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Growing Kohlrabi A Simple
Versatile Vegetable

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Growing Kohlrabi

Kohlrabi is a fast growing vegetable that is a member of the cabbage family in fact it looks like a cross between a cabbage and a turnip. It is not a root crop, the bulb is the stem of the plant that swells as it grows just above the level of the soil.

The edible portion is the bulb, or enlarged stem. It is a sweet, tender vegetable with a taste similar to a broccoli stem, it can be cooked or eaten raw. The leaves are also edible.

Being a cool season vegetable growing kohlrabi is best done in early spring before the heat arrives. In warmer climates definitely try late summer early fall planting to take advantage of the cooler weather that as with all  cool seasons veggies enhances the flavor.

There are several different types, white, reddish and purple. Early varieties mature in about 35-40 days with the late maturing one taking up to 80 days. Purple varieties are slower to mature and much hardier than the white skinned varieties and are the best option for fall plantings.

Photo of picked kohlrabi roots

Roll-over image to enlarge

Start harvesting kohlrabi when the first stem is one inch (2.5 cm) in diameter.

Kohlrabi can be continuously harvested until the stems are 2-3 inches (approx 5-8 cm)in diameter. After that the plants will most likely be too old and tough.

For a continuous supply sow kohlrabi every 2-3 weeks. They are not heavy feeders, fertilizing with a good organic all purpose fertilizer before sowing will see a crop to harvest in most gardens. Plant in a sunny spot, they need minimum of 3-4  hours of direct sunlight daily. Keep the crop well watered and mulched to prevent moisture loss and weeds.

Quick Reference Guide

Veggie Garden Dairy
Vegetable Kohlrabi
Also Known As German turnip
Botanical Family - Brassicaceae, Species - Brassica oleracea , Cultivar group - Gongylodes Group
Plant Type Cool season - annual - stem vegetable
Frost Tolerance Hardy
Planting Position Sunny position but welcomes shade in the hottest part of the season - requiring a minimum of 3-4 hours of direct sunlight daily.
Seed Viability 4 years
Germination 5-8 days at 40-80 F (4-27 C)
Growing Temp 50-70 F (10-21 C)
Seed to Transplant 4-6 weeks
Planting Method Direct sow or Seedling transplants
When to Plant Spring and again in mid-summer for fall-winter harvest
Time to Plant As soon as 2 - 4 weeks before the average date of the last 32 F (0 C) freeze in the spring in your area but not before soil temperatures are consistently 40 F (4 C) and above.
Seed Sowing Direct sowing kohlrabi seeds 1/2 inch (12 mm) deep 1 inch (25 mm) apart in rows 12-18 inches (30-45 cm) apart
Plant Spacing Transplant or thin seedlings to 4-6 inches (10-15 cm) apart in rows 12-18 inches (30-45 cm) apart
Soil Conditions Well drained - High organic matter - Medium fertility
Fertilizer Medium fertilizer needs, 3-4 quarts per 100 sq feet (3.3-4.4 liters per 9.3 square meters) preplanting of All-Purpose 5-5-5 Organic Fertilizer icon, same rate for each side dressing.
When to Fertilize 2 weeks before sowing or transplanting - when transplanting use liquid starter fertilizer - side-dress every 3-4 weeks
Days to Harvest 60-80 days - depending on conditions and variety

related pages

Home Page - Site Map - Top of Growing Kohlrabi - Alphabetical List of Vegetables