SE&TENSION VEGETABLE CROPS Bu. mw I,
0 REPORT 6& HUME LIBRARY
*--" "I JUL 1 1 1972
GROWING COLLAROS IN FLORIDA JUL 11972
Prepared by I.F.A.S. Univ. of Florida
James M4 Stephens
Assistant Vegetable Crops Specialist
Florida Agricultural Extension Service
The collard is a green, leafy vegetable whose nutritious cabbage-like
leaves are cooked as greens, It has been a mainstay in home gardens all
over Florida and other southern states for many years, and has provided
fair net returns for market gardeners and a reliable source of income for
several farmers growing them for processing companies. While many gardeners
look to the collard for fall, winter, and spring enjoyment, there are others
who are not acquainted with this vegetable due to having gardened in states
farther north until recently.
The edible portions of the collard plant are the dark green leaves
which are borne in a rosette fashion around an upright, stocky main stem.
These leaves resemble cabbage leaves prior to heading. They are a,:valuable
food because of high vitamin and mineral content.
The collard thrives over a wide range of growing conditions and is
grown throughout most months of the year. The quality is best and the
plant thrives best however, during the cooler months of the year. Probably
the best quality collards are those planted in the fall and matured during
light frost periods of early winter. They can withstand exposure to tem-
peratures as low as 150 F. unless such temperatures abruptly follow a period
of warm weather. Continued exposure to relatively low temperatures for
extended periods of time may cause collards to produce seedstalks. This
will vary with such things as age of the plants, temperature, and length
of exposure. For example, it usually requires less exposure to cold for
older plants to go to seed (bolt).
A standard for many years and still popular is the variety named
Georgia (also known as Southern). It grows from two to three feet tall
and has a whitish stem. Another good variety often planted is Vates.
Both it and another recommended variety, Louisiana Sweet, produce short
stems and large leaves.
COOPERATIVE EXTENSION WORK IN AGRICULTURE AND HOME ECONOMICS
(ACTs OF MAY 8 AND JUNE 30, 1914)
AGRICULTURAL EXTENSION SERVICE, UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA
FLORIDA STATE UNIVERSITY AND UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE, COOPERATING
M. 0. WATKINS, DIRECTOR
Collards may be started in a seedbed (or seed flat) and transplanted
later into the row, or they may be directly seeded into the row and thinned
to proper stand. From seeding to harvest requires from 50 to 60 days.
Row Plant Seed
Seed Rate Plant Rate Spacing Spacing Depth
k oz. per 100 ft. 75 per 100 ft. 24-36 in. 12-18 in. in.
2-5 lb. per acre 10 to 15 thousand
North Central South
Feb-Mar Jan-Apr Sept-Jan
Sept-Oct Aug-Nov Aug-Nov
Collards respond very well to nitrogen, potassium, and phosphorus fer-
tilization. They are especially responsive to applications of nitrogen,
primarily in the latter part of the growing period. The following fertiliza-
tion practices should be followed depending on the type of soil and use of
(1) Irrigated mineral soil -- At planting time in the field (with direct
seeding or transplanting) apply 1800 pounds per acre of a 6-8-8 analysis
fertilizer (or an equivalent) in a band 2 to 3 inches to the side and slightly
below the level of the seed. In the garden, a similar amount to apply is 4
pounds per 100 square feet.
Two or three side dressings with a nitrogenous fertilizer such as with
about 100 pounds of ammonium nitrate per acre (k pound per 100 square feet)
during the growing season are beneficial, especially following periods of
heavy, leaching rainfall. Also, similar applications of potassium fertilizers
such as about 50 to 100 pounds per acre (a handful per 100 square feet) of
potassium sulfate may be needed. Both nitrogen and potassium might be applied
at the same time in form of a 15-0-15 analysis fertilizer at rate of 200 pounds
(2) Unirrigated mineral soils -- About the same fertilizer practices as
used with irrigated soils should also be used on unirrigated soils, except the
amount of fertilizer should be reduced by about one-third.
(3) Organic soils -- About 1000 pounds per acre of an 0-10-15 analysis
fertilizer is suggested for application at planting time. Side dressings of
nitrate nitrogen might be needed to the crop following heavy rains or cold spells.
(4) Rockland soils -- Apply about 800 pounds of a 6-8-8 fertilizer per
acre (or 2 pounds per 100 square feet) at planting time. One or two supplemen-
tal applications of about 400 pounds of 6-8-8 fertilizer may be beneficial
during the growing season.
Garden -- Use of chemicals for weed control in the garden is not recommended.
Weeds are easy to control by cultivation when they are small. Shallow cultivation
and hoeing are advised in order to prevent damage to the root system.
Field -- Where their use is economically possible, the following chemicals
are recommended. Follow container label information. For more complete infor-
mation see Florida Agricultural Extension Circular 196, "Vegetable Weed Control
Pre-emergence (to weeds and crop): Post-transplanting
CDEC -- 4 to 6 pounds per acre on sand (apply immediately after transplanting
or muck (best against broadleaf Use pre-emergence to weeds).
weeds). DCPA -- it is suggested that 10.5
TCA -- 15 pounds per acre on muck pounds per acre be used for trial
(for grass). purposes.
Insects and Diseases
Garden -- Quality and yields of collards may be seriously reduced by
insect damage if a preventive spray or dust program is not followed. Insects
which may be of special concern are aphids, cabbage loopers, cutworms, other
foliage worms, leaf miners and mole crickets. Many of these attack the leaves
and usually can be controlled with a weekly application of a dust or spray
containing one or more of these: malathion, DDT, Sevin or toxaphene. A 2%
diazinon dust is recommended for leaf miner control. Since cutworms and mole
crickets are soil insects, they may be controlled by applying a 1l or 2% chlor-
dane bait in the late afternoon to the soil around the plant, or chlordane dust
or spray can be applied to the soil. Be especially careful not to get chlordane
on the plant. In all cases, read the container labels and follow all directions
given. The waiting period between last application and harvest for toxaphene is
14 days; for diazinon is 10 days; and for malathion is 7 days.
Most diseases of collards may be controlled by weekly spraying or dusting
the plants with zineb or maneb. Gardeners wishing to avoid having plants with
black rot should obtain seed which has been treated with hot water.
Field (insect control) -- The following sprays and dusts are recommended
for use by commercial growers. PARATHION AND PHOSDRIN MUST NEVER BE USED BY
HOME GARDENERS. For more detailed information on pest control on collards,
refer to Florida Agricultural Extension Circular 193E, from which these recommen-
dations were taken.
Minimum Days to
Insects Spray Dust Harvest
Aphids Dibrom 8E, 1 pt. 4
Parathion 4E, -1 pt. Parathion 2% 15
Phosdrin 2E, 1 pt. 3
Leaf Miners Diazinon 2E, 1-2 pts. Diazinon 2% 10
Parathion 4E, 1 pt. Parathion 2% 15
Cabbage Loopers Parathion 4E, 1 pt. Parathion 2% 15
Caterpillars Phosdrin 2E, 1-2 pts. 3
Toxaphene BE, 2 pts. Toxaphene 10% 28
Cutworms and Mole crickets -- Apply chlordane 10% dust to soil before planting.
Once plants are up, a chlordane-wheat bran bait may be used in late .afternoon
around the base of plants.
Wireworms -- Apply parathion or dizainon to soil before planting.
Field (disease control) -- To control fungi, nematodes, and weeds in seed-
beds, soil may be treated with methyl bromide, chloropicrin, or SMDC (Vapam, VPM).
To control such diseases as downy mildew and alternaria leaf spot, both in
the see4bed and in the field, spray once or twice a week with zineb 75%, 2
pounds per acre.
Where black rot of collards is a problem, seed should be treated with hot
water (1220 F. for 18 minutes) preferably by a trained operator using special
Usually it will be 7 to 10 weeks from seeding before any plants will be
ready for market. There are several ways of harvesting for market.
(1) One method is to cut all of the crop when three to six plants make
a 2-pound bunch.
(2) Another method is to cut off 2/3 or 3/4 of the plant. After 10 days
or so of renewed growth, the cutting can be repeated. This procedure can be
repeated as many as six or more times.
(3) A third method is to pull the lower leaves as they reach a desirable
size for bunching. This is the normal procedure used by home gardeners for
Most growers prefer to tie in bunches of 1i to 2 pounds. Following wash-
ing, they should be cooled as soon as possible in water held at 34-40o F.
Chlorine maintained in the wash water at the rate of 50-100 ppm will help cut
down on post-harvest decay losses. Where feasible, collards may be vacuum-cooled.
At all times following harvest and cooling, they should be kept as near as
possible to 32-400 F. Since most collards are transported in bulk or in 26
pound-bushel crates, they are most often top or contact-iced.
PRODUCTS LISTED IN THIS MIMEOGRAPH ARE NOT TO BE USED
TO THE SPECIFIC EXCLUSION OF OTHER PRODUCTS OF SIMILAR