Mystery Plant

We started most of our plants in small plastic trays this spring. As I dropped seeds in the dirt I added a label to the tray. Unfortunately, we did not have enough labels for every row of the tray. After I planted three rows of spinach, I put a label on the row at the end and then started the next plant. Not a perfect system, but it seemed like it would work well enough.

When the plants were about an inch tall we transplanted them into the raised beds, moving the labels along with them.  June was warm and the plants really started to take off. After we returned from our trip to San Francisco I went out one day to weed the garden. I plopped down by the section labeled spinach and began to weed. While I was weeding I started to observe some odd things about the plants in that section.

Kyle then came outside. I called him over to where I was weeding, “Hey, I want you to come look at these plants. I don’t think they are spinach.”

“What do you mean they’re not spinach? The label says spinach,” he questioned.

“Well, look at them, the leaves aren’t rounded like spinach leaves, the shape is all wrong. They look more like the kale leaves or broccoli leaves,” I noted.

“Are you sure they aren’t weeds?” Kyle asked. “I have been noticing a fair amount of weeds in the garden.”

“Umm, I guess they could be, but they’re spaced awfully uniformly, I’m pretty sure that they are something that I planted,” I responded with trepidation.

“I guess you need to figure out what they are then,” Kyle implored with a touch of annoyance.

I kept checking on the plants every time I went out to the garden. I hypothesized that they were either kale or broccoli, but I couldn’t know for sure until they got a bit bigger.  When I left for Juneau at the beginning of June I still didn’t know what they were.

Three and a half weeks later I returned to find enormous plants. I first examined the leaves, definitely not kale or broccoli. Terrified that I had let enormous weeds take over our garden, I started to move the leaves aside to pull them up at the roots. As I did so I discovered some funny looking bulbs at the bottom of the leaves.

I ran to where Kyle was working in the front yard, “It’s kohlrabi!”

“Cole-who? What?” he asked.

“That mystery plant in the backyard. The one that was labeled spinach. It’s kohlrabi,” I explained.

“Ok,” he said, “Do you have plans for what do to with it?”

“Not really, but I’m sure I’ll figure something out!”

A few weeks later, after some searching for recipes, I pulled up our first kohlrabi plant. We had roasted kohlrabi with garlic and Parmesan cheese that night, yummy! I was happy that we solved the puzzle of the mystery plant and that the results were delicious.




Erika Written by:


  1. jan
    September 6, 2014

    also good raw or shredded in salads glad you discovered a new veg.

  2. Erika'smom
    September 6, 2014

    “Scary vegetables!” Really looked like alien creatures to me. Glad they taste good!

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