Ole Timey Blue Collard (Organic)
USDA Certified Organic
Seed Count: Approx. 300 seeds
Days to Maturity: 80 Days
Description: This variety was donated to Seed Savers Exchange in 1989 by Ralph Blackwell of Jasper, Alabama. Ralph was raised on a farm in the Sand Hills of Fayette County, AL, where his family has been growing this blue collard for as long as he could remember. Ralph and his brother, Barry, recall that they always called it by the name ‘Ole Timey Blue.’ Their mother, Ira Blackwell, grew this cultivar in the 1930s, and the family liked the taste of it better than other green-leafed varieties. Plants grow to 2 ft., however mine is currently about 3 ft. tall (It made a little tree).
Mint2Grow Tip: This is my favorite collard to grow. It's absolutely stunning in the garden with its dusty blue-green color. However, depending on where it's planted, color variation can occur. My collard that's half shaded from my intense Florida sun stayed its dusty blue-green color. However, the one I have planted in full sun, ended up with a dark purple ombré that starts at its tips. On top of being beautiful, its super tasty and tender too. I find that this collard is less bitter and tough than other collards, making it a real treat to make Southern styled collard greens with. I grew this easily in a 2 gallon fabric pot, and it's about 3 ft. tall now. However, I would recommend a bigger pot, if you're container gardening, because in a smaller pot, it requires a lot of water. I noticed that aphids, leaf miners, and caterpillars don't bother this plant much. It's also quite heat tolerant, despite me always forgetting to give it extra water.
How To Grow
Sowing: Sow seeds 1/4 to 1/2 inch deep. Seeds need soil temperatures between 50-75 degrees F to germinate. Sow 3 seeds every 18 inches, with rows 2 ft. apart. Thin all but the strongest seedlings. This plant is ideal for raised beds, but can be grown in containers and grow bags if they are big enough. I managed to successfully grow a 3 ft. plant in a 2 gallon container.
Growing: Collards need regular water and a good compost or fertilizer at least once a month. i feed mine fish emulsion once a month. Companion plant with dill, rosemary, sage, thyme, chamomile, potatoes, celery, beets, onions, mint, and nasturtiums. They will over winter in most areas. In fact, collards are most tender and delicious after frost. The waxy leaf surface reduces cabbage worms. Use a row cover when transplanting, if needed.
Harvesting: To harvest avoid the oldest leaves. Harvest by cutting upper leaves (if you wish to keep an on going crop), otherwise harvest the entire plant. Dunk harvested leaves in cold water to wash, store at 32˚F. Collards are most tender and delicious after a frost, and you can continue to harvest even after snow. To save seeds, allow the plant to flower and go to seed. After the pods dry and the
seeds inside are dark brown, remove them from the plant, and dry them completely indoors. Clean off as much chaff as possible, then store the seeds in a cool, dry place. Store seeds for up to 5 years.