How To Grow Kohlrabi

This mild, cabbage-like veggie is great for salads and stir-fry.

March 11, 2016
Kohlrabi on a table
Maria Savenko/Shutterstock

Kohlrabi looks like a turnip growing above-ground. It’s a member of the diverse Brassica Family Vegetables, so it’s no surprise that the edible white, green, or purple “bulbs” (which are actually swollen stems) have something of a cabbage-turnip taste. But this vegetable is both milder and sweeter.

Kohlrabi grows in loose, average soil. For a spring crop, direct-sow seeds 4 to 6 weeks before the last average frost; plant ¼ inch deep, 10 seeds per foot. Or start seedlings for a fall crop indoors 6 to 8 weeks before the last average frost. When seedlings are around 4 inches tall, thin plants to (or set out transplants at) 5 inches apart in rows 1 foot apart. 
Keep plants well watered and free of weeds; put down a mulch to help accomplish both tasks. Cultivate carefully to keep from damaging the delicate, shallow roots. 
Like what you're reading? Sign up for Today’s Organic Life newsletter for must-have tips sent to your inbox.
See the Cabbage Growing Guide for insect and disease controls.
Use young leaves in salads and stir-fries. Harvest immature “bulbs” when they are no more than 2 inches in diameter, cutting the stems 1 inch below the swollen stem. Remove the leaf stems and leaves, and use the remaining stem as you would turnips. Kohlrabi will keep for several weeks in the refrigerator and for several months in a cold, moist, root cellar