Sunday, January 22, 2012

Musing Over Kohlrabi

Kohlrabi is one of my favorite cool weather crops to grow. Fall is the best time to sow seeds in Southeast Texas. I usually sow seeds around 10 weeks or so before the first frost date. They hold up very well throughout the winter months as light to moderate freezes seem not to affect them. 

I avoid many vegetables in the brassicas family in spring here. They always draw to many pests like aphids and cabbage loopers. It is always highly likely it will heat up early here as well and cause many brassicas to bolt to soon. 

If allowed to bloom in spring you will most likely find an very unwelcome guest in the Harlequin Bug.Very nasty creatures that will destroy your garden. They are sort of a boxie armoured shaped bug that look like a ladybug on steroids. 

The first and only time I encountered the Harlequin was a year that I decided to let my Daikon Radishes flower and seed in the spring. From there they advanced to the mustard greens, potatoes, the bean crops and nasturtiums. They just kept laying eggs and growing faster than I could clean them up.

After some research I found that it is solely shame on me for ever growing brassicas in the south during spring. And certainly don't let them flower. 

The best thing to do if you still have some hopeful stragglers from the winter garden is to harvest them before the temperatures even give a hint of heating up. 

I make sure mine are all pulled out by the end of March. Needless to say I've never had a hint of a problem since that one and only horrifying experience. 

I pulled some mulch back in one of the raised beds so you could see how they look when growing. They just sort of bobble on top of the soil with a tap root going into the earth. 

There are many fantastic heirloom varieties to chose, ranging from purple, white and green. I love the look the purple adds to some of our favorite dishes.

Some of my favorite companions to use that will take them through winter are things like lettuce, spinach and onions. They are great grown throughout the herb garden and especially like Thyme, Rosemary, Sage, Cilantro and Dill.

The flavor is exceptionally close to a very mild broccoli to maybe a sweet cabbage. I love it raw best in salads and slaw. Try adding it to stir fries and soups too!! Every part is edible including the pokie stems and leaves. 

I always love sharing my recipes with garden friends. There are times that when I'm putting something together I don't always have exact measurements.My slaw happens to be one of those things that I don't always make exactly the same..but always delicious! 

When I can find my favorite slaw mix made by Concord Farms I grab it. I don't know what it is they do that I simply can't seem to duplicate, but it is awesome. I used it in this recipe for my Kohlrabi Slaw.

 5 medium size Kohlrabi grated (chop some stems and leaves for extra crunch)
3 or 4 medium size carrots grated
About 4 or 5 sprigs of Cilantro cut in small pieces
1 envelope Concord Farms Slaw Mix
A pinch of Sea Salt
A good pinch of sugar
A good dose of fresh ground black pepper
Squeeze the juice from 1 large Lime
A dribble or two of balsamic white vinegar
A dribble or two of your favorite Red Wine (drink a glass while your preparing)
A hefty dollop of plain whole milk Greek God Yogurt


Combine all your ingredients very well and refrigerate for a least an hour or two. Overnight is superb!!

Happy Gardening!!

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