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Kohlrabi Is Queen Of The Brassicas (And Easy To Grow)

Green and purple plants
Kohlrabi grows well here, so why not add to your garden?

When your veggie cousins are broccoli, kale, Brussels sprouts and cabbage, you might just be kohlrabi! This plant grows well here, is fast-maturing and has a mild flavor that can be eaten cooked or raw.

If you're looking for something new and unusual to grow this season, try kohlrabi. It's an old vegetable resembling a turnip and hails from Eastern Europe and Russia. In the garden, it looks like a broccoli seedling with a great big ball at its base. You want to harvest when that ball is the size of a small tennis ball — that is the edible portion.

Harvest the whole plant at ground level, peel it, then slice and eat raw as you would carrot sticks. You can grate it raw, make slaw or even cut matchsticks and bake or fry them like French fries!

Kohlrabi likes cool temps, so hold off a bit until you plant. Your best bet is to wait till August, start some seedlings and then in about a month, you'll be eating kohlrabi!

It comes in many varieties, like purple-skinned Purple Vienna, True Vienna, and the giant Superschmeltz variety — these grow to the mammoth proportions, roughly the size of a newborn!

Q: I have a patch of goutweed on my brook bank, which leads right into Lake Eligo. I had dug it out over past couple days … but have a follow-up question: Because it is on a slope, can I wait to prevent the soil from washing down into the brook? Can I mulch the area before putting down the plastic, in an attempt to hold the soil in place? I am also planning to dig in the 10-inch plastic barrier at the lower edge of the area. — Penelope, in Craftsbury

Dig out and create an area there, so if you get erosion, all the soil will collect there and not run into the lake. As far as organic matter, put down some shredded bark that won't wash away easily. Cover it all up with plastic and seal it well.

That will help next spring when you head back out to pull up any more goutweed that has sprouted.

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All Things Gardening is powered by you, the listener! Send your gardening questions and conundrums and Charlie may answer them in upcoming episodes. You can also leave a voicemail with your gardening question by calling VPR at (802) 655-9451.

Hear All Things Gardening during Weekend Edition Sunday with VPR host Mary Engisch, Sunday mornings at 9:35.

Mary Williams Engisch is a local host on All Things Considered.
Charlie Nardozzi is a nationally recognized garden writer, radio and TV show host, consultant, and speaker. Charlie is the host of All Things Gardening on Sunday mornings at 9:35 during Weekend Edition on Vermont Public. Charlie is a guest on Vermont Public's Vermont Edition during the growing season. He also offers garden tips on local television and is a frequent guest on national programs.
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