Early one morning as we were beginning our day's play in the back yard, Jem and I heard something next door in Miss Rachel Haverford's collard patch. We went to the wire fence to see if there was a puppy--Miss Rachel's rat terrier was expecting--instead we found someone sitting looking at us. Sitting down, he wasn't much higher than the collards. We stared at thim until he spoke:
"Hey yourself," said Jem pleasantly.
"I'm Charles Baker Harris," he said. "I can read."
Collard greens are staples of Southern cooking and, were even grown in ancient Greece and Rome (Aggie Horticulture). Rich in vitamins, it is generally a winter crop harvested after the first frost for best flavor. Considering how many crops are not in season during our short Houston winters, it is nice to be able to grow a variety of leafy greens during our colder months. The leaves grow up to about two feet long, giving us some idea of how small Charles Baker "Dill" Harris actually is.
If you find yourself eating collards at a Southern restaurant, you will likely have them the traditional way: boiled a little longer than necessary and flavored with hamhocks, pork fat, or bacon. Not perhaps the healthiest way to serve them, but certainly very tasty.
They can also be used in soups, or boiled served with a little salt and pepper and olive oil, and maybe some vinegar.
Some people who like edible landscapes find that leafy green winter crops such as collards and kale make decent ornamental annuals, as well as good eating.
For Houston area residents, Bob Randall recommends planting collard plants between early October and early November. The Aggie Horticulture website suggests seeding and even planting as early as September.
Plant Profile at Floridata
Marinated Collard Green Salad
Southern Collard Greens
To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee