Thursday, July 17, 2014


Hi kids, each year I feel like I grow the same vegetables over and over again, although they may be new variations of them, they are still the same thing. I wanted to mix it up this year and try something a little bit different, Kohlrobi. Now back when I lived on the farm we grew Kohlrobi and it was beautiful. So I wanted to give it a try this year. I found some kohlrabi starts at the local nursery so I picked them up and started to plant them, planting two different crops so that I could stagger out when I would harvest my plants. And boy did they do well. The whole plant is edible from the leaves to the bulbous stem. 

So let's take a look on how to grow them. If you ever grown cabbage, broccoli, or cauliflower then you'll be a pro at with Kohlrobi. It's in the same family as the other brassicas so it enjoys the same type of climate. Start them off early in the years they can get a better start growing and I'm little bit cooler environment. Amend the soil with organic matter and watch them grow. Now with my Kohlrobi that was really all I had to do, but My second crop might have been a little bit harder since I started to get cabbage moth caterpillars on my plants. They only affected the leaves and not the bulbous stem. The chickens loved them though!

If you are seeing wholes in your leaves bug you don't know who is doing the damage, look under the leaves and this is the little buggie that you will find. Now you can spray the plant to kill the bugs, but I just find it easier to pick them off. And the thing is, it's so much easier to just pick them off and do the 'real' organic pest control form.

Now the bed that I have them in now is very good soil with lots of rich humus. Plant them them in the spring about the beginning of May. Now every two weeks plant some succession crops so as to continue your harvest. Now I harvested my first pair in the second week of June and am still harvesting here in the second week of July. 


So when do you harvest this alien looking veggie? When the bulbous stem gets to be around 4 inches in diameter is about when you should harvest. It will still be young and tender. The danger with harvesting later is that you may risk the kohlrabi becoming fibrous inside. Although I many times pick them 5-6 inches wide and they are still delicious!
When it does come time to harvest there are a couple ways. The correct way that I first started doing but then got tired so I switched to the lazy. 

Correct Way:
As indicated here in the picture, the proper way so as not to disturb the soil would be to find the base of the plant and snip it with a pair of snippers.

Incorrect Way:

   To pull the whole plant out of the ground, roots and all (like an onion), and lop off the root-ball of dirt.

Both ways are correct and both ways give you a good result.

Later I will post a recipe for a kohlrabi fitter!

Monday, July 14, 2014

Canna 'Musafolia'

One of the things that I love most about my blog is that I'm able to look back from year-to-year and look at the things that succeeded and maybe some other things that didn't succeed. Well today I wanted to share with you something that I know will be the future addition to my garden next year. It's called Canna 'Musafolia' or banana canna; and as the name suggests it resembles a tropical banana plant.  Now I'm pretty familiar with most cannas but I've never heard of this one before. I plant different cannas every year and they always give me such a show  (that is if the squirrels don't dig them up). Normally the ones I grow are for the flowers and for the unique foliage and Canna 'Musafolia' is no exception. It can grow up to 10 feet tall by Midsummer and even taller in ideal conditions.

In the Great Lakes region where I live (zone 5b), getting the tropical paradise look, that so many love, is an extreme challenge. Because of our cold winters anything tropical die back. But with banana canna it is now possible to have the backyard hammock and Corona sitting by the pool in your "banana tree". 

I learned about this particular Canna when I was catching up on  "A Way to Garden with Margaret Roach", I never heard of it before so I looked it up online and my mind was blown. Although I have yet to figure out where exactly I'll place it in my garden, I know that I will be growing it next year. And hopefully if all goes well (please squirrels give me a break), I'll be posting pictures of my own beautiful 10 foot tall cannas. 

Below are some photos that I pulled from online.