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Growing Kohl Rabi

How to grow kohl rabi in garden beds, containers  and allotments


Kohl Rabi

Family/Latin Name

Brassicaceae - Brassica oleracea var. gongylodes

Type of Plant

Brassica - Crop Rotation Group = Brassicas

Suitable for

Garden Beds, Containers, Allotments

Pests & Diseases    Companion Plants    In the Kitchen

See also:-  Vegetable Growing Glossary  |    Container Growing  | Buying Seeds & Plants


Plant Dimensions

Height up to 45cm/18"  - spread  up to 20cm/8"

Yield per plant
Yield per 1.5m/5ft row
1 globe
10 globes

Time between sowing and harvesting

8- 12 weeks

Where to Sow

Outdoors in open ground or in larger containers or troughs

Sowing time

Late March to July  -  temperature   +10C/50F. 

How to Sow

12mm/1/2-inch deep - very thinly -  in rows 30cm/12" apart or in groups/blocks or direct in large pots or troughs

After Germination

When the seedlings are 2.5cm/1" tall,  thin to 5-7.5cm/2-3" apart. Throw away the thinnings as these do not transplant well. Continue thinning in stages until the plants are 15cm/6" apart

Growing on - in Pots

Keep watered. The swollen stems mature above the ground so may need protection from birds. Feed from time to time if growth seems very slow.

Growing on -  in  open ground

As above. Also, hoe regularly to keep weeds down.


As above


Start pulling when the globes are between  the size of a golf ball and  tennis ball. Crops over 16-20 weeks. Pull every other plant to allow remaining globes to get bigger. The young leaves can also be harvested and cooked


Pests and Diseases

Companion Plants

Indications Leaves distorted, yellowing and stunted
Treatment Organic
Spray with a weak solution of soapy water
Use water through a hosepipe to knock the aphids off the plants
Spray with an insecticide containing Fenitrothion
Prevention None
Club Root (not common)
Indications Discoloured leaves which wilt in warm weather, swollen, solid galls on roots
Treatment None - lift and burn diseased plants
Prevention Organic
1. Lime plot where you intend growing brassicas
2. Do not grow brassicas in the same place for 2-3 years (crop rotation)
3. Make sure the site is well drained
Indications Holes in leaves or much of the leaf eaten away in severe cases
Treatment Organic
Inspect plants regularly and pick off eggs or caterpillars. The caterpillars like to lie right next to the veins of leaves, sometimes making them difficult to find
Spray with a pesticide containing Fenitrothion
Prevention 1. Try growing crops under a net which will prevent the butterflies/moths getting to the plant to lay their eggs
2. Pick off and destroy eggs as soon as you see them to prevent them from hatching
Cabbage Root Fly
Indications Stunted growth especially seedlings. Discoloured wilted leaves. Roots are black and rotted with maggot damage and tunnelling and white maggots present
Treatment Organic
Prevention 1. Place a 15cm/6" diameter collar around each plant stem as early as possible which will prevent the fly laying eggs on the soil near the plant.
2. Grow crops under a tent of fleece
3. Dispose of affected plants and practice crop rotation in future years


Companion Flower Graphic

Celery, Beetroot, Cucumber Onion, Shallots, Garlic, Chamomile, Spinach, Chard, Geraniums,   Rosemary, Nasturtium, Borage


If you know aphids are a problem in your area, grow flowers such as nasturtiums, calendula asters,  dahlias, and zinnias nearby but not too close,  as aphids find them attractive so they act as a lure.

Create a bio-diverse environment by planting flowers nearby to attract bees, ladybirds and other "friendlies".  To learn more about companion planting click here.

In the Kitchen

Storage: Cut off the leaves. Up to 10 days in the refrigerator or in a cool, dark,  dry and airy  place.

Preparing:  Remove any  protruding bits then peel quite thickly. Wash in cold water. Can be eaten raw or cooked.  The young leaves can also be harvested and cooked like spinach.



Slices or cubes =  30 - 40 minutes


Chunks, slices  or Cubes =  8-10 minutes


Batons, cubes or slices  =  8 - 10 minutes


Slices or Cubes - 10-15 minutes (900g/2lb)


Chunks, slices  or Cubes =  12 - 15 minutes


For more preparation and cooking information about Kohl Rabi plus lots of  recipes visit our sister site www.recipes4us.co.uk.

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