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Connecticut Garden Journal
Connecticut Garden Journal is a weekly program hosted by horticulturalist Charlie Nardozzi. Each week, Charlie focuses on a topic relevant to both new and experienced gardeners, including pruning lilac bushes, growing blight-free tomatoes, groundcovers, sunflowers, bulbs, pests, and more.

Connecticut Garden Journal: Growing Kohlrabi


My kohlrabi transplants are looking great under my grow lights. Kohlrabi, you say? What's that?

That's the response I often get when I tell people I'm growing kohlrabi. Kohlrabi is a broccoli-family veggie that looks really weird. It grows up about 1 foot tall, like a broccoli transplant, and produces a swollen, ball-sized modified stem at the base of the plant. That's what you eat! I love this vegetable because it grows fast and easily, especially during cool spring or fall weather. There are colorful varieties, too. 'Terek', 'Purple Vienna' and 'Beas' have green, purple or white colored skin. Regardless of the skin color, the flesh is always white, juicy and delicious. We eat kohlrabi raw in dips, shredded in salads and roasted with other veggies. It has a slight cabbage/broccoli flavor, but sweeter tasting.

Start kohlrabi from seed indoors the same time you'd start broccoli. Grow them 4 to 6 weeks then transplant into the garden into compost-amended, well drained soil. Watch for flea beetles, since they love attacking the seedlings. Either dust with diatomaceous Earth or plant a trap crops of radishes a week before planting the kohlrabi, to draw the flea beetles away.

Harvest when the stems are the size of a small baseball. Don't let them get too big or the texture will be woody. The exception is the variety, 'Kossak', which can grow to 10 pounds, is good for storage in fall and still won't be woody inside. To harvest cut the whole plant off at the soil line, and have a plan for a succession crop to plant afterward such as bush beans.

Charlie Nardozzi is a regional Emmy® Award winning garden writer, speaker, radio, and television personality. He has worked for more than 30 years bringing expert information to home gardeners.

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