Mary's Veggie Garden

January 18, 2016

Surprise Harvest: Kohlrabi in Winter

Filed under: Kohlrabi,Vegetables — marysveggiegarden @ 11:46 am

At the start of winter two Kolibri kohlrabi remained in my garden. Both were transplanted into the garden last spring on 4/28. They were still small when the summer vegetables started producing, so I ignored them, figuring they would never amount to anything. Both were in partly shaded areas of the garden and they continued to grow slowly. Eventually one split.

In the first days of January, on one of the many warm days we’ve enjoyed this winter, I did some garden cleanup. The forecast predicted overnight lows around 10°F so I thinned and pruned the raspberries before the ground froze.

That’s when I noticed the kohlrabi. Thinking it would be tough & stringy, I was tempted to throw it in the wheelbarrow with the raspberry prunings. At least it wasn’t mush, even though it had experienced several nights with low temperatures around 20°F.

I decided to give one kohlrabi a try and it was a pleasant surprise. The flesh was white and tender. It was a bit fibrous at the base, but that is normal where the bulb turns into the stem.

I cooked the kohlrabi with carrots and onions from my root cellar using this simple recipe: .

Lesson learned: a mature Kolibri kohlrabi can survive temperatures down to 20° F. This is a surprise because  I’ve seen a late spring freeze of 28°F kill kohlrabi transplants that had already been in the garden a couple of weeks.

My ultimate Kolibri kohlrabi.

My ultimate Kolibri kohlrabi. It looks pretty good considering it’s been almost 9 months in the garden.

The second kohlrabi is still in the garden. It’s experienced several nights around 10° F. I’ll harvest it on Wednesday, the next time the temperature will be above freezing and it can thaw naturally before harvest. I wonder how it will be? Will the additional 10° F of cold make a difference in the eating quality?

1/23 update: I harvested the final kohlrabi last Wednesday, when the temperature had been slightly above freezing for several hours.  It was hard and looked icy. I think it was at least half frozen.  It smelled a bit funky.  I bagged it and placed it in the refrigerator to thaw. After thawing, it was very soft and smelled worse. It went into the trash. It did not survive several 10° F nights.


December 9, 2013

December Garden

Filed under: Kale,Kohlrabi,Leeks,Parsnips,Spinach,Vegetables — marysveggiegarden @ 8:50 am
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I went out to mulch before the temperatures dropped into the deep freeze and discovered I should harvest first. Here’s my garden at home on Dec. 4, before harvest and mulching.

Spinach and kale.

Spinach and kale.

I cheated with the spinach: bought a 4-pack of transplants because I wanted the experience of transplanting spinach, and because I hadn’t gotten around to sowing my seed yet. The pack was crowded with plants. I was very careful separating them, but still managed to destroy the roots of half-a-dozen plants. You see the rest here. They grew but not vigorously. I’ve harvested leaves several times to add to salads.

I planted the kale last spring. It is quite ragged because of a massive caterpillar infestation in the fall. I should have ID’ed them when I found them.They were definitely not imported cabbage worms.

Leeks and bunching onions.

Leeks and bunching onions.

In the foreground we see a few bunching onions and, in the middle, a lot of leeks. The white post holds a bird house (the upside-down pot is a squirrel guard.) The parsnips are next to the post. I was standing inches from that post, adding mulch to the parsnips, when a bird flew out of the bird house. The house sparrows are using the bird house to stay cozy in the cold.

Parsnips, beets, and parsley

Parsnips, beets, and parsley

The parsnips are at the top and parsley at the bottom. The beets, in the middle, are tiny and invisible under the mulch. The red leaves are self-sown mustard plants.

A tiny salad: the last lettuce, spinach, 2 bunching onions, a leek, watermelon radishes,, sorrel & a kale leaf.

A tiny salad: the last lettuce, spinach, 2 bunching onions, a leek, watermelon radishes, parsley, sorrel & a kale leaf.

The watermelon radishes grown at home are a quarter the size of those from my community garden plot. The difference is sun, lots of sun.

Heartier fare: parsnips and Lutz beets

Heartier fare: parsnips and Lutz beets

Just before Thanksgiving, I closed down my garden in the community plots. The last harvest included five pounds of celeriac and this weird kohlrabi.



Siamese twin kohlrabi.

Siamese twin kohlrabi.

The variety is Early Vienna. In all my years of growing kohlrabi, this is the first time I’ve seen one of these.

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