Tuesday, September 1, 2009

More about Growing Greens...with Recipes and Storing Tips

Growing Collard Greens:
Collard greens require a well draining soil as well. You can prepare the soil for your collard greens by either turning in a good compost matter at least 4 inches deep into the soil, or by using a fertilizer that is a 10-10-10 variety.

Rake the fertilizer or compost into the soil. Create mounds that are at least six inches tall, as the collards can have roots that reach about two feet in depth.Space the rows at least two and a half to three feet apart.Sow the seed at a depth of 1/4 of an inch. Keep soil moistened. Seeds will germinate in about 7 days.

Once the plants reach about 6 inches tall thin them out to a spacing of at least 1 1/2 to 2 feet apart.If you notice the leaves on your collard plants starting to have a paler green color to them instead of a rich deep green color, you will need to add a side dressing of fertilizer to each row of plants.Add only one teaspoon of fertilizer per plant, mix the fertilizer into the soil well and water in. This may need to be done every 6 weeks as the plants grow.

Begin harvesting the leaves from the plants when the plants reach about 10 inches tall. Harvest from the bottom of the plants,discard the leaves at the very bottom (the first 3-4 leaves), as they can be tougher, then harvest the others,leaving the upper leaves on the plant.You can also choose to harvest all at once, by simply cutting the plants down when they are about 12 inches tall.----------------------------

Growing Mustard Greens:

------------------------Mustard greens are a fast growing green that pack plenty of nutritional value.Being ready to harvest in about 45 days from seed sowing.

Mustard greens can be eaten either raw or cooked.They add a bit of pep to the salad, and are a great winter time green that freezes well for use in soups, or as an accompaniment to meats like pork chops,ham, and other hearty winter time fare.

Mustard greens are a "cut and come again" crop, meaning you can cut what you need from the plants as you need it, through to winter frost.

----------------- Direct sow the mustard seed into the garden. No need to make rows for the mustard greens really, as they can be grown rather close together.You can even create a raised bed specifically for this variety.

Sow the seed at a depth of 1/3 to 1/2 inch deep. Allow to grow until the plants reach about 2 inches in height then thin to 3 inches to 5 inches apart.

Begin harvesting the outer leaves on your plants when they are 4 to 5 inches tall.If you choose the "cut and come again" method of harvesting remember to cut frequently for a steady harvest through to frost.If you choose to harvest the plants all at once, remember that they reach full maturity at about 45 days if you wish not to use them as a "cut and come again" variety of plant.
Storing of Greens:
With any of the greens make sure that you wash them thoroughly, checking the leaves over for any bugs or worms that may have attached themselves to the leaves. Swish in water very well and rinse until the leaves are clean. Wrap the greens in paper towels and store in plastic bags in your refrigerator for 3-5 days.
Freezing for later use:
All of these greens can be used for later dishes by freezing.
You will need to do a fast blanch of the greens to prepare them for freezing.With any of these greens remove the stem ends and cut the leaves into smaller pieces.Make sure that the greens are all rinsed very thoroughly and free of bugs(unless of course you like the added protein...ha)

Separate the greens into one pound increments.You will need two very large stock pots.Have a large stock pot in your sink filled with 5 quarts of ice cold water.
Yes, using ice cubes in the water is a good idea, you want this water to be very cold.Using another heavy stock pot with a tight fitting lid fill this pot on your stove with 5 quarts of water.Bring to a steady rolling boil.Have a timer handy as you will need it.

Place the greens into the boiling water and immediately put the lid on and begin timing the greens immediately. Let them boil for 3 minutes exactly.Remove at the 3 minute mark and immediately dunk into the cold water bath.
Let set in the cold water bath for a full five minutes. Drain and pack into freezer bags,remove as much air as possible from the bags, and label.Immediately place into your freezer.Frozen greens will keep in your freezer for up to a year.

Turnip Greens With Pot Likker
(A good old Southern staple, this recipe comes from a War time era cookbook."Pot Likker" is the vitamin rich water that is left in the bottom of the pan after cooking the greens, this water has a good flavor from the greens, and is generally poured back over the greens prior to serving , and it is usually what the cornbread served alongside the greens is dipped into...yumm... good eatings!)
1/2 pound salt pork
1 quart cold water
4 quarts fresh turnip greens
1/4 teaspoon salt
Dash of pepper
Place the salt pork in cold water,heat to boiling and cook for 45 minutes.Wash the turnip greens in several waters and clean well.Put into the pot with the pork and cook for 1 hour.
Drain water from the greens and meat Reserving 1 1/2 cups of the water. Chop the greens rather fine and season well.Place greens on hot dish.
Arrange the pork over the top of the greens.Pour the 1 1/2 cup of hot water in which the greens were cooked over top of the greens and meat.

Serve with corn bread.
Makes 4 servings.

(***Hog jowl can be substituted for the salt pork) (****You can also cut up the root into small chunks and use in this recipe)
Mustard Greens With Bacon
Fry 6 slices of bacon in a large frying pan.Remove from pan, drain and crumble. Set aside. Reserve 2 tablespoons of the bacon drippings in the frying pan.
Meanwhile clean 1 pound of fresh mustard greens thoroughly.Remove stems and cut the greens into small pieces. Add the greens to a large saucepan of water until just covered.Bring to a rolling boil and let boil for about 8 minutes.
Remove from heat and drain.Add the greens to the skillet and add the bacon back in to the pan.
Now add 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar.
Simmer all together over a low heat for 5 minutes.Salt and pepper to taste.
Serve with black eye peas and corn bread.

Makes about 4 servings.
Collards & Lentils
6 slices bacon
1 small onion,diced fine
1 garlic clove,chopped fine
1 pound fresh collard greens, cleaned and cut into small pieces,inner stems removed.
Salt and pepper to taste
2 cups cooked lentils
Fry bacon in a large skillet until crisp.Remove from pan, drain and crumble. Set aside.Reserve 3 tablespoons of the bacon drippings.Add the onion and garlic into pan and saute until onion and garlic are tender and translucent.
Add the collard greens into the skillet and toss. Let cook until greens are tender, about 12 minutes.Add lentils and salt and pepper into pan, let heat through.
***Serve over steamed rice if desired.Goes well with pork chops or ham dishes.
Makes 4 servings.
~Happy Gardening!~
~The Victory Gardener!~


  1. Tina,
    Thank you very much for your idea for a painting with a river theme. I can't wait to try it! That was just wrenching to try to pick one name to win. When I paint the painting with a river theme, I will send you a free print of it, ok?
    I'm gonna follow your blog now too, thank you so much for commenting.
    Julie Fillo

  2. Tina,
    Thank you, sorry for the confusion! I really liked the strawberry fields or poppy idea too! I have actually painted a lot of strawberries and poppies, but not lately. It makes a lot more sense that you would suggest those themes, when I look at your fab blog!

  3. Hi Tina,
    It turns out that I painted your painting idea first. It's on my blog, if you like it, I'll send
    you one. You can email me at juliefillo@hotmail.com and send your mailing address.