Kohlrabi is a sweet, crunchy vegetable that looks like its straight out of some sci-fi film.
It’s still an unusual vegetable in the uk but definately one to try.
It’s part of the brassica or cabbage family and perfect for our climate here in the UK, as it loves cooler temperatures.
Kohlrabi also grows very fast. You don’t need to wait too long to eat it, unlike its slower growing relative brussel sprouts or broccoli.
It is one of the first brassicas we grow in spring and we keep sowing small amounts all season.
What Is Kohlrabi Good For?
Kohlrabi is an fantastic source of vitamin C and potassium and suprisingly, its also high in fiber.
Considered to be high in antioxidants it’s said to help fight cancer, so definately worth trying out.
What Does Kohlrabi Taste Like?
As it’s a brassica, you won’t be surprised to learn it has a flavour something like cabbage or broccoli, and has the texture more like a swede or turnip.
If you have ever eaten a chunk of brocolli stem, you will have an idea of the flavour and texture.
How To Grow Kohlrabi in Your Garden
First we need to learn how to sow kohlrabi seeds:
Kohlrabi is a super easy seed to grow. It doesn’t need any heat or special treatment.
Most of the brassica family are easy to grow and don’t mind being sown straight into cold ground, in seed trays or even in a large pot. Wherever you’d like it to grow.
However, in our area, sowing directly into the ground, results in the slugs eating everything as it emerged through the soil.
To combat the slugs, we sow all our seeds in into trays of soil. This allows the seedlings to emerge and grow to a good size before contending with the slugs and snails.
Once the seeds are sown, they don’t need any protection from the elements, but again, we use a small plastic greenhouse out in the garden.
This structure just helps to keep our seedlings up off the ground and less likely to be munched.
Brassicas can do without a lot of sunlight, they only need around 6 house of bright light but the rest of the time they are happy in semi shade.
This makes them really useful for those awkward corners that don’t get full sunlight other vegetables need.
Right, Let’s Sow These Kohlrabi Seeds.
Kohlrabi can be sown outdoors in the UK starting in March.
Most brassica seeds are quite reliable in my experience, so there’s no need to sow more than one seed in each pot or space.
Wherever you are choosing to sow your seeds. Place them on the soil around 3cm apart and cover them with 0.5cm of soil.
If you don’t have a lot of space, you can even grow these crunchy roots in containers or large pots.
After sowning, water them in well and let them do their thing. Try to keep the ground damp at all times but not water logged.
A great idea that we use, is to mulch around your plants. We water the soil then lay a 2cm layer of grass clippings or another mulch around the plants. This keeps the moisture in the soil and stops the moisture evaporating away.
Now you’ve sown them, how do you care for kohlrabi seedlings?
If you’ve sown your seeds directly into the ground, you will need to weed the ground carefully around your kohlrabi regularly.
Kohlrabi has shallow roots which can easily be swamped by weeds, so keep on top of the weeds every few days.
Kohlrabi roots don’t need feeding, but I like to add some “Blood, Fish and Bone to the soil around the seedling and they will be fine.
Top Tips For Growing Fantastic Kohlrabi
There are some pests that love to munch on brassicas, such as slugs, pigeons, cabbage worms.
Cabbage white butterflies are the biggest threat for us. The white butterfly lays its eggs on the underside of the leaves and the caterpillar eat it’s way through the leaves.
Any of these pests are easy to remove by hand and I find a simple net cloche does wonders at keeping the bugs away right from the start, and avoids a lot of work.
Again, the best advice is to keep the soil damp but not sodden.
When And How To Harvest Kohlrabi
To harvest your kohlrabi bulbs, simply pull them up when they are around 10cm in diameter.
You can also eat the leaves in salads or cooked like spinach.
Easy Ways To Eat Your Kohlrabi
Kohlrabi is so versatile and can be eaten in soups or stews, grated in salads and coleslaw and even steamed.
Give it a try and let us know how you grow your kohlrabi.