Growing kohlrabi in the home garden is easy with this step by step guide including pictures. Kohlrabi is a highly nutritious vegetable which grows easily from seed making it a must for the home garden.
Kohlrabi is German for ‘cabbage turnip’ however it is not related to turnips. These vegetables are a cultivar of cabbages and are in the brassica family which also includes broccoli and kale.
There are giant, purple and white varieties available. All are high in Vitamin C, Vitamin B6, Potassium and fibre. They are a nutrient dense form of cabbage and are considered to be a super food.
Culinary Uses of Kohlrabi
The kohlrabi leaves are used in the same way you would use kale, silverbeet or turnip greens. Try stir frying the leaves with a little soy sauce, garlic and fresh ginger as a side dish or simply add to your stir fry, stew or pasta dish.
The kohlrabi plant will form a bulbous stem at the base of the plant. These should be peeled as the outer skin can be tough. Halve the bulb then remove the hard core at the base where the root was attached.
Once prepared either grate the bulb then add to salads such as this Creamy Kohlrabi and Carrot Slaw or chop then add to soups or stews. They can also be baked like in this recipe for Kohlrabi Wedges with Preserved Lemon.
The bulbous stem has a flavor which is similar to cabbage only milder and slightly sweet.
Growing Kohlrabi in the Home Garden
There is no need to raise seeds in punnets as they will germinate easily direct in the ground. Seedlings will transplant successfully to a new position which is a great way to prevent waste when thinning out and creates more plants for you to enjoy.
Sow seeds during the spring, summer and fall (autumn). The plants will tolerate light frosts during the winter months.
Kohlrabi likes a full sun to part shade position with moist soil. They can be grown successfully in a shade house in warm climates which helps to retain the moisture in the soil.
Most varieties of kohlrabi take 55 to 75 days to mature depending on your climatic conditions.
Harvest kohlrabi when the bulbous stem at the base of the plant is 2 inches (5cm) wide. Any larger and they can become woody with the exception of Giant varieties which can reach up to 4 inches (10cm) wide or larger and still be edible.
Young kohlrabi plants will need to be protected from aphids, slugs and caterpillars.
Planting, Plant Care and Harvesting Kohlrabi
Tools and Materials Needed
- Kohlrabi Seeds – Try these organic Early White Vienna Kohlrabi Seeds on Amazon (Paid link)
- Aged Manure or Compost
- Garden Lime (Only necessary for acid soils)
- Liquid Fertilizer – This 10 Lb pack of Miracle-Gro Soluble Plant Food is great value. (Paid link)
- Snail Bait and Vegetable Dust (Paid links)
How to grow kohlrabi from seed in the home garden.
- Prepare the Soil
First prepare the soil by digging in aged manure or compost. Add a few handfuls of garden lime if needed. Make a wide trench with your trowel with rows spaced 16 inches (40cm) apart then make a line down the middle of each trench with your finger 1/4 inch (5mm) deep.
- Sow the Kohlrabi Seeds
Sprinkle the kohlrabi seeds along the line then gently backfill the soil. Water well with a mist spray then keep moist.
- Thin Out the Seedlings
Thin out the seedlings so each plant is 8 inches (20cm) apart.
- Transplant Seedlings (Optional)
To transplant seedlings; wait until they have their second leaves before transplanting to a new position. Keep the roots moist to prevent transplant shock. Mulch around the kohlrabi to prevent water loss.
After 2 weeks apply a half strength liquid fertilizer then apply a full strength dose every 2 weeks. This will encourage growth and create healthier plants.
- Protect from Pests
Protect young plants from from snails by sprinkling snail bait around the plants. If aphids or caterpillars become a problem sprinkle vegetable dust on the leaves.
Harvest the kohlrabi when the bulbous base reaches 2 inches (5cm) wide. Cut the tap root underneath the bulbous stem with a sharp knife.
To avoid chemicals in your garden either use an organic vegetable dust or try this guide to making a Natural Aphid Spray using stinging nettles.
Do your garden tools need replacing or do you know someone who loves gardening? This 49 piece heavy duty Garden Tool Set has everything you could possibly need and comes with an attractive tote bag. (Paid link)
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