What Is Kohlrabi And How To Grow It

Learn about what kohlarbi is, the different varieties, and specific requirements for growing it.

Kohlrabi is a unique and tasty vegetable that is part of the cabbage family. It has the texture of a potato and tastes very similar to turnips. The bulbs can be prepared in a variety of ways, and they are often served as an addition to a main meal. Kohlrabi can be cut into cubes or slices, and cooked, steamed, or microwaved. The leaves can be cooked and served with a main meal, or they can be tossed into salads.

"Burpee: Complete Gardener" published by Macmillan in 1995 suggests "Purple Vienna", which is a rich purple variety that has a light green interior. Also recommended is "White Vienna". This well-liked variety has white flesh that is delicately flavored and quite delicious. A few other seed varieties are suggested by the website "Seedway", in the page entitled "Bejo Kohlrabi Varieties", published by Speedway Incorporated in 1996. "Korist F1" is an early variety which matures in about fifty-five days. It is delicately flavored, crispy, and is beautifully shaped. "Kossak F1" is a larger variety. The bulbs of this tasty plant can be as large as eight inches in diameter. This variety of kohlrabi is ready for harvest in about eighty-five days. Lastly is "Kolibri F1". This purple, high-yielding variety is ready for harvest in approximately sixty days. It produces an abundance of large, slightly flattened bulbs that are of exceptional quality.

"Burpee: Complete Gardener" says kohlrabi should be planted during the spring in cooler climates and during the fall in warmer climates. Some vegetables have to be started indoors because of a shorter growing season, but because kohlrabi matures quickly, it is a good vegetable to plant in cool season areas. The same article says kohlrabi grows best in sunny locations with well-draining, fertile soil. According to the website publication, "Gardening Hints From the Seed Program", in the article entitled "Growing Hints for Kohlrabi", published by Cyberniche Software, kohlrabi favors soil with a neutral pH level. It suggests mixing lime and compost into the soil to improve the rate of growth. Kohlrabi should be planted in rows that are about one to one and a half feet apart, and young plants should have a minimum of four inches of space between them, says "Burpee: Complete Gardener". For those who are short on garden space, kohlrabi also grows well in planters.



"Burpee: Complete Gardener" recommends that kohlrabi is planted in a different location each season to prevent diseases and harmful insects. Flea beetles and cabbage worms are sometimes a problem for kohlrabi. "Growing Hints for Kohlrabi" says insects known to infest kohlrabi usually do minimal damage to the leaves of the plant. If the leaves are going to be discarded, a minor pest problem does not require treatment. The same article says floating row protectors will eliminate all pests that may be a threat to your garden crops. "Growing Hints for Kohlrabi" remarks, since kohlrabi is basically smooth, insects can easily be seen and removed by hand. If using chemical insecticides, be sure to carefully read and follow label instructions.

When kohlrabi bulbs are two to three inches across they can be harvested, according to "Burpee: Complete Gardener". Unless a specific variety recommends a larger harvesting size, mature kohlrabi should be picked before it becomes large and fibrous. "Growing Hints for Kohlrabi" suggests using a serrated knife to harvest kohlrabi. It says the plants should be cut off just above the ground.

Planting kohlrabi in your home garden will provide you with a rapid growing, nutritious vegetable that is as healthy as it is versatile. "Growing Hints for Kohlrabi" says the flavorful skin should not be removed before preparation. Kohlrabi is a delicious, easy-to-grow vegetable that adds variety to the dinner table as well as the garden.

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