Kohlrabi is a type of vegetable that belongs to the brassica family, which includes broccoli and cabbage. Its name means “cabbage turnip” in German, and it resembles a turnip with a round, bulbous shape and pale green, purple, or white skin. The inside of kohlrabi is crisp and white, with a mildly sweet flavour that is similar to broccoli stems or jicama. Kohlrabi can be eaten raw or cooked and is commonly used in salads, soups, and stir-fries. It is a cool-season crop that grows best in early spring or late summer and can be harvested when the bulbs are about 2-3 inches in diameter.
How to Grow Kohlrabi Organically
- Soil preparation: Kohlrabi prefers well-draining soil that is rich in organic matter. Before planting, amend your soil with compost and aged manure. The soil pH should be between 6.0 and 7.5.
- Planting: Plant kohlrabi in the spring or fall, depending on your location. Seeds can be started indoors 4-6 weeks before the last expected frost, or sown directly in the garden after the danger of frost has passed. Sow seeds ¼ to ½ inch deep and 1 to 2 inches apart in rows that are 12 to 18 inches apart.
- Care: Kohlrabi requires consistent moisture, so make sure to water regularly. Mulching can help retain moisture and suppress weeds. Fertilize with a balanced organic fertilizer once or twice during the growing season.
- Harvesting: Kohlrabi bulbs can be harvested when they are 2-3 inches in diameter. Cut the stems at soil level and remove the leaves. Kohlrabi bulbs can be stored in a cool, dry place for several weeks.
- Pests and diseases: Kohlrabi can be attacked by cabbage worms, aphids, and flea beetles. Regularly inspect your plants and use organic methods to control pests. Fungal diseases such as powdery mildew can also affect kohlrabi, so make sure to provide good air circulation and avoid overhead watering.