One of the joys of growing your own vegetables is finding unusual varieties to grow, and kohlrabi is an excellent example of this. Kohlrabi is more commonly found as a green vegetable, but there are also reddish purple varieties, although both types have white flesh inside. Kohlrabi is grown for its strangely shaped bulbous stem that swells just above ground level. The vegetable can be used in coleslaw to add a mild nutty turnip flavour, grated in salads, and cooked in stir fries.
Kohlrabi is relatively easy to grow and can cope with dry conditions, although it will perform better if the soil is kept moist, especially when the bulb starts to swell. It also has the merit of growing relatively fast, ready for picking 10 to 12 weeks after germination. For the best flavour and texture kohlrabi is best eaten young, somewhere between the size of a golf ball and a tennis ball, and when the leaves are still vibrant green and upright.
Kohlrabi seed can be sown directly in soil from March onwards, and should be sown successionally every fortnight for a sustained harvest through the summer months. To allow the leaves to spread during growth, the seedlings are thinned to 15 centimetres or 6 inches apart.