Kohlrabi Growing Guide
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What Are Kohlrabi?

Kohlrabi is a vegetable that is part of the Brassica family, which also includes broccoli, cauliflower, and cabbage. It is a cool-weather crop that grows best in the spring and fall. Kohlrabi has a bulbous stem that grows above the ground, with leaves growing out of the top. The stem can range in color from light green to purple, and it has a crisp, crunchy texture and a mild, slightly sweet flavor that is often compared to a cross between cabbage and turnip. Kohlrabi is a versatile vegetable that can be eaten raw or cooked, and it is often used in salads, slaws, soups, and stir-fries. It is a good source of vitamin C, fiber, and potassium, and it is also low in calories. Kohlrabi is a popular vegetable in many parts of the world, including Europe, Asia, and the United States, and it is often grown in home gardens due to its ease of cultivation.

How to Start Growing Kohlrabi

Kohlrabi grows best in well-drained soil with full sun exposure. Cover the seeds with soil and water thoroughly. Kohlrabi needs consistent moisture to grow properly. Water regularly to keep the soil moist but not waterlogged. Kohlrabi needs regular fertilization. Once the seedlings reach a height of 2-3 inches, thin them to about 6 inches apart. This will give the kohlrabi enough room to grow. It takes kohlrabi 35-45 days to reach maturity, depending on the variety. Kohlrabi works great for succession planting because it matures quickly and is frost tolerant. Kohlrabi should be fully harvested before the heat of summer arrives.

Did you know?

The first European written record regarding kohlrabi is by the botanist Pietro Andrea Mattioli in 1554, who wrote that it had “come lately into Italy”. By the end of the 16th century, kohlrabi was commonly used all over Northern Europe.

Our Kohlrabi Varieties

Kohlrabi Plant Spacing

In-Ground Planting

Row Spacing - 18 to 24 inches

Plant Spacing - 6 to 8 inches

Planting Depth - 1/4 inch

Kohlrabi Soil, Irrigation, & Fertilizer

Soil Requirements To Grow Kohlrabi

  • Well-draining soil
  • pH between 6.0 and 7.0
  • Rich in organic materials
  • Good quality compost added to the soil

If possible, plant where you have not grown related crops such as cabbage, cauliflower, brussels sprouts, collards, kale, mustard, turnip, or rutabaga for the past four years.

Kohlrabi Irrigation Requirements

Kohlrabi plants need at least 1 inch of water per week. Using drip irrigation is always recommended to be sure that your plants are getting moisture directly to their root system. If you’re using conventional overhead watering techniques, try and use something like the Dramm Watering Can and water and fertilize at the base of the plant to keep moisture off the leaves.

Raised Bed & Container Fertilizer Schedule

Several Weeks Before Planting

Test your soil at your local extension office.

1 Week Before Planting

After adjusting soil pH to 6.0 – 7.0, mix 1 1/2 cups per 10 ft. of row of Hoss Complete Organic Fertilizer with your soil.

2 Weeks After Planting

Sidedress 2 cups of Hoss Complete Organic Fertilizer per 10 ft. of row.

Every 7 Days (After 3rd Week Planting)

Mix 1 tablet each of Dr. Joe All Purpose and 1 tablet of Dr. Joe Nutri Bubble into 1 gallon of water. Apply as a drench per 4 plants.

In-Ground Fertilizer Schedule

Several Weeks Before Planting

Test your soil at your local extension office.

1 Week Before Planting

After adjusting soil pH to 6.0 – 7.0, mix 1 1/2 cups per 10 ft. of row of Hoss Complete Organic Fertilizer with your soil.

2 Weeks After Planting

Using the Hoss Fertilizer Injector, Mix 1 cup of Hoss Premium 20-20-20 Fertilizer -AND -1-2 cups of Hoss Micro-Boost Micronutrient Supplement per 20 ft. of row.

Alternate Every 14 Days

Mix 1 cup of Hoss Premium Calcium Nitrate -AND -1-2 cups of Hoss Micro-Boost Micronutrient Supplement per 20 ft. of row.

Kohlrabi Pest & Disease Protection

Insects

Organic Controls

Garden Insect Spray
Thrips, Horn Worms, Cabbage Looper

Horticulture Oil
Aphids, Flea Beetle, Whiteflies

Bug Buster-O
Aphids, Flea Beetle, Whiteflies

Monterey BT
Hornworms, Cabbage Looper

Take Down Garden Spray
Aphids, Horn Worms, Flea Beetle, Whiteflies

Diatomaceous Earth
Cutworms

Neem Oil
Whiteflies, Aphids

Non-Organic

Bug buster II
Aphids, Horn Worms, Flea Beetle, Whiteflies, Cabbage Looper

Treat as needed using label instructions.

Common Diseases

Non-Organic

Liquid Copper Fungicide
Downy Mildew, Powdery Mildew, Anthracnose, Alternaria Leaf Spot

Garden Phos
Downy Mildew, Powdery Mildew; Anthracnose, Alternaria Leaf Blight

Fungi Max
Powdery Mildew

Vegetable, Flower, Fruit and Ornamental Fungicide
Downy Mildew, Powdery Mildew; Anthracnose, Alternaria Leaf Blight, Cercospora Leaf Spot

Treat as needed using label instructions.

Harvesting, Preserving, and Storing Kohlrabi

Harvesting Kohlrabi

Kohlrabi is ready to harvest when the stem reaches a size of about 3 inches in diameter, or the size of a tennis ball. The vegetable should be firm and the skin should be smooth. Also, the stem should be succulent, tender, and sweet at this size. If allowed to become too large, it can become tough and bitter. Do not pick the vegetable in warm weather, as the root becomes woody. Use a sharp knife to cut the stem about 1 inch above the ground. Be careful not to damage the surrounding plants or the kohlrabi itself.

Storing Kohlrabi

Once the kohlrabi is harvested, remove the leaves from the stem. You can use the leaves in salads or soups, or compost them. Kohlrabi can be stored in the refrigerator for up to two weeks. Wrap it in a damp paper towel and store it in a plastic bag to keep it fresh. Harvested stems can be stored with other root crops in a cool, humid place or in the refrigerator for up to 2 to 4 weeks. You can also freeze kohlrabi after blanching. Remove the leaf stems and wash the stem thoroughly before storing. Bulbs should be peeled before eating as the outside is tough and not palatable.

Kohlrabi Galore!
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Kohlrabi Growing Tips & Tricks

Health and Wellness Benefits

Kohlrabi is chock full of nutrients. While it is about 90% water, kohlrabi is very healthy. The vegetable has high amounts of Vitamin C, constituting 75% of a healthy adult’s DV. Kohlrabi also has moderate amounts of potassium, vitamin B6, phosphorous, magnesium, and manganese.

How to Eat it!

When eaten raw, it has a lovely buttery, slightly sweet, nutty, but very mild flavor. Enjoy it in salads or on its own with a little salt and pepper. You can also dice it and roast them or steam them. Kohlrabi can be mashed as a replacement for mashed potatoes as well. The leaves are also edible and can be cooked and eaten similarly to collard greens.

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