Collards in Bloom, or, What’s going on with the yellow flowers?

Collard, like many greens, will continue producing leaves you can harvest and eat during cool weather, but once the temperatures rise, collard plants will start producing seeds, a process called bolting. collard plants create hundreds of tiny flowers on stems that grow out of the center of the plant. After the flower petals fall off, in a couple weeks, you’ll see little pods forming on the stems. These pods contain the collard seeds. Let the pods ripen and dry on the plant, then harvest them. Remove the seeds from their pods, then save them in a paper bag until the next growing season. One thing to note: collards, broccoli, Brussels’ sprouts, cauliflower, cabbage, kohlrabi, and kale, except Siberian kale, are all in the species Brassica oleracea, so they will all cross polinate. If they cross polinate, your seed will be a hybrid that may or may not produce anything. If it does produce, it won’t be the vegetable you want. So, if you’re saving seeds, only let one type go to seed and pull the rest of the plants before they produce flowers. For example, only let your collards produce seeds and pull your kale, broccoli, and cauliflower before they bolt.

cybersources:   Save your fruit and vegetable seeds! .

see also with good pictures:   Saving Collard Green Seeds | breathingplanet

Steve’s commentary: So, if you have Collards flowering in your area: please, decide now whether you want to save seed. If so, pick the best plants and save the seed according to the directions above. If not,  and for the rest; cut off the flowering tops. You can continue to harvest the leaves. Or, and especially for poor specimens; pull them up and dedicate the space to a more productive crop. If you don’t, seeds will eventually fall to the ground and are likely to return, unwanted, next year. Seed saving is a real sustainable gardening practice. So save the best and compost the rest!

Mike's box after

Mike's box before, with collards in bloom

Alexis and Eren among the collard flowers

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2 responses to “Collards in Bloom, or, What’s going on with the yellow flowers?

  1. Thanks for the information.
    My family is from Mississippi, but relocated to the Oakland, Ca many many years ago. Whenever possible, my dad had a tree collard growing. Since his death my brother has taken over growing of the collard. Over the years we’ve all been confused about whether to pick or leave the yellow flowers. Any tips for getting red of the little purple bug which seem to love the flower buds?

    • Thanks Mpho! We appreciate you sharing your story. Those bugs might be aphids, which you can eliminate just by rubbing them off, maybe with a blast from the hose. Best of luck!

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