Kohlrabi is a unusual-looking biennial plant with leaves that resemble collards growing out of a swollen globe that resembles a turnip. The vegetable is closely related to cabbage and turnips, but has a softer taste than either of these more common plants. Kohlrabi grows well in cooler climates and is often harvested in the late fall or early winter.
Preparing the soil for kohlrabi
To get the soil ready for kohlrabi seeds, work it thoroughly to loosen it for planting. Test your soil’s pH range to get it within a range of 5.5 to 6.8. Add a layer of aged compost to the soil to fertilize it and make sure that the soil is adequately drained. Kohlrabi should always be grown in a sunny spot, so choose a gardening site that receives full sunlight.
How to plant kohlrabi
Unlike some other vegetables, kohlrabi can usually be planted directly into the soil just a few weeks before the final spring frost for a spring harvest. As long as the outdoor temperatures average between 40 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit, the plants should grow normally. If you live in an area that experiences a warm winter climate, you can plant the seeds during the final part of summer and harvest in the winter.
To plant the kohlrabi, sow seeds at least a half-inch into the soil and space the seeds at least one inch apart. As the seedlings mature, thin them out to an eventual distance of seven inches apart. Kohlrabi transplants well, so you can move some of the seedlings to another appropriate growing spot.
Caring for your kohlrabi plants
After you plant your kohlrabi seeds, check on the soil often to make sure that it does not dry out. Add water to the soil as needed and add compost every few weeks. Carefully work the soil around the roots a few times during the growing process to encourage the plants to grow. Add a layer of mulch around the plants to discourage weeds from taking over the garden.
How to Harvest Kohlrabi
Kohlrabi is unique in that, if you like, you can harvest the leaves and bulbs separately. As the leaves grow in size, you can hand pick them and use them in cooking. When the plant’s bulb swells to about two inches in diameter, it’s ready to be harvested. To do so, place a knife one-inch below the bottom of the bulb and cut cleanly. Pull off the leaves and stems and store the bulb in the refrigerator.