Growing Kohlrabi From Seeds – in Containers, Indoors

Growing Kohlrabi from Seeds in Containers

Kohlrabi is a member of the cabbage family. Kohlrabi is also called a German turnip, is a biennial plant. It has a crisp texture and a turnip-like flavor that is both mild and sweet. Kohlrabi has a bulbous, enlarged stem just above the soil surface, topped with upright thick leaves. It is a cool-season annual crop that is related to broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, and Brussels sprouts. The Kohlrabi plant is a nutritious vegetable to add to the garden. Starting Kohlrabi from seeds is a simple procedure. Because it is a cool-season vegetable, Kohlrabi seed starting must take place in early spring or early fall. Wait to begin starting Kohlrabi from seeds until soil temperature levels are at least 7°C., although seeds will germinate if the soil temperatures are as low as 4°C. Let us get into the details of growing Kohlrabi from seeds in containers, indoors at home.

A step by step guide to growing Kohlrabi From Seeds

Different Types of Kohlrabi for Growing from Seeds in Containers

There are several varieties of Kohlrabi available in hybrid and heirloom forms, each with different characteristics such as flavor, color, size, and disease resistance. Some of the most popular Kohlrabi varieties are;

Early Purple Vienna – Maturing within 60 days, this heirloom purple color variety is a cold-hardy crop with dependable yields. Its violet skin will add vibrant color to the garden and its sweet, turnip-flavored flesh tastes delicious raw and cooked.

Early White Vienna – This pale green color Kohlrabi is a cool-weather crop but is also heat tolerant and maturing within 55 days. It has a mild turnip flavor when cooked or raw.

Grand Duke – This disease-resistant pale green color variety can produce two crops per season and thrives in many adverse weather environments. Grand Duke Kohlrabi is crisp, full of flavor, and matures in only 45 to 50 days despite having one of the largest Kohlrabi bulbs.

Kolibri – A bright purple hybrid variety, it is one of the best types of Kohlrabi for a late-season harvest that matures in 55 days. When eaten raw it has a crisp and juicy texture similar to an apple and a mild yet sweet cabbage flavor.

Green Kohlrabi plant varieties such as ‘Korridor’ (F1; 50 days) and ‘Winner’ (F1; 45 days) are fast growers that thrive in a wide range of climates. You can plant green and purple color Kohlrabi together to create a beautiful bed.

Purple Kohlrabi varieties like ‘Azur Star’ (58 days) and’ Kolibri’ (45 days) are very easy to grow than green Kohlrabi. Because cabbage worms and insects avoid the purple color leaves.

Storage Kohlrabi – Some Storage Kohlrabi varieties are ‘Kossak’ (F1; 80 days), ‘Gigante’ (up to 130 days), and ‘Superschmelz’ (60 to 80 days). When given wide spacing and regular water, these storage varieties produce large bulbs that are up to 10 inches across.

Location for Growing Kohlrabi from Seeds in Containers

Place this plant at a location where it can receive at least 6 hours of sunlight each day. For healthy and fast-growing plants, sunlight is important. Although, it can tolerate partial shade to some extent. You can also grow in the east-facing balcony or on your patio too.

Regardless of whether you are direct sowing seeds into a garden bed or growing Kohlrabi in containers, you will want to select a location that receives a minimum of 5 hours of sunlight.  Make sure you keep the soil moist at all times but not saturated, and feed Kohlrabi every other week with fish emulsion for best results. Space Kohlrabi plants out at least 18 inches. Most varieties of Kohlrabi can get large. The more space that you give them, the better chance the plants will have to grow.

Type of Soil Best for Growing Kohlrabi from Seeds in Containers

Loamy, well-draining soil that is rich in organic matter with a pH level of 5.5 to 6.8 is ideal. Further, you can amend the soil with the addition of well-rotted manure once or twice during the growing period.

Growing Kohlrabi plants in rich, well-drained soil high in organic matter and compost. Keep soil evenly moist throughout the season to keep it from becoming woody. Mulch soil to preserve moisture and prevent weeds. Although the Kohlrabi plant grows best in cool weather, it does need full sun for at least 6 hours. Select an area with enough sun. Plant Kohlrabi in a full sun location with a minimum of 6 hours of sun per day. A partial shade location is acceptable if you’re planting midsummer season for a fall crop, as the shade will help cool down your seedlings during the warmer summer temperatures.

Make sure you have the right soil type. The ideal soil pH for Kohlrabi is between 5.5 to 6.8, though slightly more alkaline soil helps prevent Kohlrabi from developing clubroot disease. Kohlrabi plants flourish in fertile and well-drained loamy soil that is rich with organic matter.

Seeds Sowing and Planting Tips for Growing Kohlrabi

  • Growing Kohlrabi from seed sown indoors or directly in the garden.
  • The seed is viable for 4 years.
  • Start Kohlrabi seeds in the garden about 8 to 4 weeks before you expect the last frost.
  • If growing Kohlrabi indoors and transplanted, allow 2 additional weeks to maturity as a result of root insult at transplanting.
  • Sow seed about ¼ to ½ (6-12 mm) inch deep and be sure to heel or stamp the soil firmly.
  • Sow seed about2 inches (5 cm) apart and later thin to 5 to 8 inches (13-20 cm) in all directions.
  • To improve the germination process sow seed at dusk or on a cool, cloudy day.
  • Sow seed in loose and fertile soil. Then, adding aged compost to planting beds in advance of seed sowing will feed the soil and moisture retention.
  • Kohlrabi seeds must germinate in 5 to 10 days at an optimal temperature level of 21°C; germination will take longer in colder soil.
  • The optimum soil temperature to grow Kohlrabi is 18°C. Make additional sowing at 3-week intervals for a continuous harvest, but time sowing so that plant does not mature in hot weather.
  • Kohlrabi plant prefers a soil pH range of 5.5 to 6.8.
  • Grow Kohlrabi in full sun for best yield and tolerates partial shade.
  • Fertilize the plant with an organic fertilizer such as fish emulsion at half strength.
  • Common pests in the Kohlrabi plant include aphids, flea beetles, and cabbage root maggots, cabbage worms, and cabbage loopers.

Plant Kohlrabi from Seed or Transplants

Step 1) When thinking about how to plant your Kohlrabi, you have a choice to start it outside or inside. If you start it inside, wait until the baby Kohlrabi plants are 4 to 6 weeks old before transplanting them into your prepared garden soil outside.

Step 2) To start Kohlrabi seeds indoors, start seeds 6 to 8 weeks before planting. Sow seeds ¼ inch deep and transplant in garden 6 to 8 inches apart. 

Step 3) To direct sow outdoors, sow seeds about 1 inch apart and ¼ inch deep. Thin plants to 6 to 8 inches apart when seedlings are 2-3 inches tall.

Step 4) If you buy transplants, look for healthy Kohlrabi plants with green leaves and uncrowded roots. Avoid buying overgrown plants or transplants with yellowed color leaves.

Step 5) Kohlrabi seeds are planted about 1/2 inch deep, 4 per square foot, in the full sun. Kohlrabi sprouts between 14-21 days with consistent moisture.

Step 6) First, fertilize your soil and then plant the Kohlrabi. You can have a continuous crop if you plant Kohlrabi every 2 to 3 weeks. Make sure to place the Kohlrabi seeds about ¼ to ½ inch deep into the soil and about 2 to 5 inches apart if planting seeds directly outside. When growing Kohlrabi plants, keep the soil well-watered or you’ll end up with tough, woody-stemmed plants.

Caring for Kohlrabi

Kohlrabi Plant Care
Kohlrabi Plant Care
  • Watering the plant regularly is important. Water about 1 to 1.5 inches per week if it doesn’t rain.
  • Kohlrabi plant needs lots of water. If the split striations on the bulb start to look dry, increase you’re watering.
  • When watering, water the soil around the base of each bulb; don’t water on top of the Kohlrabi plants, which can increase the possibility of rot.
  • To prevent the stem from turning tough and woody, then keep the soil evenly moist. Watering frequently in container growing plants becomes even more important as they dry out quickly. In any case, avoid overwatering.
  • Fertilize with a balanced fertilizer liquid fertilizer. The best time to feed the Kohlrabi plant is when they are 3-4 inches in height, about a month after sowing seed. Then, add blood meal, cottonseed meal, or composted manure to the soil before planting for enrichment.
  • Keep soil evenly moist for quick plant growth. Kohlrabi that goes without water will become woody. Then, prepare planting beds with aged compost and side-dress Kohlrabi with aged compost once a month. Otherwise, you can fee Kohlrabi once a month with a plant-starter fertilizer or a balanced organic fertilizer.
  • It doesn’t require additional fertilizers if you have prepared the soil perfectly by tilling and adding organic fertilizers.
  • Mulching mainly helps to retain moisture in the soil and keep the soil cool. And it helps to control weeds from your garden. Then, use a straw, hay, grass clippings, dry leaves, or homemade compost for mulching.
  • Weeds consume nutrients from the soil and will hamper the plant’s growth. So controlling them is important. You should remove the weeds from the garden while preparing the soil and also control additional weeds by hand.

Kohlrabi Plant Growing Problems

Cutworms, cabbage loopers, aphids, and imported cabbage worms can cause damage to the Kohlrabi plants. However, when growing Kohlrabi in containers, you don’t have to worry much about them. To keep the pest infestation in check, wash the plant with a diluted soap solution and get rid of egg clusters present under the plant leaves.

Spraying plant with Bacillus thuringiensis is a sure shot way to get rid of cabbage worms. For prevention from plant diseases such as cabbage yellows, and downy mildew, go for disease-resistant varieties.

Kohlrabi plants can be attacked by cutworms, cabbage loopers, and imported cabbage worms. Remove egg clusters from underneath leaves and carefully wash plants with a diluted soap solution. Cabbage worms can be mainly controlled by spraying with Bacillus thuringiensis. It is susceptible to cabbage yellows, clubroot, and downy mildew. Plant disease-resistant varieties. Remove and destroy infected plants.

Watch closely for cutworms – Kohlrabi is susceptible to cutworms, making it important that you stay on top of these pests as your plants mature. You’ll notice holes in the plant leaves and egg clusters on the underside of the leaves. If you find this, move swiftly. Wash plant leaves with egg clusters on them thoroughly, removing the eggs as you find them. You can use Bt if you’ve got a serious problem. Keep an eye out for rot, as well.

When and How to Harvest Kohlrabi

Kohlrabi plant is harvested between 40-60 days. The best time to harvest the Kohlrabi is when they are still young and tender. When the bulb is 2 to 3 inches in diameter you can start harvesting. Harvest plant leaves by simply cutting them off or the entire stem and bulb by cutting from the base of the plant. Once the Kohlrabi bulb is 4 to 6 inches, you can harvest it by cutting it from the base of the plant.

Kohlrabi can be continuously harvested until the stems are 2 to 3 inches in diameter. After that, the Kohlrabi plants will most likely be too old and tough. Start harvesting Kohlrabi when the first stem is 1 inch in diameter.

Note: The above-mentioned information may be used to grow Kohlrabi even in the backyard, terrace, and balcony.

Commonly Asked Questions about Growing Kohlrabi

You may also check Cucumber Seed Germination, Time, Period, Temperature.

Questions about Growing Kohlrabi
Questions about Growing Kohlrabi

Can Kohlrabi be grown in containers?

Kohlrabi plant is an excellent choice for container gardening. Just be sure to choose a large enough container and fill that container with a good potting soil mix that contains lots of nutrient-rich compost.

How long does it take to grow Kohlrabi?

Kohlrabi plant is a cool-weather crop. Sow Kohlrabi seed about 3 to 4 weeks before the last average frost date in spring. Kohlrabi plant requires 45 to 60 days to reach maturity and should be grown so that it comes to harvest before temperatures average greater than 24°C.

What size should Kohlrabi is harvested?

The ideal size to harvest Kohlrabi is when stems are about 2 inches across. Larger stems become tough and pithy, difficult to chew, and bitter tasting.

Does Kohlrabi need full sun?

Kohlrabi plant prefers rich, well-drained soil in full sun.

Why is my Kohlrabi not forming bulbs?

This can happen when Kohlrabi plants are spaced too closely together. It can come from poor growing conditions such as too warm or freezing temperatures, too little water, or a nutrient deficiency.

Is Kohlrabi a perennial?

Kohlrabi is a perennial plant, a cool-season vegetable, mostly grown as an annual for its edible stem.

What can you not plant with Kohlrabi?

Avoid planting near Kohlrabi are peppers, pole beans, strawberries, and tomatoes.

How do you know when the Kohlrabi plant is ready to harvest?

Kohlrabi plants are harvested between 60 and 65 days after planting.

In case if you are interested in this: Organic Farming of Medicinal Plants.

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