The Violet Fern

A Colorful Tale of a Garden in the Making

What’s Growing: C-C-C-Kholorabi

15 Comments

The sun was out today and the temperature reached 30 F so this sleepy bear roused, went outside and puttered about the garden – frozen though it yet is. It was a spontaneous distraction from my daily list of things to do, but I allowed it considering that there’s more snow storms on the way.

The Potager in February

The Potager in February

Last year I maintained a makeshift cold frame – diligent about keeping the snow off the old windows. This year it has proven to be a challenge. It is buried, and has been buried, for most of our Winter. Today I yet again tried to chisel off crusty, icy snow. A few days back I actually broke one of the windows (I am not the sharpest tool in the shed), by banging on it with a broom handle in an attempt to break up the ice. I broke a lot more than I bargained for! Fortunately I had a spare window in the shed (along with those “uh, very dull tools”) that I put in place instead, but of course we have had more snow. Today I used a heavy duty plastic trowel and scraped and scooped (instead of banging) – oh, it made me long to dig in the dirt! The windows show, but the frame they are resting on is still buried in the snow. Still, I wanted the sun to seep through those frozen window panes very, very badly.

My buried cold frame.

My buried cold frame.

Upon revealing the panes, I got a view inside. To my surprise, a Kohlrabi! Isn’t she beautiful? Can you make her out – the round belly just center of those GREEN leaves? I just cannot get over how AMAZING it is to grow things! Here, where we have had stretches of well below zero temperatures, there is green and by god, Kohlrabi!

Kohlrabi!

Kohlrabi!

I know I do not use this cold frame to its potential. I am sort of  a hack gardener. Read about a real professional who knows how to deal with a cold climate here. Honestly, I really do not know what the heck I am doing but if I can grow a Kohlrabi in this Winter, so can anyone! I am very much an experimental gardener. I read a lot, and research a lot, but I forget most of it. When it comes down to it, my guiding hand is usually “what the heck, let’s try it.” So, here I am experimenting with my makeshift cold frame for the second Winter. I have beets (alive!), parsnips (alive!) and Kohlrabi(#*!) in it this year. Not sure what I will attempt next Winter – perhaps some Escarole? My dream is to actually harvest something in January or February. It will come true one day if I keep trying.

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Author: Kathy Sturr

Author of the Violet Fern blog, gardening addict and aspiring artist.

15 thoughts on “What’s Growing: C-C-C-Kholorabi

  1. Yay Kathy! You can beat that snow! How I envy you! We had 1.6″ of rain overnight and you will be getting more snow from the same storm today or tonight I suppose. It WILL be spring one of these days!

  2. Those are pretty neat pics, I dont think I have have ever seen any Kohlrabi around here in utah. good luck hope they turn out as im sure you are putting in a lot of work..

  3. Kathy, wow, she sure is beautiful! With all the happiness that gardening brings all year, finding a surprising plant thriving where and when it shouldn’t be, is at the tops of the list! That’s a “put a smile on your face, gardening is the best” moment. How neat! Great looking cold frame, too. I sure can relate to using the broom handle as a tool…I usually grab what is the most available where I’m working and try to make it adapt. I’ve even resorted to sticks or rocks! But usually having to admit I need to walk to the shed to get the proper tool for the job. :) Now if I can learn to put the tools back to their proper place! :) Oh, and I’m an experimental gardener, too……love to give Mother Nature the lead a lot of the times and see what she comes up with! :)

    • Hi Annie, yes, I used the broom handle as an aversion to walking back to the house, getting my car keys and getting the scraper out of the car … I used the heavy duty plastic trowel for the same said aversion. Isn’t there a slew of jokes about women using makeshift tools with objects at hand? Ha. I will say that I am very good about putting my tools away. I love my shed – it is a little sanctuary within the garden and love to see all the tools and such in their place. Mother Nature knows best! I feel a true gardener knows how to roll out the red carpet for her and give her room. It’s all about finding the perfect balance. Experiments are part of it and so exciting! And now I must brush off that cold frame – again – sigh.

  4. How cool is that! Kohlrabi in the winter! I was thinking of trying a cold frame myself but this winter I needed a break froma very busy summer and fall. Two weeks ago when all the snow melted fora day, I found spinach plants about 2″ tall. The seed was planted very late and I gave-up on it when it only reached 1/2″ in 4 weeks. It so cool to be able to grow something during winter. Another highlight for us were the 20 Meyer lemons from one tree..All but one had been picked and eaten. I l also brought a root of mint in the sun room in the late fall and while it is slow, I used some leaves once a week for greek yogurt dips .

    • Hi Daniela, spinach! I should grow THAT in the cold frame. Thanks for the “Eureka.” Meyer lemons – oh yum. Something to look forward to when I begin to migrate. Greek yogurt dip with fresh mints sounds so delicious but I have given up dairy.

  5. This is triumphant news of success. It is possible to revel in abundance every season in the garden. Brassica all are extraordinary. Our broccoli continue to produce in December, flowering now, as it may do so under your cold frames. Not to mention cabbages and… Thank you for sharing your great experiment. Our plants are jumping up and down in their beds, happy and proud for your garden. — The Healing Garden gardener
    PS. Also good to see intelligence is selective in normal people. THGg

  6. Congratulations on your kohlrabi! I admire your industry at having and maintaining your cold frames. Only one question: what does one do with a kohlrabi?

  7. We had great success with purple pak choy all winter continuing to produce. — THGg

  8. Kathy, I am amazed! We don’t have to deal with prolonged snow and frigid temps like you, but we have discovered that winter veggies are tougher than we thought. Swiss chard, Kale, and collard greens are sailing through winter far better than tomatoes do our summer.

    • I love kales and chard and they do very well here and taste better with a little frost. I always imagine what it must be like to grow vegetables in such heat (as I imagine myself migrating South in winters). I think I would rather grow in a cool climate but how nice it would be to grow fig and citrus and your lovely persimmons!

  9. Kathy I have wanted a cold frame and hope to have one installed by fall exactly for the reasons you say…to grow all year. of course it will take work to keep it cleaned off…you have more snow though than me….great job!!

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