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Late harvest & the amazing kohlrabi

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Late harvest & the amazing kohlrabi

Post  ander217 on 10/11/2010, 7:56 am

After being away from home for two and a half weeks, I was amazed at the progress our late-planted garden had made while I was away. Hubby and I enjoyed picking huge radishes, lots of okra, Blue Lake green beans, cherry tomatoes, and two dozen jalapenoes from our single plant.

The Tendergreens, mustard greens and arugula are nearly ready to pick, the basil is still going strong, and we have many large green Big Boy tomatoes beginning to ripen on a single plant. Hubby topped it last week to help them ripen faster. Our sweet potato vines are still growing, too. We set out broccoli, head lettuce, and collard plants and they are growing fast in the cooler temps. Our turnips came up to a spotty stand, as did our beets and carrots, and the spinach never did come up.

My biggest surprise was a huge kohlrabi. I sowed the seeds back in April in my first SFG box. They didn't grow very fast, and we picked a few small ones now and then in early summer, but I never got around to picking the last two from the grid even though the cabbage worms ate them down to the stem. I assumed they would die. I really just forgot about them, and they got sort of lost after we set broccoli plants out in the grids around them. While I was looking at the plants yesterday I noticed that one of the kohlrabi bulbs was large and looking very healthy with new top growth. I thought after all that growing time (seven months!) it would surely be woody, but I picked it anyway and peeled it just to see. It was the best kohlrabi I've ever raised. I've never heard of one being edible after taking second growth, but this one surely was. And the good news is there is still one more in the box.

We have decided next year we will wait until fall to plant all of the brassicas - there's not a cabbage worm in sight, and they are really growing well with the cooler night temps.

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Re late harvest

Post  bettyd_z7_va on 10/11/2010, 8:26 am

So happy you came home to such abundant food! Yummy!

I'm new at this and am always so curious about everyone's gardens. How many SFGs do you have? Are they enough or will you be adding more?

What are Tendergreens?

Great news about no cabbage worms! Exactly how late did you plant?

How did you cook the kohlrabi? I remember the lady chef on the Victory Garden once did a dish using it, but can't remember exactly how she prepared it. Just remember it looked soooo good. I would love to grow it next year.

I hope all of my questions aren't too much of a bother. Enquiring minds want to know!!

I can't wait until my fall planted greens get a little bigger so I can try some new recipes.



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Post  ander217 on 10/11/2010, 9:05 am

Thanks, Bettyd. This is my first year of SFG, too, although I row gardened for decades. (Never again.) Your questions are no bother at all. I tend to make my answers too long, though.

We have a copy of Mel's first book from the 1970's and our daughter has his new book, so we combine both methods in our garden. Since our garden was already established with good soil, we made several 4' x 10' beds and divided them into grids from Mel's old style. We planted the larger crops in those - corn, watermelons, sweet potatoes, okra, etc.

We have one corner of our garden which is over an old driveway bed and it never produced well for us. That was the site of our first (4' x 4' x 12") SFG box. We also have a bermuda grass problem in our lawn, so we placed black plastic all around the garden fence inside and out and covered it with free-for-the hauling rice hulls, then placed five 1' x 8' SFG boxes next to the fence. That has eliminated the problem of grass encroachment. In those boxes next to the fence on the west side we plant short varieties of peas, determinate tomatoes, and peppers. On the north side we built six foot trellises and planted our vining tomatoes, butternut squash, cukes, and muskmelons. We plan to build at least one more long box along the fence to help with our rotation planting for tomatoes.

Tendergreens are a type of greens that are sort of like a cross between mustard and spinach. I bought mine from Baker Creek heirlooms. They are growing faster than the mustard.

We are located in the Upper South and I thought we were getting our fall garden planted very late - early September - but we've had a late summer and so things are still growing beautifully. We planted our late green beans in early August - they have a 60-day maturation date. We bought broccoli, collard, and head lettuce plants at Wal-Mart and set them out about a month ago. We saw a few cabbage moths the first week, but they seem to have disappeared after a few nights of temps in the upper 30s.

I have cooked kohlrabis and served them with a cream sauce, and also added them to soups but I prefer to use them raw. (To me, they taste like cabbage cores if you've ever peeled and eaten those.) I sliced mine into a salad yesterday, while Hubby sprinkled his with a little salt and chomped it like an apple. They are also good as dippers for hummus or ranch dressing.

Hope this answered your questions. Happy fall gardening.

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Re: Late harvest & the amazing kohlrabi

Post  Megan on 10/11/2010, 9:00 pm

You can stuff kohlrabi, too. To me it tastes somewhere between turnip and cabbage.

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RE: Late harvest

Post  trustinhart on 10/11/2010, 10:42 pm

Glad to see you back ander. Could you explain a little about "topping" tomato plants? You're garden sounds great!!


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Topping tomatoes

Post  ander217 on 10/12/2010, 5:40 am

@trustinhart wrote:Glad to see you back ander. Could you explain a little about "topping" tomato plants? You're garden sounds great!!


Thanks, Kari, it's good to be back.

If memory serves I learned about topping tomatoes from someone here on the forum but I've forgotten who. About a month before your first expected frost if you cut off the growing tops of your vining tomatoes they will stop trying to grow taller and instead put their energy into growing and ripening the tomatoes which are already on the vine.

This is the first year we've tried it so I can't say for certain whether it works or not.

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