And even if you can’t maneuver yourself into the position it takes to pick them, there’ll be someone there who can.
The greens are free this Saturday at Talladega’s Community Garden, and everyone’s invited to come out to the site on Tinney Street and pick to their heart’s content.
“It’s the time of year when they’re going to go bad in the cold weather and we don’t want them to go to waste,” said the Rev. Sherman Green, who started the garden effort the winter of 2009.
There are collards and turnip greens and broccoli to get, along with cabbage, and all at no cost.
If people who can’t pick the produce themselves want some, Green said youth from Diversity Christian Center’s garden program will be on hand to help.
One of the great things about the greens is that they can be frozen, and Green recommends it before cooking fresh collards, saying it helps make them tender.
The same process works for the turnip greens, he said, the only difference is you don’t need to cut the turnip greens into pieces before cooking or freezing them.
Green also issues a reminder of how good greens are for people health wise.
Since it began producing the summer of 2009, the garden has been so successful that much of the produce has been given away, but the garden group has also sold their produce in season.
Green grew up in Talladega learning how to plant a garden from his grandfather.
He was shown how to plant and take care of the garden, but said there were lots of things he didn’t know.
That’s why he signed up for the Alabama Cooperative Extension System’s Master Gardener Class this fall.
Green completed the class earlier this month, and said it surpassed all his expectations.
His interest in taking the class had several other aspects, one issue was having the right answers for the youth in the garden effort when they asked questions.
“I didn’t want to have to say because I said so or just because this is how we do it,” Green said.
“Now I can explain things to them better.”
Each year, the garden program has expanded into new directions, and for next year, Green has already installed the foundation arches for a greenhouse so he can raise plants for the garden himself.
There will no longer be a need to buy seeds, Green has harvested the seeds from the garden’s own plants to use.
This practice will present another new learning process for the youngsters in the club as well, he said.
One of Green’s incentives for starting the garden was the downturn in the economy over the past few years.
He realized how few young people would know where to begin to prepare a garden, and believes that people are once again going to need to know how to grow their own food.
He set about making the idea come to reality, first speaking with Talladega County Extension Coordinator Wanda Jurrians.
Jurrians helped connect Green with other agencies to help, and within a couples of months, the garden was up and going.
Green plowed the site himself, and then
The Community Garden uses a plasticulture method to grow crops, designed and installed with assistance from the NRCS and the Coosa Valley Resource Conservation and Development Council.
Using plasticulture, the garden is designed with an underground irrigation and fertilizing system along with covering raised beds with heavy plastic.
The system has worked well, and the garden produces about three times the amount a traditional garden would produce.
With the Master Gardener class completed, Green said he can help teach other people, children or adults, what they need to do to be a successful food producer.
“I think in the coming months, everyone needs to be preparing to grow something,” he said. “A lot of people aren’t going to be able to buy food.”