Collard Seeds - White Cabbage Collards


Brassica oleracea

HEIRLOOM. Marvin Foster of Fairmont, NC says these collards were saved by his grandfather in Pender County, NC for at least 60 years, and notes that they turn white during cold spells. The plants produce light green leaves with thick, cabbage-like white midribs, and will form a loose head when allowed to grow to full size. We found the leaves quite tender and tasty when young, but a little toothy at full size, though they still have great flavor when cooked. 

This variety can be direct-seeded or transplanted in a location with full sun and well-drained soil. Collards will develop the sweetest flavor when grown in fall and exposed to chilly temperatures, so many gardeners prefer to seed them in late summer for fall harvest. Plants will be ready to harvest in approximately 70 days. 1.75 gram packet contains about 400 seeds.

  • Planting Information
  • How to Grow
  • Saving Seeds
Avg. Seeds/PacketPacket WeightPlanting SeasonPlanting Method
4001 gspring and fall

transplant or 

direct seed

Seed DepthDirect Seed SpacingSoil Temp. RangeDays to Sprout
1/4"1-2"40-85 ℉5-17
Mature SpacingSun RequirementFrost ToleranceDays to Harvest
8-12"full sunfrost-hardy70

For spring harvest, collards can be started indoors up to 10 weeks before your last frost date, and transplanted or direct seeded outside 4 to 6 weeks before the last frost. For fall harvest, direct seed three months before your first frost date. Seedlings started indoors will not require a heat mat, as these cold-hardy crops will germinate in soil temperatures down to 40 degrees, but do make sure to use a grow light. When seeding or transplanting into the garden, choose a location with full sun, and prepare your soil by mixing in an inch or two of compost. Don’t plant in the same location where other brassicas have been planted within the last three years. Plant seeds ¼ inch deep and 1 inch apart, and thin to 12 inches apart once the seedlings begin to crowd one another (and eat the baby greens you thin out!) Collards will begin to reach full size in about 60 days. Pick a few leaves from the base of each plant each time you harvest, leaving at least two full-sized leaves at the top, to give the plant plenty of energy to keep growing. Use a quick, twisting motion to snap leaves off close to the stem. When harvested this way, these plants will continue producing until they bolt in hot weather or are killed by a very hard freeze. Some varieties may bolt in summer while others will not (this is dependent on the weather too), but most will at least slow down growth and become more bitter tasting in the hottest months of summer. Frost-nipped fall collards are widely considered to be the best since the cold weather makes them taste sweeter, but spring-harvested collards are tasty too!

Kale and collards (Brassica oleracea, Brassica napus, or Brassica carinata) are insect-pollinated biennials. In order to save true seed, they should be isolated from any other crops of the same species that are in flower at the same time by at least one-half mile. To trigger flowering, they require a cold period (called vernalization) followed by warmer weather. Different varieties have varying vernalization requirements, but most require 8 to 10 weeks at temperatures below 50 degrees, meaning you will likely need to overwinter a crop to produce seed. Ethiopian kale (Brassica carinata) is a notable exception, as it commonly bolts in hot weather after a typical spring planting. Growers in most locations can successfully overwinter kale and collards outdoors, since these hardy plants can typically survive temperatures down to 10 degrees Fahrenheit. As the plants flower in spring, they may require staking to prevent the flower stalks from falling over. Harvest the seeds by cutting whole plants once two-thirds of the seed pods have turned brown. Bring the stalks indoors to finish drying on a tarp, to catch seeds that are released from the pods as they dry. Once the stalks and pods are totally dry, thresh the rest of the seeds out by crushing the stalks underfoot on a tarp, or hitting the stalks against the inside of a clean trash can. Winnow out the chaff by pouring seed and chaff from one container into another in front of a box fan on a low setting. Store your clean seeds in a cool, dark, and dry location.