Kale and collards are leafy greens in the brassica family (which also includes things like broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage and Brussel sprouts.) I use them interchangeably because there is very little difference in flavor between the two. In the picture below, collards are labeled “dinosaur kale.” The main difference between the two is kale is smaller and darker and has ruffled leaves. Collard leaves can be mostly smooth to a bumpy or crinkly (called savoy) leaf. Whether you use kale or collards is just a matter of personal preference and availability.
Good in cool weather
All the brassicas are good fall crops. They are cold hardy and withstand mild frosts as low as 26°. With a little protection (cold frame, hoop frames or even a bedsheet) you can have fresh broccoli and cabbage well in to winter. In fact, brassicas’ flavor improves after a frost.
One of the reason most people don’t like Brussel sprouts is because what’s in the store is so bitter. But if you harvest Brussel sprouts after a
frost, you will get a sweet, flavorful vegetable. My husband went from a Brussel sprout hater to a lover once he tasted our post-frost harvest.
Kale and collards are even better fall vegetables because, unlike cabbage or broccoli, you don’t have to wait for a healthy head to mature before picking. You can start picking leaves right away and continue picking (starting with the bottom-most leaves) for as long as the plant survives. Plan for a good fall crop by planting a few kale plants in mid- to late-July to enjoy this tasty vegetable into early winter.