Have you ever tried kohlrabi? This unique garden vegetable has a strange appearance but a delicious flavor!
If you’d like to learn how to plant kohlrabi in your home garden, you’ve come to the right place. I’ve put together a helpful guide to give you all the information you need to start growing kohlrabi.
You’ll learn how to start kohlrabi from seed, how much to water, when to fertilize, and much more. Keep reading and soon, you’ll be ready to start growing your own tasty kohlrabi.
All About Kohlrabi
Kohlrabi is a member of the brassica family. It grows in large, round bulbs close to the ground with tall leaves sticking out the top.
Kohlrabi has tough green or purple skin on the outside and tender white flesh on the inside. It’s most commonly grown for the bulb-shaped stem but the leaves are also edible.
Like many other brassicas, kohlrabi is a cool-weather crop. It doesn’t like heat and grows best in spring or fall.
What Does it Taste Like
Kohlrabi has a mild, peppery, sweet, almost nutty flavor. It tastes a lot like broccoli stems or mild turnips. Some people describe the sweet flavor as somewhat like an apple.
Like other green vegetables, kohlrabi is full of nutritional benefits. It contains vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants like vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin K, iron, calcium, and potassium.
It’s high in fiber which supports healthy digestion and has two grams of protein per serving.
Ways to Use Kohlrabi
Kohlrabi is delicious, either raw or cooked. You can eat it with a sprinkle of salt and pepper, add it to salads, or use it in other recipes.
It’s delicious in stir-fries, slaws, pasta dishes, and soup. Since the flavor is so mild, kohlrabi is an easy vegetable to serve to kids.
What Kohlrabi Need to Grow
The first step in learning how to plant kohlrabi is to provide the right growing conditions. Here’s what kohlrabi needs to grow.
Kohlrabi does best in loamy, well-draining soil with plenty of organic matter. Organic matter provides essential nutrients to feed plants as they grow.
The soil pH for kohlrabi should be between 5.5 and 7.5. A pH between 6.5 and 6.8 is ideal for avoiding clubroot disease.
If your soil is outside this range, you can amend it with dolomite lime to raise pH or a soil acidifier to lower pH. Soil test kits are a fast and easy way to check your soil pH at home.
Kohlrabi needs full sun to grow. Plant it where it has access to at least 6-8 hours of direct sunlight each day.
Kohlrabi does best in temperatures between 40 and 75 degrees. Temperatures higher than 75 cause kohlrabi to develop a woody texture that’s tough and unappetizing.
It’s best to grow kohlrabi in early spring or late fall to avoid the hot temperatures of summer.
How to Plant Kohlrabi
There are several ways to plant kohlrabi. You can start kohlrabi from seed indoors, plant seeds directly in the ground, or purchase starter plants from a garden center or nursery.
Starting Kohlrabi Seeds Indoors
Starting kohlrabi indoors is one of the best ways to ensure the temperature is right for growing.
It’s possible to start seeds inside weeks before the weather is right to plant them outside, giving your kohlrabi plants a head start on the growing season.
Seed Starting Equipment
With the right tools, starting kohlrabi seeds indoors is simple and easy. Here are some things that help.
And, of course, you need kohlrabi seeds! We highly recommend any of the four varieties of kohlrabi seeds sold online by one of our favorite seed retailers, Hoss Tools.
How to Plant Kohlrabi Seeds Indoors
Choose a seed tray or small containers to start your seeds. in I like these seed trays from Hoss because they’re incredibly sturdy and easy to use. They hold up well year after year so I can use them repeatedly.
Fill your seed tray with a high-quality seed starting mix. Sprinkle 1-2 kohlrabi seeds on the top of each cell and cover to a depth of 1/4 inch.
Water thoroughly with a spray bottle to avoid displacing the tiny seeds.
Keep the seeds warm and moist while they’re germinating. Heat pads help keep seeds at the right temperature.
Caring for Kohlrabi Seedlings
As soon as the sprouts begin to emerge, make sure they have access to light. Use a grow light or place the seed tray directly in front of a sunny window.
When the seedlings develop their first set of true leaves, thin the plants to one per cell.
Keep the seedlings well watered and give them plenty of light until it’s time to start moving them outside.
If you’re using a grow light, keep it on for 12-16 hours a day and turn it off at night. Adequate light is important but seedlings need a resting period of darkness during the night.
Direct Sowing Kohlrabi
Kohlrabi takes around 55 days from seed to harvest. If you live in an area where temperatures stay between 40-75 for that long, you can plant kohlrabi directly outside in the garden.
In spring, plant kohlrabi seeds 3-4 weeks before the last frost of the season.
For a fall harvest, plant kohlrabi six weeks before the first expected frost of fall.
How to Plant Kohlrabi Seeds Outside
Choose a sunny location and prepare the soil by adding organic matter like compost, leaf mold, or aged manure.
Poke holes in the soil 4-6 inches apart. Plant one seed per hole and cover to about 1/4 inch deep. Water thoroughly and keep seeds moist while they’re germinating.
Once seeds emerge, continue to keep the soil evenly moist by watering regularly. When seedlings are 1-2 inches tall, thin the plants to one every six inches.
Proper spacing for kohlrabi plants varies depending on what variety you’re growing. Check your seed packet to find the correct spacing for your particular plants.
Transplanting Kohlrabi Seedlings
When the weather is right, it’s time to start preparing to plant your kohlrabi seedlings in the garden.
Start by hardening off the seedlings for about a week. This is an important step you don’t want to skip. Seedlings grown indoors are a bit pampered. They need time to get used to being outside before they’re moved out there permanently.
Once the seedlings are hardened off, plant them about six inches apart. Water thoroughly and keep the soil evenly moist. Soon you’ll see those thick stems start to develop!
Caring for Kohlrabi as it Grows
Once kohlrabi is planted, caring for the plants is simple and doesn’t require a lot of time or attention.
Regular, even moisture is important for kohlrabi to produce healthy bulbs. If you’re not getting regular rain, keep the soil moist by watering kohlrabi with about an inch of water each week.
Kohlrabi needs plenty of nutrients to grow well and develop the best flavor. Use a slow-release fertilizer like AgroThrive to provide steady nutrition to kohlrabi during the growing season.
When to Harvest Kohlrabi
Kohlrabi is ready to harvest when the bulbs are around two inches across, or about the size of a tennis ball.
Large bulbs become tough and lose their sweetness. For the best flavor and texture, harvest kohlrabi early.
Wrapping up How to Plant Kohlrabi
Once you know how to plant kohlrabi, growing this unique vegetable is simple! The taste is so good, you’ll wonder why you didn’t grow it sooner.
To find out how to plant more vegetables, herbs, and flowers, visit the Seed Starting page on our website. There we’ve put together a ton of resources to help you start growing. You’ll find dozens of planting guides, how-to articles, product recommendations, and more to help you have the best garden yet.