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How to Plant Collard Seed

By Jenny Harrington ; Updated September 21, 2017

Collard greens are a cool-season plant like other leaf vegetables, including lettuce and spinach. The greens are used cooked on their own or in other dishes, similar to cabbage or spinach. Growing collard from seed in your garden is simple, as the plant requires minimal care and tolerates light spring frost. Plant collard seeds directly in the garden two weeks before the last expected spring frost or plant them at mid-summer if you want to grow the plants for a fall harvest.

Till a 3-inch layer of compost into a well-draining, full-sun garden bed. Apply 1 pound of 10-10-10 fertilizer per every 100 square feet of bed and work it in just prior to planting.

Make a 1/2-inch deep furrow for each row, spacing the rows 3 feet apart. Sprinkle the seeds in the furrows and cover with 1/2 inch of soil. Water thoroughly after planting.

Thin the seedlings so they are 6 inches apart once they sprout. Pluck out the excess seedlings and discard. Continue to water the bed, providing approximately 1 inch of water per week.

Fertilize the plants three weeks after planting, then again three weeks after that. Apply 3 oz. fertilizer per 100 square feet at each fertilization, working it into the soil between the rows.

Harvest every other plant in the row when they grow large enough that they are touching the plant next them. Use the harvested plants in the kitchen and leave the remaining plants in the garden to finish maturing.

Pick the outer leaves from the remaining collards in the garden as they are needed. Harvest the entire plant once in late June or before the heat of summer causes it to flower. Harvest fall plantings after the first fall frost.


Things You Will Need

  • Compost
  • Fertilizer
  • Hoe


  • Harvested collard greens can be stored for up to five days in the refrigerator.
  • Collards require additional water during dry periods. Keep the soil moist at all times.

About the Author


Jenny Harrington has been a freelance writer since 2006. Her published articles have appeared in various print and online publications. Previously, she owned her own business, selling handmade items online, wholesale and at crafts fairs. Harrington's specialties include small business information, crafting, decorating and gardening.