Kohlrabi, often referred to as the “German turnip” or the “cabbage turnip,” is a unique and versatile vegetable known for its bulbous stem and mild, slightly sweet flavor. If you’re considering adding kohlrabi to your garden, it’s essential to understand its growth timeline to ensure a successful harvest. In this detailed blog post, we will explore how long it takes to grow and harvest this intriguing vegetable.
Understanding Kohlrabi Growth
Germination and Early Growth
Kohlrabi (Brassica oleracea var. gongylodes) is known for its relatively quick growth compared to many other vegetables. The process begins with the germination of kohlrabi seeds. Under ideal conditions, kohlrabi seeds typically germinate within 3 to 10 days after planting. This rapid germination is a promising start for gardeners looking for a fast-growing addition to their gardens.
During the early stages of growth, kohlrabi forms a rosette of broad, cabbage-like leaves. These leaves perform photosynthesis, providing energy to support the development of the edible part of the plant—the bulbous stem.
Bulb Formation and Maturation
The key feature of kohlrabi is its enlarged stem, which resembles a turnip or radish. As the plant continues to grow, this stem swells and forms the kohlrabi bulb. The exact time it takes for the kohlrabi bulb to mature can vary based on several factors, including the specific variety you are growing, weather conditions, and cultural practices.
On average, kohlrabi bulbs are ready for harvest in approximately 6 to 8 weeks after sowing the seeds. However, this timeline is a rough estimate, and it’s crucial to monitor your kohlrabi plants closely to determine when they are at their peak for harvesting.
Harvesting kohlrabi at the right time is crucial for the best taste and texture. The ideal size for harvesting kohlrabi bulbs is when they reach a diameter of 2 to 3 inches. At this size, they are tender, flavorful, and have a crisp texture. Larger kohlrabi bulbs may become woody and lose some of their quality.
To harvest kohlrabi, simply use a knife or garden shears to cut the stem just above ground level. Be gentle to avoid damaging the bulb. Once harvested, kohlrabi can be stored in the refrigerator for a few weeks, but it is at its freshest and tastiest when consumed soon after harvesting.
Factors Affecting Kohlrabi Growth
Several factors can influence the growth rate and timing of kohlrabi:
1. Temperature: Kohlrabi prefers cooler temperatures and may grow more slowly in extreme heat.
2. Soil Quality: Well-draining, fertile soil enriched with organic matter can promote faster growth.
3. Watering: Consistent moisture is essential for kohlrabi growth, so be sure to provide adequate watering.
4. Variety: Different kohlrabi varieties may have slightly different growth rates, so consult the seed packet or variety information for specific details.
In conclusion, kohlrabi is a relatively fast-growing vegetable, ready for harvest in as little as 6 to 8 weeks after planting. Understanding the growth timeline and monitoring the size of the bulb is essential for harvesting kohlrabi at its peak flavor and texture. With the right care and attention, you can enjoy this unique and delicious vegetable in your culinary creations and salads, making it a rewarding addition to your garden.