To grow kohlrabi often ends up in a small disappointment. It is not easy to grow the perfect kohlrabi from the get-go. You need to provide the right circumstances for the plant to grow a nice, delicious bulb, which you can then harvest.
On the other hand, you can do so. There is not really a secret around growing this delicious vegetable in your garden. In this article, we will outline the most important steps for you to be able to grow the perfect kohlrabi.
Choose the right time: Spring or fall crop?
Kohlrabi grows best in colder conditions with temperatures around 65°F and 75 °F. You can plant in spring or in the fall, but if you want a really big kohlrabi, you should go with a fall crop. Giant kohlrabi takes about two months to mature. So, if you plant the seeds end of July your harvest will be ready in the fall.
Prepare the soil to grow your kohlrabi in
Kohlrabi prefers a loamy soil. But still, the ground should be well-drained and with high organic matter.
You need to consider that kohlrabi is a heavy feeder. You should prepare your soil with enough nutrients before you plant. So, in the springtime, way before you start to plant, you should add manure and compost to your garden bed. The manure should be well rotten. If you add enough material, you won’t need to add more fertilizer. A good amount of compost and manure should be enough. But once the main growing period begins, you should fertilize the plants again.
To play it safe, you should have your soil tested before. See, what ingredients are missing. This way you can add phosphorus or potassium according to the test results.
When it comes to sunlight, kohlrabi loves the sun. Choose a spot where it is exposed to full sun for your plants to grow.
Plant the kohlrabi seeds
When you plant your kohlrabi in rows, you should space the seeds seven inches apart. The rows should be 11 inches apart. Plant the seeds half an inch into the ground. To ensure that a plant will grow in every slot, you should place four to five seeds in one slot. Sometimes seeds do not germinate. If you have four seeds in one spot, you can be pretty sure a plant will grow. If more than one seed germinates, you can choose the stronger-looking plant. With this method, you can grow the best seeds and not rely on the quality of a single seed.
Protect your kohlrabi plants when they grow
Keep care of your little seedlings. Heat and drought threaten them. So you need to ensure to water those little plants regularly as needed. Another thread is heavy winds and insects. You can use a row cover to protect your plants in the first weeks. But you must be careful of the material you choose as a cover. In case you choose a black and heavy material, it will get very hot underneath and you need to avoid that. You can use a floating row cover, which is a lightweight, woven fabric. While moisture and sunlight can easily pass through, insects will have a much harder time doing so.
Water your kohlrabi during the growth period
You want your kohlrabi not only to be huge but also delicious. Your plants will get that juicy sweet taste with the right amount of watering. Drought is something, you want to avoid when it comes to growing kohlrabi, otherwise, your harvest will start to taste bitter.
One inch of rain per week is a good rule of thumb. So, if it rains less, you need to take care of your plants to get enough water. But you need to take your soil into consideration. Check how deep the soil is watered. You want moist soil. If the water reaches only one or two inches deep, keep on watering.
Harvest your kohlrabi
Three inches is a very good size for a kohlrabi bulb. Once the bulb is that big, it is time you pull your plant. Sure, you could let it grow even bigger, but that usually comes at the cost of its flavor. After all, why harvest giant bulbs that do not taste as delicious as they could? If you really can’t get enough and you want a giant delicious crop, you need to pick the right variety. Kossak is known for producing huge and delicious bulbs. They need more or less 45 days to maturity and can grow to a diameter of eight inches! Superschmelz (also known as “Giant White”) would be another variety of your liking. They are truly gigantic. They can grow up to 10 inches and weigh up to 10 pounds each! Still, their taste remains tender and despite their huge size, they won’t become woody as quickly as other varieties do. A good overview of different kohlrabi varieties can be found at gardenerspath.com.
So, with the right variety, well-prepared soil at a sunny spot, and the right protective measurements and watering, growing the perfect kohlrabi is really no magic. And you see; overall, it is not too much effort either!