Growing Kohlrabi in the Home Garden
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Growing Kohlrabi in the Home Garden

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

Leaves

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.

Bulbous Stem

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.

Preparing kohlrabi for cooking.

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.

Where is the best spot in the garden for kohlrabi?

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.

How long do kohlrabi take to mature?

Most varieties of kohlrabi take 55 to 75 days to mature depending on your climatic conditions.

At what size do you harvest kohlrabi?

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.

What pests like kohlrabi?

Young kohlrabi plants will need to be protected from aphids, slugs and caterpillars.

Planting, Plant Care and Harvesting Kohlrabi

Tools and Materials Needed

Instructions

How to grow kohlrabi from seed in the home garden.

  1. 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.

    Soil prepared and trench made ready for planting kohlrabi seed.

  2. 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.

    Kohlrabi seeds ready for sowing.

  3. Thin Out the Seedlings

    Thin out the seedlings so each plant is 8 inches (20cm) apart.

    Pulling out kohlrabi seedlings to make space between plants.

  4. 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.

    Transplanted kohlrabi seedlings in their new position.

  5. Fertilize

    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.

  6. 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.

  7. Harvest

    Harvest the kohlrabi when the bulbous base reaches 2 inches (5cm) wide. Cut the tap root underneath the bulbous stem with a sharp knife.

    Harvesting a mature kohlrabi by cutting the tap root with a knife.

Tip

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.

Are you looking to grow more vegetables in your garden? Try these guides to growing Leeks, Bok Choy (Pak Choi) or Rutabaga (Swede).

For more information see this guide to Vegetable Gardening or to get more out of your home try this Homesteading guide.

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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