Spring-sown market kohlrabi are usually harvested before hot weather
makes them get woody. Irrigation is not required if they're given a
little extra elbow room. With ordinary varieties, try thinning to 5
inches apart in rows 2 to 3 feet apart and harvest
alternate plants. Given this additional growing room, they may not
get woody until midsummer. On my irrigated, intensive bed I always
sow some more on August 1, to have tender bulbs in autumn.
Kohlrabi was once grown as European fodder crop; slow-growing
farmers, varieties grow huge like rutabagas. These field types have
been crossed with table types to make "giant" table varieties that
really suit dry gardening. What to do with a giant kohlrabi (or any
bulb getting overblown)? Peel, grate finely, add chopped onion,
dress with olive oil and black pepper, toss, and enjoy this old
Eastern European mainstay.
_Sowing date:_ Sow giant varieties during April, as late as possible
while still getting a foot-tall plant before really hot weather.
_Spacing:_ Thin to 3 feet apart in rows 4 feet apart.
_Irrigation:_ Not absolutely necessary on deep soil, but if they get
one or two thorough fertigations during summer their size may
_Varieties:_ A few American seed companies, including Peace Seeds,
have a giant kohlrabi of some sort or other. The ones I've tested
tend to be woody, are crude, and throw many off-types, a high
percentage of weak plants, and/or poorly shaped roots. By the time
this book is in print, Territorial should list a unique Swiss
variety called Superschmeltz, which is uniformly huge and stays
tender into the next year.
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