Plant a Tree Collard
Now is the time!
By Joshua Burman Thayer
As winter brings shorter days and cooler temperatures, our gardens enjoy a reprieve from the dryness of summer. More moisture comes not only from winter rains, but also from condensation as the dew point rises. The dew point is the atmospheric temperature (varying according to pressure and humidity) below which water droplets begin to condense, causing dew to form.
But there’s a downside for gardeners. Cooler soil temperature and the higher dew point can lead to powdery mildew and botrytis mold creeping in among our late season grapes, tomatoes, and other lingering fruits and vegetables. That’s why this is a good time to focus on a different set of plants, the ones we refer to as cool-season crops.
Among my favorite cool-season additions to the garden is the tree collard. This unique member of the cabbage family (Brassicaceae) is able to continue growing season after season as a perennial, climbing upward each year toward the sky. If you have ever wondered about adding a perennial crop inside or near your raised beds full of annuals, tree collards are a good choice. Here are some fun ways to incorporate them into your cool-season beds:
Plant the Northern Boundary
Tree collards can grow to seven feet tall, which in a small urban raised bed could mean shading out other plants looking for sunlight.… Read More