Many vegetable varieties that are grown here, require pollination from insects, like those of the brassica family. But these plants only require pollination by insects in order to set seed. Most of us don’t grow these plants for seed here, none the less, it’s still an important part of understanding how these plants grow. Broccoli, kale, cabbage and a new favorite of mine, kohlrabi, are only a few brassicas grown here. Many of the common brassicas we see are actually hybrids of the cabbage plant. That’s right, brussel sprouts, cauliflower and even broccoli were invented by us human vegetable lovers. Many brassicas like cooler growing conditions, so they can really thrive here, and I have been fortunate to get 2 crops from some thanks to the high tunnel. A new favorite of mine, kohlrabi originating in Asia, is a cold tolerant veggie ready for harvest typically in the fall. My first encounter with kohlrabi was thanks to another local producer. He grows some of the most delicious giant vegetables I have seen around here, and his kohlrabi was comparable to the size of a bowling ball. One weighing in at over 8 lbs! I have had so many questions on this vegetable in the last few years, as I have found many people around here have no idea what it is or what it looks like. It is an easy vegetable to grow, and it is a great filler in so many recipes. You can eat it raw, saute or grill it, and I love to add it to stir fries and stews. It has a mild flavor, and comes in purple or white shades of outer skin, which is removed before cooking or eating. Its large green leaves are also popular as a collard type, for cooking. Our rabbits love it too. It can be stored for several weeks when purchased as a fresh variety.
The Kossak variety was developed to store well and can be kept for up to 4 months, so a great fall or winter harvested veggie. This year in our gardens, I look forward to testing out the giant of kohlrabi varieties, the Kossak giant. I will also continue to grow broccoli, cauliflower, kale, and of course cabbage.