Ultra Cross Collards

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Ultracross Collards. A composite cross of 21 varieties of collards.

Potential genetics represented in the mix include: William Moore; Fulton Stroud; Tabitha Dykes; Fuzzy’s Cabbage Collard; E.B. Paul; Jernigan Yellow Cabbage Collard; Yellow Cabbage Collard; Georgia; White Cabbage Collard; Willis Collard Greens; Ole Timey Blue; Georgia Blue Stem; North Carolina Yellow; Green Glaze, McCormack’s; White Mountain Cabbage Collard; Green Glaze; Miss Annie Pearl Counselman; Brickhouse Old Collard; Lottie Collard, Vates. Georgia Southern. .


In 2020 The Utopian Seed Project along with 8 other trial sites grew 20 collard varieties as part of a nationwide collard trial for The Heirloom Collard Project. The Utopian Seed Project also grew "Lottie" Collard bringing the heirloom total to 21. During the winter of 2020 the collards survived lows of 8°F and in spring/summer 2021 seeds were saved from the surviving plants. Collards (Brassica oleracea) are an obligate outcrosser, meaning they are incapable of self-pollinating. For saving seeds of pure varieties, this means large isolation distances. However, if your aim is large genetic diversity, then the collard plant is a willing collaborator.

The 21 varieties were planted in a randomized two-block design, so we can be assured that there was a high degree of inter-variety cross pollination. These seeds represent massive genetic diversity, firstly because the original heirloom collards are genetically diverse, and secondly because they’ve cross pollinated with each other. Collard grower and Heirloom Collard participant, Melony Edwards, described them as an ultracross: this is not a technical term, but captures the spirit of these collards! These collards were distributed in 2021 as part of a Community Seed Selection project run by The Utopian Seed Project - you can learn more here