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Growing kohlrabi in home gardens

Quick facts

  • Direct seed kohlrabi in the garden from mid-April until early May, and again later in July.
  • Avoid planting kohlrabi where you have grown related crops—broccoli, cauliflower, collards, kale, turnip, rutabaga, cabbage, mustard, bok choy, Brussels sprouts—during the previous four years.
  • The best quality kohlrabi is sweet, crisp and juicy.
  • Fast growth without heat or moisture stress results in a good crop.
  • Harvest kohlrabi when the bulb is two to three inches in width. If the bulb gets too large, it will become tough, woody and bitter.

An odd-looking garden plant 

Harvested purple kohlrabi with green leaves coming out of its purple stems

Kohlrabi (Brassica oleracea var. gongylodes) is an odd-looking garden plant. It has a bulbous, enlarged stem just above the soil surface, topped with upright thick leaves.

In the kitchen, you can serve kohlrabi raw as part of a raw vegetable platter, sliced into a salad or grated into a slaw. You can also slice and use it in stir-fries or sautés. Delicious kohlrabi is crunchy, juicy, and has a mild, sweet, “cabbage” flavor. Once harvested, the leaves are also tasty. You can use the leaves as cooking greens.

The same species as cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, turnip and kale, kohlrabi has many of the same gardening needs. It does best in cool weather, between 65°F and 75 °F, and when planted in fertile, moisture-retentive soil.

Soil pH and fertility




How to keep your kohlrabi plants healthy and productive


Jill MacKenzie

Reviewed in 2018

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