Yukon Harvest Time

I can’t believe it’s almost over.

This summer was one of the best on record as far as gardening goes. We always had lots of produce to harvest and a sell at the markets. But the garden doesn’t stop producing just because the Fireweed Community Market is done for the season. In fact, there are still a lot of vegetables growing out here.

Some of them will be stored up for us this winter — there is nothing sadder than selling vegetables all summer only to buy them all winter. Some of the vegetables, like potatoes, will be saved for next year’s seed. Others will be stored to sell gradually throughout the winter and some of them will be set aside to feed the animals.

Chickens will eat some vegetables but the pigs will receive most of them, mainly turnips and kohlrabi.

This year, pests overran our turnips. Some had turnip beetles and others had worms. There weren’t many that were good for human consumption, but pigs don’t seem to mind the extra protein that accompanies the turnip. So they won’t be a total loss.

The kohlrabi was actually grown for them on purpose.

While perusing the seed catalogue this spring I noticed a variety of kohlrabi that grew to be the size of a volleyball called Superschmeltz. I am always interested in the kinds of crops we can grow for our animals and this particular variety of kohlrabi seemed promising.

Kohlrabi is one of the more unusual cabbage family crops. It creates a bulb above ground with leaves growing off of the bulb. It almost looks like a vegetable from science fiction. The cabbage family tends to spread out with large leaves first and then use the stored energy in the leaves to make the large heads of cabbage, broccoli or cauliflower. Because of this, kohlrabi, like other cabbage family crops, need to be spaced out at least a foot apart.

This spring I planted the very tiny seeds about a foot apart. It seemed to be endless. But everything germinated and grew well until the geese found them. It took about a day for every one of the plants to be nipped off with nothing to show they were even there. To protect the rest of the new plants we quickly constructed a fence between the geese and the garden.

The kohlrabi weren’t finished though, they came back up and now the Superschmeltz plants are huge, with bulbs as large as the catalogue claimed they would be. Some might even be bigger.

Kohlrabi may be just as hardy to the fall frosts as broccoli, which means I won’t have to dig them out quite yet – leaving me time to focus on other vegetables first.

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