How To Grow Kohlrabi For Maximum Yield

Written by: Lars Nyman

Growing Kohlrabi

Growing Kohlrabi

Kohlrabi, sometimes referred to as a German turnip, is a nutty and sweet vegetable that is highly nutritious. It is a cool season crop that is related to both kale and cabbage and its distinctive bulbous shape is usually green or purple. It is usually eaten raw or cooked and provides a good source of fiber, vitamin C, and potassium.

Cheatsheet: Growing Kohlrabi for Maximum Yield

🌱 Choosing the Right Variety

Select high-yielding kohlrabi varieties with short maturity periods.

🌞 Optimal Growing Conditions

Plant in full sun and well-drained soil with pH between 6.0 and 7.5.

💦 Watering

Provide consistent moisture, aiming for 1-1.5 inches of water weekly.

⛏️ Soil Preparation

Enrich soil with organic matter and ensure proper drainage.

🧪 Fertilization

Apply balanced fertilizer with higher nitrogen content for leafy growth.

🚫 Pest and Disease Control

Monitor for common pests like aphids and cabbage worms, using natural remedies or insecticidal soap if needed.

⏰ Timing Matters

Start seeds indoors 4-6 weeks before the last frost and directly sow seeds for a continuous harvest.

🌱 Spacing and Thinning

Space plants 6-12 inches apart and thin seedlings to avoid overcrowding and promote healthier growth.

🌧️ Mulching Benefits

Apply organic mulch to conserve moisture, suppress weeds, and regulate soil temperature.

🌱 Harvesting Tips

Harvest kohlrabi when bulbs reach 2-3 inches in diameter for optimal flavor and tenderness.

🌿 Extend the Harvest

Remove foliage to stimulate regrowth and enjoy second harvest of smaller kohlrabi.

🍽️ Culinary Delights

Kohlrabi can be enjoyed raw, roasted, in slaws, soups, or stir-fries—packed with vitamins, fiber, and antioxidants!

🌱 Save Seeds

Practice self-sufficiency by saving kohlrabi seeds for future plantings.

Growing Kohlrabi: Tips and Tricks for Maximum Yield

Understanding Kohlrabi

If you're a passionate gardener like me, you're probably always on the lookout for new and exciting vegetables to grow in your garden. And let me tell you, kohlrabi is definitely one of them! Kohlrabi, with its unique flavor and stunning appearance, is a member of the cabbage family and is widely loved for its versatility in the kitchen.

When I first started growing kohlrabi, I was fascinated by its alien-like appearance. With its bulbous stem and its delicate leaves, it's unlike anything else I had grown before. But don't let its quirky looks fool you, growing kohlrabi is actually quite simple and rewarding.

Choosing the Right Varieties

One of the first things you'll need to consider when growing kohlrabi is choosing the right variety for your garden. Kohlrabi comes in both green and purple varieties, and each has its own unique taste and appearance. Personally, I like to grow a mix of both to add a pop of color to my garden.

Did you know that purple kohlrabi tends to have a slightly sweeter taste than green kohlrabi? It's a small but fascinating difference that can make a big impact on your dishes!

Preparing the Soil

Before sowing your kohlrabi seeds, it's important to prepare the soil properly. Kohlrabi prefers well-drained soil that is rich in organic matter. I like to add compost or well-rotted manure to my soil before planting to ensure that my kohlrabi plants have all the nutrients they need to thrive.

It's also a good idea to perform a soil pH test. Kohlrabi prefers a slightly acidic soil with a pH between 6.0 and 6.8. If your soil is too alkaline, you can lower the pH by adding sulfur or acidic organic matter like coffee grounds.

Planting and Care

When it comes to planting kohlrabi, timing is key. Kohlrabi is a cool-season crop, so it's best to sow the seeds in early spring or late summer for a fall harvest. Make sure to sow the seeds directly into the garden, as kohlrabi doesn't transplant well.

As the seedlings emerge, it's important to thin them out to give each plant enough space to grow. Aim for a spacing of 4-6 inches between plants to ensure healthy development.

Pro tip: To promote maximum yield, make sure to keep the soil consistently moist. Kohlrabi plants are shallow-rooted, so they can quickly dry out if not watered regularly.

Pests and Diseases

Like many cruciferous vegetables, kohlrabi can be susceptible to pests and diseases. Keep an eye out for cabbage worms, flea beetles, and aphids, which can all damage your plants. Consider using organic pest control methods, such as companion planting or introducing beneficial insects like ladybugs, to keep these pests at bay.

In terms of diseases, kohlrabi can be prone to clubroot, a soil-borne disease that causes stunted growth and deformed roots. To prevent clubroot, make sure to practice proper crop rotation and avoid planting kohlrabi in the same area for consecutive years.

Harvesting and Storage

Once your kohlrabi plants have reached maturity, it's time to harvest them. Young kohlrabi bulbs are the most tender and flavorful, so aim to harvest them when they are about 2-3 inches in diameter. To harvest, simply cut the stem just above the soil level.

Kohlrabi can be stored in the refrigerator for up to two weeks, although it's best to enjoy them fresh for the tastiest experience. The leaves, which are also edible and delicious, can be enjoyed raw in salads or cooked as a nutritious side dish.

The Joy of Growing Kohlrabi

Growing kohlrabi in my garden has been an absolute joy. From their unique appearance to their delicious flavor, kohlrabi plants never fail to bring a smile to my face. I hope that these tips and tricks will help you grow kohlrabi successfully in your own garden, and maybe even inspire you to try some new recipes with this fantastic vegetable!

Frequently Asked Questions

1. When is the best time to plant kohlrabi?

The ideal time to start growing kohlrabi is in early spring or fall.

2. What kind of soil does kohlrabi prefer?

Kohlrabi thrives in well-draining, fertile soil that is rich in organic matter.

3. How should I plant kohlrabi seeds?

Sow kohlrabi seeds directly in the garden, about ½ inch deep and 4-6 inches apart.

4. Does kohlrabi require full sun or partial shade?

Kohlrabi prefers full sun for maximum growth and yield.

5. How often should I water kohlrabi?

Keep the soil consistently moist, but avoid overwatering. Water deeply once or twice a week.

6. How long does it take for kohlrabi to mature?

Kohlrabi typically matures in 55 to 60 days from planting.

7. Can I grow kohlrabi in containers or pots?

Yes, you can grow kohlrabi in containers, as long as the pots are at least 10 inches deep.

8. Are there any common pests or diseases that affect kohlrabi?

A few common pests include cabbage worms, flea beetles, and aphids. Diseases like clubroot and powdery mildew can also affect kohlrabi.

9. How do I harvest kohlrabi?

Harvest kohlrabi when the bulbs reach about 2-3 inches in diameter. Cut the stem just above the ground level.

10. What can I do with harvested kohlrabi?

Kohlrabi can be enjoyed raw in salads, roasted, added to stir-fries, or even pickled for a delicious crunch.

Kohlrabi is an edible root vegetable that can be cooked and eaten like a potato, but with a fraction of the calories. It is packed full of bright colors, vitamins, and minerals like vitamin C and calcium. Kohlrabi is also extremely versatile and can be eaten raw, steamed, boiled, stir-fried or roasted. For those seeking to improve their health and eat deliciously, growing and using Kohlrabi is an excellent choice.

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