You have probably seen this odd-looking veg at the farmer’s market or grocery store. Kohlrabi kinda looks like a turnip grown on another planet. An alien turnip, if you will.

It is very unique looking, to say the least.

In fact, that is one of the reasons why you should grow it on your market farm. Kohlrabi is quite the conversation starter at the farmer’s market.

The good thing is that although it looks weird, it is nutritious and tasty!

You may have to educate your customers on just what the heck Kolhrabi is and give out some samples so they can taste it for themselves, but after you have laid the groundwork, your customers are likely to give it a try.

We will be learning how to grow kohlrabi from expert market farmers JM Fortier (the market gardener) and Pam Dawling (Sustainable Market Farming).

Why You Should Grow Kohlrabi

Here are just a few reasons why you may want to grow a crop or two of kohlrabi this year:

  • It’s fast-growing, ready to harvest a few weeks after transplanting
  • Can be planted very densely
  • Easy to weed
  • Easy to grow
  • Conversation starter


Here are a few varieties you may want to try:

  • Vienna
  • Superchmelz
  • Korridor
  • Kolibri
  • Kossak

Crop Requirements

Because kohlrabi is a cool-loving veg, it is typically grown in the spring and fall seasons.

The summer is typically skipped as a hot and dry season can affect the bulb, causing it to become woody or spicy like a radish.

JM and team sow their first planting in April and after transplanting, keep the transplants under row cover until daytime temps reach 75°F (23°C).

They plant 3 rows, 10” apart, spaced every 8”.

For fall harvest, Pam and team transplant Vienna kohlrabi in late July/ early August from sowings made in early July.

Similar to JM, they are planted 8” apart in the row, with 9-10” between rows. This ends up being 4 rows in a 48” wide bed.

Later sowings would also work for the fast-maturing varieties.

Supershmelz kohlrabi can also be summer-sown for fall harvest.

It produces 8-10” bulbs, which remain tender and an attractive globe shape.

Pests and Diseases

Flea beetles can be a threat to the kohlrabi in the spring, so a rowcover can be used to protect the crop.

It is also susceptible to attack by the Swede midge. Insect netting is a good defense against this pest.

Pro Tip: If you plan your beds so that kohlrabi is being grown next to broccoli or cauliflower, you can share the insect net between the two crops. 


JM harvests kohlrabi when the bulb is two to three inches and diameter and sells it with its leaves (which are edible) in bunches of three.


For longer storage, remove the tops and place them in the cold room in sealed bins.

They should easily keep for a few months this way.

Bottom Line

Kohlrabi is a pretty unique vegetable that may not be the most popular, but could definitely draw some new people over to your farmers market stand.

It’s easy to grow and relatively fast-growing, so it might be a fun experiment to try if you have not grown it before.

While we are not planning on planting kohlrabi this year, I am very interested in it and just might add it in for a fall harvest, depending on how our season goes.

Do you grow or eat kohlrabi? Let us know in the comments below.

Stay Local,

Kathy & Jon

your friendly neighbourhood growers



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