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 for Maximum Yield

Choosing the Right Variety

First things first – pick the right kohlrabi variety. Look for varieties like 'White Vienna' or 'Purple Vienna'.

Tip: Purple varieties tend to have slightly stronger flavor.

Select fast-growing kohlrabi varieties to maximize the chances of a higher yield.

Planting Timing and Location

Kohlrabi prefers cool weather – it loves spring and fall. Aim for planting early spring, 2-4 weeks before the last frost date.

Personal Tip: I cheekily stagger my plantings every 2 weeks to harvest continuously.

Kohlrabi demands full sun and well-drained soil.

Start kohlrabi early to avoid the hottest part of summer, which can toughen the bulbs and reduce yield.

Soil Preparation

Healthy soil is paramount. Amend your garden soil with rich, organic compost. A soil pH between 6.0 and 6.8 works well for kohlrabi.

I personally test my soil's pH every season and adjust accordingly.

Well-prepared soil can increase yield by up to 20%.

Planting

Spacing

Space plants about 6 inches apart in rows 1 foot apart. Adequate spacing allows each bulb to fully develop without crowding.

Personal Tip: When space is tight, I grow dwarf varieties.

Proper spacing ensures air circulation and reduces disease risk.

Watering

Water consistently to keep soil moist but not waterlogged. Aim for about 1 inch of water per week.

Over the years, I've noticed irregular watering leads to woody bulbs.

Consistent watering can double your yield compared to irregular watering.

Fertilizing

Fertilize once a month with a balanced fertilizer. Do not over-fertilize.

Too much nitrogen causes leaves to thrive rather than the bulbs.

Balanced fertilization promotes bulb formation rather than excessive foliage.

Maintenance

Thinning and Weeding

Keep weeds under control. Hand-weed when plants are small.

Thin seedlings if they are too crowded.

This allows more sunlight to reach the developing bulbs.

Effective weed control improves nutrient availability to your kohlrabi plants.

Pest Control

Keep an eye out for cabbage worms and flea beetles. Use floating row covers as a preventive measure.

Neem oil works wonders in my garden for organic pest control.

An infestation can devastate your yield.

Prevention is better than cure: protect your kohlrabi from pests before they become a problem.

Harvesting Tips

Optimal Timing

Harvest kohlrabi when bulbs are 2-3 inches in diameter. Larger bulbs often become woody.

Pro Tip: Don't wait too long; smaller bulbs have a more tender texture.

Harvesting at the right size ensures maximum yield and better taste.

Post-Harvest Care

Remove leaves immediately after harvest to keep bulbs fresh. Store kohlrabi in a cool, humid place.

A root cellar or refrigerator crisper drawer works well.

Proper post-harvest storage keeps bulbs fresh for weeks.

Follow these tips and you'll see improved results in your kohlrabi yield. Enjoy the fruits of your labor. Happy gardening!

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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