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Growing Kohlrabi A Simple
Versatile Vegetable

Kohlrabi Also Known As German Turnip Is An Unusual Looking Vegetable

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.

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 that is featured in this photo.

Climate and soil


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

Soil Conditions

This members of the brassicaceae family prefers growing conditions consisting of a well drained soil high in organic matter with medium fertility but good consistent moisture.

Soil temperatures and air temperatures differ greatest in the early spring. While air temperature might be in the range for planting or sowing seed it will take consistently warm temperature during the day and night for the soil temperature to follow suit.


best planting method; Direct sow or Seedling transplants.

Either direct sowing or seedling transplants, one is as good as the other.  Depending more on spring growing conditions in your area than growing conditions for the plant.

As very young seedlings they look like many other plants in the brassica's family.

For a continuous supply sow kohlrabi every 2-3 weeks. Plant in a sunny spot they need minimum of 4-6 hours of direct sunlight daily.

Plant Care

The most important aspects of caring for kohlrabi are;

  1. Thinning
  2. Weed control
  3. Moisture
  4. Fertilizer


Transplant or thin seedlings to 4-6 inches (10-15 cm) apart in rows 12-18 inches (30-45 cm) apart.

Weed And Moisture Control

Keep the crop well watered and mulched to prevent moisture loss and weeds. As with all fast growing vegetables consistent moisture is important to help in retaining a sweet, tender taste.


Kohlrabi is not an overly heavy feeders. Fertilizing with 3-4 quarts per 100 sq feet (3.3-4.4 liters per 9.3 square meters) of a good organic all purpose 5-5-5 fertilizer approximately 2 weeks before sowing or transplanting will usually see a crop through to harvest in most gardens.

Crop Rotation

Kohlrabi is another member of the very large Brassicaceae family so as with others to help reduce disease, do not plant them in the same place as any other member of the Brassicaceae family more than once every three to four years.

pests and diseases


Aphids , Cabbage Loopers, Cabbage Root Maggots, Flea Beetles, Imported Cabbage worms, Slugs


Black Rot, Clubroot, Yellows.

Harvesting and Storing


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.

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


Short term storage for kohlrabi is to place the root (actually a swollen stem ) in a sealed plastic bag in the crisper of your refrigerator. It will last for about a week.

Freezing is also an option, if you’d like to be able to store kohlrabi for longer periods.

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