Connecticut Garden Journal: Kale And Kohlrabi

Aug 2, 2018

It's the vegetable glut time. August is the time of year to lock your car so neighbors don't slip a few extra cucumbers or zucchinis into your back seat. With all the produce pouring in from the garden, the idea of planting more seems alien. But this glut won't last. Come September and October you'll be looking for a little variety. So, two vegetables to plant now are kale and kohlrabi.

Everyone knows kale. There are many varieties such as the attractive Red Bor, the hardy Winter Bor, and the blue-green-leaved dinosaur kale. Kale gets sweeter with cool fall weather, making it a delicious green in salads and cooked. You can pick the leaves at any size to eat.

Kohlrabi is an oddball vegetable, but one that is getting more popular in restaurants. It also thrives in cool, fall weather. The plant grows like broccoli, but instead of producing a head, it has a swollen stem that looks like a ball. Harvest when it's 2- to 4-inches in diameter and peel the skin. You'll have a crunchy, juicy, white-fleshed veggie for using in dips, roasting, and sautéing. 

Both of these vegetables should be started now from seed directly sowed in the garden. Clean a bed removing old or diseased plants, add a layer of compost and sow seed. 

Keep the soil evenly moist and cover the bed with a floating row cover. This will keep the soil wet and cool and prevent insects from attacking your seedlings. You can grow these plants to maturity under the row cover since they don't need pollination from bees.

Next week on the Connecticut Garden Journal, I'll be talking about balloon flowers. Until then, I'll be seeing you in the garden.