One of the oddest looking vegetables you can grow is Kohlrabi!

The name comes from the German w

ord for cabbage, kohl; combined with the Swiss-German word for turnip, rabi. Kohlrabi is a very commonly eaten vegetable in Germany. It was developed in Northern Europe around 500 years ago. You usually eat the bulbous bottom but the entire kohlrabi plant is actually edible. The taste and texture of Kohlrabi are similar to those of a broccoli stem or cabbage heart, but milder and sweeter, with a higher ratio of flesh to skin. The younger stem in particular can be as crisp and juicy as an apple, although much less sweet.

It can be enjoyed crisp and raw, steamed, stir-fried or added to soups and stews. And even the leaves are edible - you cook them as you would kale.

Kohlrabi is rich in vitamin C. It contains useful amounts of B-complex vitamins, as well as folate, and minerals including calcium, copper, potassium, iron and phosphorus. Like its cousin broccoli, it contains phyto-nutrients that protect against cancer, making it well worth a place on the menu and in the vegetable garden. Kohlrabi grows best in full sun, in fertile well-drained soil. Seeds can be sown directly into a garden bed or started in seed trays, and seedlings should be spaced around 20cm apart.

Being a shallow rooted plant it needs to be watered regularly in dry weather or the stem becomes too tough and woody to eat.

The best advice about harvesting kohlrabi is not to wait too long. Most varieties are ready for harvesting just 8 to 12 weeks from planting and are the most tender and flavourful when the bulbs are 5 to 7 cm in diameter. Autumn crops that ripen in cool weather don't get woody as easily and can be picked a little larger, up 12 cm. It can be grown almost all year round throughout NZ, just avoid the hottest and the coldest months of the year

We stock 3 different varieties:

Kohlrabi Early Purple Vienna is an heirloom variety that is slow to bolt and grows well both in summer and autumn.

Kohlrabi Grand Duke F1 is a hybrid, early green skinned variety with high quality bulbs weighing 500-550 grams when harvest 60 days after sowing. Best grown late summer through to late spring.

Kohlrabi Azur Star is in our organic section and it’s an early Kohlrabi with purple skin and slightly flat bulb. Sow or transplant 10 cm apart. Best harvest at 5-7 cm diameter.


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