Friday, June 29, 2012

Kohlrabi 'Kolibri'

This was my first year growing kohlrabi. I chose 'Kolibri' for it's flatter shape and purple bulb. I had no idea what to expect, but figured I'd give it a shot. One misconception I had was I thought the edible part grew underground like a turnip. I thought I had to sink the starts way down deep as I do if my kale starts are too big. I wasn't able to plant them that way. The starts were more stubborn than me so I let them have their way and hoped for the best. Once they were in the ground, I didn't have to do much to them except make sure the soil stayed moist. I real no fuss crop!

I was pleased to see attractive kohlrabi is. I like how the purple globes and midribs play off the Allium cristophii. I planted this batch furthest away from the house and out of view from the rest of the garden. Next year I will plant them closer to my purple sage.

I harvested my first round from the plot a couple of nights ago. What a beauty! As I carried them into the house, my neighbor warned me about them getting pithy and if they aren't adequately watered, they'll have a more concentrated mustard taste. I asked how he likes to eat them. "Raw with mustard!" he replied with a smile. Not exactly the flavor I was after. I wanted a crunchy refreshing side dish to my fish tacos.

Only having had green kohlrabi in a local Vietnamese restaurant a few times, I wasn't sure how quickly it would cook or how well it soaks up flavors. I peeled and diced it, sauteed it my cast iron pan with olive oil, ground cumin, salt, and pepper. I halved some grape tomatoes and smashed them with my hands before adding them to the mix. I added some cilantro ('Standby' from my garden as well!) to the pan at the very end. The whole dish start to finish took about ten minutes.

Easy growing! Easy cooking!

Friday, June 1, 2012

Gutter Gardens

I was super lucky to experience Floriade last month. Floriade is the World Horticulture Expo and happens once every 10 years in the Netherlands. This time Venlo is the host city; located within the Linburg province and close to the German border. The festivities go through October.

I know the Netherlands has a reputation for horticulture excellence, but I had no idea until I arrived in person.

This expo goes well beyond tulips and daffodils. Everything from whimsical spaces with fire breathing dragons to voices in the forest to gardens showcasing edibles. And cultural experiences from countries all over the world from Chile to China.

There's a trend to maximize growing space by going vertical called "gutter gardening."The idea was well executed at the Floriade by mixing wall sculptures with rustic troughs.

I really like this look. Some of the troughs have a small wall behind them while others are more "see through." Though this garden featured succulents and grasses, this concept can be used for lettuces, micro greens, strawberries, and herbs.

They've even included a wood burning fireplace for cooking. The ultimate dream of taking your veggies straight from the garden and grilling within minutes of harvesting. Fresh!