~Life-Long Lessons Instilled~…Returning to the roots of my earthly father…Edress Dawson
by Margrett Dawson Wallace
(Pelham, Georgia USA)
Caring for my collards, weeding, thinning, transplanting, and watering.
~Life-Long Lessons Instilled~…Returning to the roots of my earthly father…Edress Dawson...
I don’t know what you were doing at 4:47 AM on Saturday morning, October 27, 2012; but I was up and at’em. An expression coined to fit my substainable living after 45 years of working for ‘the enemy’. Now I am awaken to a ‘new day’ that my Lord has given me that I have never seen before and will not be able to re-live, therefore, I will live it to the best of my ability. Good morning Margrett, what are you doing…I am asked. In reply, “I am up and at’em”.
A very close friend of mine, suggested to me ‘to write’ about my experiences as ‘one’ of six daughters of an “Independent Farmer”, raised in the lower Southern Region of Georgia in a small township of Pelham.
Taking her...'encouraging me to do so'; I am gladly accepting the time/opportunity to share those ‘experiences’ with the readers of ‘your inner-voice.com’ website. As you may already know that I am one of the team writers at your inner voice. I have written/shared over 100 plus blogs...to fit my substainable living after 45 years of ~Life-Long Lessons Instilled ~…Returning to the roots of my earthly father, Edress Dawson,...demonstrating what he taught and instilled in me.
This will be a series of blogs sharing my knowledge of ‘sowing and reaping’ by sharing what my father, Edress Dawson and mother Tressie R. Dawson, taught us about raising on our farm everything we needed. My parents not only taught us, but they ‘instilled’ in us…life-long lessons on how to survive and live an abundant life…using what Jehovah God had given us. My poppa saying…“God created in six days everything we need to live this life time”. Knowing this…you would always find my poppa working his passions…farming/growing and laying bricks/blocks as he was, also, a master brick mason and taught his sons his passions/trades of both.
Today’s blog, I am sharing, will tell and show you how to transplant collard greens…
This morning I started by making bedding rows in the soil that had been tilted by my friend, Art Thomas, early in September, when we sowed the collard seeds. When the seeds had come up and the plants were ready for thinning; we planted the first three rows. By doing so thinning, it allowed the younger plants to grow. The roots of collard greens can grow as deep as 2 feet, so transplanting new plants means having an appropriate depth for future growth.
Transplanting Seedlings Outdoors:
Plant collard seedlings outdoors in early fall, the ‘er months’, when all chance of a early fall frost is past. Collard greens are more cold-hardy than many annual vegetables, but a late frost could kill the tender seedlings. Collards are tolerant of cold soil and can be planted as soon as the ground is prepared in the 'er' months. Look for seedlings at your local farmers' market or plant store. We use Twitty Feed and Hardware Store in Camilla, Georgia. Alternatively, you can transplant your own seedlings. Collard greens grown from seeds are ready to harvest 40 to 50 days after outdoor planting.
Dig a hole large enough in diameter to accommodate the growing plant. Create a void at least 10 inches deep. A 12-inch hole is ideal for root growth.
Clear any rocks or other debris from the soil before you place the plant in the hole. Add 10-10-10 fertilizer to the soil before you back fill the hole around the plant.
Place your collard green plant in the hole. Fill the area with the soil and fertilizer mixture. Water the soil well.
Add additional plants spaced 36 inches apart to avoid root suffocation risks. After, you have planted your collard greens, you must know…“How to Care for Collard Green Plants”…After tilling and planting a garden for/with you, Art will tell you that maintaining the garden is your part of the work. You cannot plant and don’t expect weeds not to grow and choke the life out of the plants. Weeding must be a weekly chore for healthy plants…no exceptions...Picture above demonstrate 'how I am caring' for my collard greens, okay?
Water collards deeply when the top inch of soil begins to feel dry. The plants require approximately 1 inch of irrigation or rain per week. Water less frequently during cool weather because the soil retains moisture longer, and increase watering as the soil warms and dries out more quickly.
Harvest the entire plant when it grows 6 to 10 inches tall...this process is called 'thinning' and share those plants with others. Plants from my garden in Pelham have been shared and planted in Juanita's garden in Macon...and plants from Juanita's garden have been shared/planted in my garden.
Tips & Warnings:
Collards prefer fertile garden beds that receive full sun. Add a balanced slow-release fertilizer, following label directions, to the soil prior to planting to increase the fertility of the location.
Diseases are more common if you plant the collards in the same bed each year. Rotate your crops yearly and don't plant collards or another cabbage crop in the same bed two years in a row.
How to Clean, Cut and Cook Collard Greens: Momma always told her daughters, that cooking any food dish was in ‘the preparation’…
Raw collard greens are bitter and tough. Collard greens are a staple of soul food cooking. The Southern style of cooking collards and other leafy greens originated with African slaves, whose diets included leftovers like ham hocks and the green tops of vegetables. Collard greens must cook for a long time to lose their tough texture and bitterness. The water used to cook the collard greens picks up the flavors and vitamins, becoming a sauce called pot liquor which is great to sop up with cornbread.
1. Wash the collard greens in a sink or wash tub full of cold water. Drain/pour out the water and repeat the washing process three or four times, until you have removed all the grit that often sticks to the leaves.
2. Cut/tear the leaves away from the tough, woody stems. Discard the stems.
3. Cut the collard greens into slices about 3/4-inch thick. This is easiest if you stack several leaves together, roll them up and slice through them all at once…or you can cook the young tender whole green leafs and cut them up after they have cooked; momma cooked hers ‘whole leaf’.
4. Combine the ham hocks for young tender greens and salt pork for the more tougher greens, salt, pepper, garlic powder, hot pepper sauce/or hot pepper pods, and water in a large pot. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 30 to 60 minutes.
5. Add the collard greens and the bacon drippings or olive oil to the pot. Simmer the greens for about an hour, or until they are tender enough for a knife to easily pierce them.
6. Drain the collard greens and reserve the pot liquor.
Tips & Warnings:
Serve the collard greens with meat and corn bread for a full soul food meal. To add to the flavor, top collard greens with sauteed onions or chopped tomatoes.
Collard greens are a great vegetable as part of a healthy diet, since they are an excellent source of manganese, vitamin C an beta-carotene, as well as a good source of zinc and vitamin E. Don't overcook the collard greens, or they will produce a strong sulfuric smell.
Fried Collard Greens: My momma, Tressie Dawson style…
Bring a large caste iron pot of water to a boil on high heat on your stove top.
2. Cut/tear the stems off collard greens with a chef's knife. Detach the leaves from the center rub with your hands or a knife.
3. Rinse the collard green leaves individually under water to remove dirt and pesticides. Repeat rinsing two to four times. Collard greens that are not well-rinsed have a gritty consistency from dirt residue.
4. Place the leaves on a cutting board and chop them into 1-inch-thick pieces. Put the collard green leaves in the boiling water and boil them for 15 minutes.
5. Drain the leaves in a colander. Press the leaves with your hand or a spoon to remove excess water. Heat 2 tbsp. of olive oil in a caste iron skillet over medium-high heat until the oil begins to sizzle. Add the collard greens and seasonings such as minced garlic, salt and pepper.
6. Toss the ingredients with a spatula, coating the greens in olive oil. Saute the collard greens for five minutes...
Watch for other blogs on this series: ~Life-Long Lessons Instilled~…Returning to the roots of my earthly father…Edress Dawson...never to live this life again...
Message to my Nubian Sisters