Kohlrabi is a hardy biennial grown as an annual and is a member of the cabbage clan. It has a swollen stem that makes it looks like a turnip growing on cabbage root. This swollen stem can be white, purple, or green, and is topped with a rosette of blue-green leaves. In German, kohl means cabbage and rabi means turnip a clue to the taste and texture of kohlrabi, though it is mild and sweeter than either of them.
Kohlrabi is a fair addition to the vegetables grown in northern Europe. In this countryside, nobody paid any attention until the 1800s. Kohlrabi is a biennial vegetable, a low, stout cultivar of wild cabbage. Kohlrabi is a similar species like cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, kale, Brussels sprouts, collard greens, Savoy cabbage, and gai lan.
Where and When to Grow?
All Cole crops are hardy and can tolerate low 20°F temperatures. Kohlrabi tolerates heat better than other members of the cabbage family, but planting should be timed for harvesting during cool weather. Kohlrabi has a shorter growing season than cabbage. It grows best in cool weather and produces better with a 10° to 15°F difference between Day and night temperatures.
Those areas which have cold winters, so, plant for summer to early fall harvest. The South plant to harvest in late fall or winter. With spring plantings, start kohlrabi early so that most growth will occur before the weather gets too hot.
How to Plant Kohlrabi?
Kohlrabi likes fertile, well-drained soil with a pH within the 6.5 to 7.5 range. This discourages disease and lets the plant make the most of the nutrients in the soil. The soil should be high in organic matter. When preparing the soil for planting, work in a complete, well-balanced fertilizer at the rate of one pound per 100 square feet or 10 pounds per 1,000 square feet.
Cole crops are generally grown from transplants except where they’re’s a long cool period. Kohlrabi, however, can be grown directly from seed in the garden. Sow seeds in rows 18 to 24 inches apart and cover them with a quarter to a half inch of soil. When the seedlings are growing well, thin them to five or six inches apart you can transplant the thinning. Kohlrabi to cultivate cautiously to keep away from harming the shallow roots
Fertilizing and Watering
Fertilize before planting and again at midseason, at the same rate as the rest of the garden. The Essential Soil for Kohlrabi should have even moisture or it will become woody. In spite of it’s general names, it is not the same species as a turnip.
Pests & Diseases
The cabbage family’s traditional enemies are cutworms and caterpillars. Cutworms, cabbage loopers, and imported Cabbage worms can all be controlled by spraying with bacillus thuringiensis, an organic product also known as Dipel or Thungicide. Also, cabbage family crops are susceptible to yellows, club root, and downy mildew.
Lessen the incidence of disease by planting disease-resistant varieties when they're available; maintaining the general health of you’re garden, and avoiding handling the plants when the wet. If a plant does become infected, remove and destroy it so it cannot spread the disease to healthy plants.
Storing and Preserving
Kohlrabi will store for one week in a refrigerator or for one to two months in a cold, moist place. Kohlrabi can also be frozen. Some varieties of Kohlrabi are grown as feed for cattle. In the second year, Kohlrabi blooms and develops seeds, and comes in three different colors: white, purple, and pale green.
Kohlrabi can be eaten raw or cooked. Edible preparations are made with both the stem and the leaves. Small, tender kohlrabi is deliciously steamed, without peeling. As they mature you can peel off the outer skin, dice them, and boil them in a little water. Kohlrabi can also be stuffed, like squash- Try young kohlrabi raw, chilled, and sliced; the flavor is mild and sweet, and the vegetable has a nice, crisp texture.
You can also cook kohlrabi, then cut it into strips and marinate the strips in an oil and vinegar dressing; chill this salad to serve with cold cuts. Cooked kohlrabi can be served just with seasoning and a little melted butter or mashed with butter and cream. For a slightly different flavor, cook it in bouillon instead of water. Also, the bulbous kohlrabi stem is often used raw in salad or slaws. It has a texture alike to that of a broccoli stem, but with a flavor that is sweeter and less vegetal.
Varieties of Kohlrabi
Many Kohlrabi varieties are usually available, including ‘White Vienna’, ‘Purple Vienna’, ‘Grand Duke’, ‘Gigante’, ‘Purple Danube’, and ‘White Danube’. The coloration of the purple types is superficial: the edible parts are all pale yellow. The leafy greens can also be eaten. One common variety grows without a swollen stem, having just leaves and a very thin stem, which is called Haakh. The Monj and Haakh are famous Kashmiri dishes made using this vegetable. Read More – Why You Need to Eat More Vegetables?