Our elders have always told us to eat green vegetables if we want to stay healthy all our lives. And if you are looking to plant green vegetables in your garden, collards should be at the top of your list.
Collard greens, a member of the Brassicaceae family, is a very nutritious plant that contains many vitamins, including Vitamin A, Vitamin K, and Vitamin E.
They are very similar to cabbage and mustard and are used in various dishes. Planting it in your garden will have many benefits, as collard greens are used to improve and boost bone health, liver function, and digestion.
Growing it is not much fuss; providing ample sunlight, water, and fertilizer will pave the path for healthy collard greens in your garden. If you want to plant collard greens, don’t worry, we’ve got you covered.
In this article, we will discuss in detail the benefits of having good companion plants alongside collards, the growing requirements of collards and pests, and diseases it is prone to.
Why do Collards Need Companion Plants?
Companion planting is one of the ancient planting techniques that boost productivity and improves the overall health of the plants.
If you are considering growing collards in your garden, plant them with a good companion to protect them from harmful insects and pests.
Planting good companion plants of collards like Mints and onions enhances the flavor of the collard plants and helps improve the soil condition.
Mugwort and hyssop are good companion plants of collards, which helps deter cabbage moths that like to feed on the collard greens plant.
6 Best Collards Companion Plants
Now that we know why collard plants need companion planting and its benefits, let us know some of the good companion plants of collard greens that will boost productivity, enhance flavor, and increase the plant’s life.
Collard greens and catnips are good friends and do well when planted together. Collard greens belong to the Brassicaceae family; like other family members, it is prone to many insects.
When planted near collard, catnips repel harmful insects like aphids and cabbage loopers. Many gardeners also believe that catnips help improve the flavor of collard greens.
Planting these two together is always a win-win situation for the gardener.
Another good neighbor of collard greens is dill, and planting them together is recommended.
Dill, an Apiaceae family member, helps collard plants be safe from pest infestation. Dill deters pests like cabbage worms, moths, and loopers.
Not only this, Dill, if planted near collards, will attract beneficial fliers like wasps, hoverflies, ladybugs, etc., which like to dine on cabbage pests and other worms.
Collard green has another good companion in the form of marigolds. Everyone loves marigolds, and their beautiful appearance creates an attractive garden.
Planting marigolds with collard greens is a good option because marigolds act like a trap crop and will protect the collard crop pests.
Marigolds lure pests, and if planted in front of the collard plant or around the border of the collard green plants, it will attract pests and protect your crop.
This is not all, marigolds are very adaptive and do not compete for nutrients, which will allow collard greens to have the soil nutrients they require.
Marjoram is a plant that does well with all other vegetable crops, including collard greens. Planting them together will benefit the collard crop as marjoram improves soil nutrients.
Marjoram has a catchy aroma, enhancing the bordering plants’ growth. Additionally, it attracts beneficial pollinators to the garden, increasing the pollination rate of the crop.
Another entry to the list of good companion plants for collard green is mint, they form a commendable duo.
Mint has a very hard odor and is known to repel insects. The mint plant helps in repelling pests and insects that feast on collard green plants, including whiteflies, aphids, cabbage loopers, and flea beetles.
One thing to note about mint plants is that they grow very fast and spread quickly. Plant the collards first, let them mature, and then bring the mint close.
Plant onions and collards together to get a layer of protection for your collard plants, as onions are natural repellers of insects, and they won’t even compete for the same soil nutrients.
Onions also help collards by loosening the soil, which means collard greens can easily spread their roots and absorb nutrients as they require while staying away from insects and pests.
2 Worst Companion Plants for Collards
While good companion plants help each other grow, there are some bad companion plants of collards, which, if planted nearby, will stunt the growth of either of the plants.
Let us have a look at some of the worst companion plants of Collard greens.
Another bad companion plant of collards is strawberries. Strawberries are vast eaters and waste no time in sucking up all the vital soil nutrients.
If planted near collard, strawberries will drain all the soil nutrients and attract harmful pests like aphids, which won’t be good for any of your crops in the garden.
2. Other Brassica Family Member
Since collard greens belong to the Brassica family, it should be obvious that no plants of the Brassica family should be grown next to it as they all will then compete for the same soil nutrient.
Another reason is all Brassica family members are somewhat prone to pests, which makes the collard green plant susceptible to insects and diseases.
What are Collard’s Growing Requirements?
Planting collards with good companion plants helps in good growth, but knowing their growing requirements is also necessary, which helps in maintaining a healthy and long life for the plant.
1. Light Requirements
Like most brassica family plants, collard greens like to grow in full sun. Although it can sometimes tolerate partial shade, the ideal condition would be full exposure to the sun.
During scorching summer, try to provide the plant with some afternoon shade, which will protect the plant from sunscald.
2. Soil Requirements
Ideally, collard greens prefer soil with a good drainage system and rich in organic matter. Adding compost to the soil will improve fertility as well as drainage.
3. Water Requirements
Watering the plant regularly is advisable. You should water them every week, an inch deep. It will help the plant produce good leaves throughout.
Grass Diseases and Pests
All plants are susceptible to some pests and diseases. The collard greens plant is no exception.
Let us look at some of the common pests and diseases that collard greens are at risk of.
1. Cabbage Worms
Cabbage worms are silky and velvety type larvae that like to munch on the leaves of the collard greens. If you see tiny holes in your leaves, be sure that cabbage worms have now infected the collard greens.
Manually handpicking them or using soapy water can help in eliminating them.
Aphids are tiny insects that love to sap-suck on the underside of the leaves. Sprinkling insecticidal soap or jet-spraying water is one way to get rid of these insects.
Cabbage Root Maggots
These larvae feed on the roots of collard greens, causing wilting and poor growth.
Use row covers to prevent adult flies from laying eggs near the plants and ensure proper crop rotation.
This fungal disease appears as yellowish-green, angular spots on the upper surfaces of leaves, with fuzzy, purplish spore growth on the undersides. Improve air circulation, avoid overhead watering, and use copper-based fungicides to manage downy mildew.
3. Powdery Mildew
Powdery mildew appears as a white, powdery growth on the leaves of collard greens. It can be controlled by improving air circulation, planting resistant varieties, and applying fungicidal sprays if necessary.
4. Alternaria Leaf Spot
Alternaria leaf spot causes small, circular, dark lesions with a concentric ring pattern on the leaves. Remove affected leaves and use fungicidal treatments if needed.
Collards are one of the most nutritious plants, which are very high in vitamins A, K, and E. Planting them alongside good companion plants will help the collard plant stay healthy and away from insects and pests.
Avoid plants like strawberries and cabbage alongside Collards because they will stunt the plant’s growth if planted nearby.
Grow the beneficial veggie according to the abovementioned requirements and prevent it from pests and diseases.