the ridge surfaces. Sow 1 tsp. collard green seeds per 30 feet of row evenly. Cover the seeds with ¼-inch layer of topsoil.
- 7). Irrigate the seeds with a fine mist or a soaker hose to prevent strong jets of water from dislodging them. Maintain the seedbed consistently moist. Germination occurs within 12 days. Give the developing plants 1 inch water weekly. Adjust the irrigation if it rains.
- 8). Thin the seedlings at five weeks to one plant for every 18 inches of row. Do not discard the plants you pull. Collard greens are edible in any stage of development. Add to a salad.
- 9). Pull weeds by hand as soon as they sprout around the collard greens. If you use a hoe or another weeding tool, take care not to damage the roots.
Broadcast 1 tbsp. 10-10-10 fertilizer in a band 2 inches away from each seedling. Scratch the nutrient superficially into the soil. Water it in. Repeat in five weeks after you thin the plants. Feed collards again if the leaves become yellow and you determine the discoloring isn't because of pests.
Begin to harvest collard green leaves when the plants grow 1 foot tall. Use hand shears to cut the larger bottom leaves only, allowing the smaller foliage above them to continue to develop for future harvests. Alternatively, cut the cluster of tender leaves in the center of the plant if you prefer the tender growth.
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