Tree Collards are a Must-Have

It happens all the time, I see some plant that I have to grow. Usually, the plant I want will not grow in Texas. Those Californians don’t know how good they have it. Alas, the list remains. I fully intended this post to be a dream post, but this story has a happy ending.

One of my YouTube watching channels (like it’s a form of cable to me) is Growing Your Greens. This guy is nonstop gardening and find that he’s known in most gardening circles. He talks about how awesome Purple Tree Collards is all the time. I’ve been dreaming about it ever since.
Tree Collards seems to be the Mecca of all edible greens. There is even a blog dedicated to this plant. 
It’s a perennial that is mostly found in California. The leaves are edible and last for years. You pick the leaves off of the bottom while it continues to grow into a woody stem. The winter is best for picking the young, sweet leaves.
What makes this plant so special… or unique is that it ‘never’ goes go to seed, so you get cuttings in order to reproduce this gem. Of course John from Grow your Greens had one tree kale that did flower and was able to save the seeds. Talk about valuable!
He has also grown the tree Collards successfully in Las Vegas which just made me more dreamy for this plant. I have searched quite awhile to purchase one. People are begging for this plant on forums. I do my weekly google and today I finally added three to my cart and paid for it like I was stealing a million dollars and getting away with it. 
Last week I gave up the search for this season and came up with a compromise: Walking Stick Kale, also called Jersey Kale. Looks almost the same, but I hear it does not have the same flavor as the tree kale. It’s usually grown to feed livestock. 
The walking stick Kale will live for a few years and like it’s name, you can make a walking stick out of it. After harvesting, you let it dry for 2 years before sanding it down and finishing it. 
Not the same right?! I didn’t think so either. Although it does look like a palm tree.
I purchased my purple tree Collards from Annie’s Perennials and Annuals and my walking stick kale from Thomas & Morgan. Go get you some.
How simple is a tree that provides a salad all year long for years to come?

I bought tree collards in April 2013. They are great plants I always want to have in the garden. I recommend planning ahead with staking them. I would use a T post with each plant and tie the tree collard to the t post as it grows. My stakes where an after thought. They were not tall enough or in the ground enough to hold. One of them ended up falling over

I found them to be pretty hardy and fast growing. We had a pretty bad ice storm in the winter of 2013 and lost them. They might have made it through if I had covered them.

They are much tastier in the winter for sure. I added them to smoothies mostly. I will add them to my garden again soon.

I’m working on constructing an edible food forest, so go here for all of the planning and here for the past edible garden.

credits: // // // updated photos were taken by me

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