How to Grow Kohlrabi

Learn how to grow kohlrabi, a great addition to any fall vegetable garden. Kohlrabi is easy to grow and fast to mature, which makes it a great choice for fall or early spring planting.

| August/September 2007

German for “cabbage turnip,” kohlrabi is a member of the extensive cabbage family.

German for “cabbage turnip,” kohlrabi is a member of the extensive cabbage family.

Photo by William D. Adams

You can learn how to grow kohlrabi with these helpful planting tips. Cabbage’s ‘crazy cousin’ kohlrabi is a fun, tasty addition to your fall vegetable garden.

Kohlrabi Recipes

Kohlrabi Kohl Slaw Recipe
Kohlrabi Fries Recipe

How to Grow Kohlrabi

It’s a root, it’s a tuber — no, it’s a super stem! So what exactly is this strange round vegetable with leafy projections? Though sometimes called “space cabbage,” kohlrabi really is a very down-to-earth veggie. German for “cabbage turnip,” kohlrabi is a member of the extensive cabbage family (which also includes broccoli, cauliflower, kale and mustard) and offers the same awesome health benefits as these cole crop cousins. Yet kohlrabi is easier to grow than its relatives, and fast to mature, making it ideal for fall or early spring planting.

Compared to the rest of the cabbage family, kohlrabi is thought to have been developed fairly recently — the 16th century — in central or northern Europe from a thick-stemmed plant known as “marrow cabbage.” The modern kohlrabi is actually an enlarged stem that develops into a bulb just above the soil.

The round bulbs can be steamed, stuffed or stir-fried; added to soups; or sliced and baked. Raw kohlrabi “chips” are crisp, sweet and mildly tangy, making them sensational with vegetable dips, or in salads and slaws. And don’t forget the greens: They make tasty, nutritious additions to salads and stir-fries.

Adventurous gardeners and cooks who try kohlrabi become fast fans, singing the praises of this unique, easy-to-grow veggie. Here’s how to bring out the best in this cool crop.

carmen ortiz
11/16/2007 6:05:05 PM

I had never heard of Kohlrabi until this year. I started seeds in early spring and decided to see how long they would last in the ground. I still have some 7 months later and they still taste great. I had read they would get woody but that's not my experience. They made it through drought and a hot summer here in Minnesota. I planted purple Kohlrabi.

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