Kohlrabi belongs to the member of the cabbage family, and when cooked it gives a sweet peppery flavor. It is an enlarged stem that develops into a bulb above the soil. The vegetable is quite popular in Germany and India. The cabbage has a flavor similar to that of turnips. The vegetable grows above the ground.
It is a member of Brassica family vegetable, and we usually eat the bulbous bottom. The skin of the vegetable has a rubbery texture, and they are available in white, light green and bright purple color. The inner portion of the vegetable is creamy white. It can be steamed, stir-fried, added to soups, sliced and baked.
Is It Possible to Grow Kohlrabi in Your Garden?
Growing kohlrabi in your garden is not the hardest thing in the world. The vegetable is easy to grow. You can grow them in any region. Avoid growing the vegetable in hot weather because it can become woody. The vegetable prefers to grow in well-drained, rich soil with full sunlight. You can easily grow them in mild climates.
The green varieties have to be sown from mid-spring to mid-summer, and the hard purple varieties are sown in midsummer for autumn. The vegetable gets mature fast and making it ideal for early spring planting.
How does Kohlrabi Grow?
When decided to grow kohlrabi in your garden, you must remember, most growth occurs in spring or fall season. The plant usually prefers cool weather, and it will taste better if it matures during the fall. The vegetable isn’t a root plant, the bulb remains the stem of the plant, and it should sit above the level of the soil. The bulb will swell and becomes a sweet, tender vegetable ready to cook or eat raw. You can even grow this vegetable in containers.
How to Grow Kohlrabi?
Kohlrabi is Available in Different Varieties
Kohlrabi is available in different varieties with slight variation in looks and time to maturity. Green varieties will mature quickly in about 50 days. They can give an attractive addition to garden beds. Purple varieties are bug resistant, and they keep insects away.
Kossak, gigante, and superschmelz are the regular varieties of Kohlrabi, and they are large. You can store them in the fridge. Therefore, you must decide which variety you would like to grow in your organic garden.
Select a Location
The vegetable has to be planted in full sun like beetroot, onions and potatoes. So you must choose a location where there is plenty of sunlight available. They need a good amount of water and fertile soil to grow. You must plant them away from other vegetables like tomato and pole beans.
It is recommended to plant 5 or 6 kohlrabies for each member of the household.
Prepare the Soil
A few weeks before, you must start preparing the soil for sowing the vegetable. You can start tilting the soil early because the vegetable has to be planted in well-tilted soil. The soil has to be mixed with compost. The soil must have a pH between 5.5 and 6.8 to grow Kohlrabi.
You should choose an area of a garden to plant the vegetable that doesn’t collect water too much. Good drainage must be provided to avoid rot.
Plant the Vegetable in Cold Season
The vegetable is a hardy grower, so it should be planted a month before spring so that the plant gets mature before very hot summer. If you plant Kohlrabi early, you can sow the vegetable early, and it takes 50 to 60 days to mature.
If you are living in a country with warm winter, you may plant the vegetable by late autumn, so that you may harvest in early winter. If there is a long winter, you may plant Kohlrabi in pots and keep it indoors. You may keep the plant outside a month before the last frost.
Plant the Seeds Evenly
Kohlrabi seeds must be sowed in a moist soil about a half inch deep. You must put a single seed in each hole. Using your finger makes a small hole in the soil and put the seeds, then covers the seeds loosely with soil. Each plant must be sowed an inch distance. You must plant the vegetables in rows, and there should be enough space in between two plants to grow them up.
Weed the Plant Carefully
Once you see the plants growing up from the soil, weed around them carefully. They will have a shallow root structure because the bulb is above the ground. Let them flourish first, and then you must thin them out. After a week, the plant will grow 6 inches tall, and now you can start thinning out the successful one to give them a space to grow.
Carefully dig the plant and move them to another space in the garden. The green leaves of young Kohlrabi can be eaten raw.
Provide Compost and Water Deeply
After thinning out the vegetable, you must provide them nitrogen and some compost around the base to help them hold up. This could help them to grow in a healthy way with big bulbs. The vegetable needs lots of water to grow, so you shouldn’t allow the soil to become dry.
If Kohlrabi grows without water, it will become woody and unpleasant to eat. If the bulb is looking dry, you must increase your watering. You must water around the base of each bulb and avoid spraying water on the top of the plant.
Keep an Eye on Pest
Kohlrabi is a vegetable attracted by worms, so it is very important to have an eye on the pest as your plant matures. If you notice holes in the leaves and egg clusters underside of the leaves, you must move them swiftly. Wash the leaves thoroughly and remove the egg clusters.
You may use natural pesticides to remove the pests from the leaves. You must keep an eye out for rot also. Cabbage yellow can be easily recognized and remove the infected plants entirely.
To Harvest, Them Pull Up the Plant
When the stem of the Kohlrabi grows 2 to 3 inches in diameter, the vegetable is ready to be harvested. The bulb should be big enough and healthy looking. Then you may cut the bulb from the root using a sharp knife. You must position the knife at the soil level, just below the bulb.
You may pull off the leaves of upper stem and use the leaves to prepare dishes. Different variety of bulbs will grow in different sizes. If the stem grows too long, this will make the vegetable slightly woody and unpleasant. So harvest the vegetable when it is young and tender. Peel the outer skin of the bulb and eat the bulb raw or cook them.
Kohlrabi belonging to the cabbage family tastes mild like a sweet turnip. The vegetable is a fast growing cool weather crop, and they are rich in fiber and vitamin C. You must try growing them during spring or fall. When the fruit matures in cool weather, it becomes deliciously sweet. It is a traditional vegetable grown in the garden, and many people enjoy the pleasant flavor of Kohlrabi.