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How to Grow Kohlrabi Plants

Kohlrabi is a closely guarded secret. And, we are letting the cat out of the bag.

"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 it's celery like, nutty flavor. Best of all, it is perhaps the hardiest of garden vegetables, and 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, as the rabi will grow best ,and taste it's 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!

Varieties of Kohlrabi:

Green, white, and purple skinned varieties exist. They are all a white inside.

Sowing Kohlrabi Seeds:

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.

Days to Maturity: 44-55 days.

How to Grow Kohlrabi Plants:

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 a 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 a 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.

Also See:

Plant Problems

Soil Temperatures - Ideal germination temperature by vegetable

Ideal Soil pH - by vegetable

Insects and Pests:

There are few insect problems in this fast growing vegetable.


Kohlrabi is generally disease free.

Plant Problems - Diagnosis, causes and cures for many common plant problems.


Harvest Kohlrabi as the root gets larger than a tennis ball. 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. 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.

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