Apparently, Kohlrabi (also called “rabi”) is a closely guarded secret. But, we are letting the cat out of the bag. Not many people grow it. Certainly, this is a surprise as Kohlrabi is easy to grow and it tastes good. Of course, you’ve got to be willing to try it to find out just how good it is. Whether or not you’ve grown it before, this guide on “How to Grow Kohlrabi” will help you to grow a great crop.
“Rabi” as it is fondly nicknamed by growers, is easy to grow, nutritious and it tastes good too! If you like celery, you will like its celery-like, nutty flavor. Best of all, it is among the hardiest of garden vegetables. Rabi will grow long after your other garden vegetables have succumbed to the cold and frost. Rabi is popular in Europe. It is not high on the home garden list elsewhere. Now that we have let the cat out of the bag, I’m sure you will grow it next season.
Did you know? In German, Kohl means cabbage and rabi means turnip.
As a member of the cabbage family, Kohlrabi prefers cool weather. If the weather in your area allows, you can get a spring and a fall crop. Most growth will occur in cool weather. If you can only have one crop, we recommend the fall crop. Kohlrabi grows best, and taste its best, if it matures in cool weather.
Did you know? Kohlrabi is not a root crop. The “bulb” is actually the stem just above soil level. It swells out into this tender, sweet-tasting vegetable, which can be eaten raw or cooked.
One cup equals 40 calories. It is an excellent source of Vitamin C and fiber. It also is a good source of potassium. All of this in a vegetable that tastes good, too!
Green, white, and purple-skinned varieties exist. White kohlrabi is by far the most popular.
All varieties are white on the inside.
Sow outdoors as soon as the soil can be worked. If you have a short growing season, start seedlings indoors. Transplant them outside a couple of weeks before the last frost. You should plan to harvest your spring crop before hot summer weather sets in.
For a fall crop, directly sow seeds into the garden. Plan your harvest for a week or two after the first fall frost is expected in your area.
Sow seeds thinly 1/4 to 1/2 inch deep, in double rows 1 1/2 feet apart. Thin seedlings to six inches apart.
Select a location with full sun.
Work plenty of compost and manure into your garden. Work in a general-purpose fertilizer to promote quick growth. Kohlrabi does not need deep soil, as it is the stem that grows into a bulb.
Ideal soil pH: 6.0 – 7.5 More on soil pH
Provide plenty of water and well-drained soil. Kohlrabi needs lots of water, about 1 inch per week.
Fertilize every 3-4 weeks with a general-purpose fertilizer.
Keep plants weeded, for best growth.
Ideal Soil pH: 6.0 – 7.5. Ideal Soil pH by vegetable.
Soil Temperatures – Ideal germination temperature by vegetable
Ideal Soil pH – by vegetable
There are few insect problems in this fast-growing vegetable.
Days to Maturity: 44 – 55 days.
Harvest Kohlrabi as the root gets larger than a tennis ball. The general size range is three to five inches. Pick as much as you need, and let the remainder continue to grow.
The bulb gets woody and hot when picked large in warm weather. Frost hardy Kohlrabi is best picked in the fall, after the first frost.
The leaves are also edible. They can be added to salads or boiled like spinach.
Long after hardy Swiss Chard succumbs to the cold and freezes of late autumn, hardy Kohlrabi plants live on. In fact, a little snow is of little worry for this hardy plant. If the weather is expected to go into the low twenties, you can cover any remaining plants for a day or two until the temperature inches up a bit.