I’ve mentioned before that we grow a variety of kohlrabi that get very large without getting woody. The seeds are from Slovakia, Rick’s grandfather brings them to us. Because we’ve never found this variety of kohlrabi in a seed catalog or garden center, and because Rick’s grandparents don’t go back to Slovakia regularly anymore, I decided that I better figure out how to save kohlrabi seeds.
Kohlrabi is a biennial, meaning it won’t go to seed until its second year of life. Which meant in order for us to gather seeds, we’d need to keep it alive during the winter. Last fall I left five large, healthy, likely looking candidates in the ground. I imagined that I’d heavily mulch them with straw or leaves or something, but I never got around to it before the snow came. So we took our chances.
Spring came and the kohlrabi looked a little sad. The leaves were very droopy. Some of the smaller ones didn’t make it at all. But by April, the three largest looked like this:
As they continued to grow, they cannibalized their bulbs and sent up great big stalks.
By May they had grown flowers. Yellow ones.
At the end of June they were setting seeds.
In July the pods started to dry and the birds started pecking away. I was pretty nervous about losing everything that I’d been keeping alive for two years.
But I held out a little longer and when most of the pods were brown, I cut the stalks off and took them to the garage to dry completely.
And I am happy to report success in saving our first seeds ever.
I’m still working on separating them from the chaff. I’m sure there’s a better way than what we’re doing… there has to be. But I am very pleased that we will still have these special seeds.
Have you saved seed before? Do you have a trick for separating the seeds from the chaff?