How To Grow Kohlrabi in Australia
- Preparing for Kohlrabi Cultivation
- Choosing the Right Variety
- Selecting the Right Location
- Preparing the Soil
- Planting Kohlrabi Seeds
- Sowing Kohlrabi Seeds
- Proper Spacing and Depth
- Watering and Care
- Caring for Kohlrabi Plants
- Providing Adequate Sunlight
- Watering and Moisture Requirements
- Fertilising Kohlrabi Plants
- Harvesting and Storing Kohlrabi
- Signs of Readiness for Harvest
- Proper Harvesting Techniques
- Storing Kohlrabi for Extended Use
- Troubleshooting Common Kohlrabi Growing Issues
- Pests and Diseases
- Nutrient Deficiencies
- Common Growing Problems and Solutions
When to Plant Kohlrabi in Australia
Best planting months for Kohlrabi in the Tropical regions are March to August. This includes areas like Cairns, Darwin, and Broome.
For the Subtropical region, kohlrabi can be planted from March to August. Cities in the Subtropical region include Brisbane, Central Coast, and Sydney.
Kohlrabi can be planted January to April and July to December in the Temperate regions of Australia. Cities in the Temperate region include Melbourne, Adelaide, Geelong, and Perth.
For the Cool region, kohlrabi can be planted from January to April and August to December. Cities in the Cool region include alpine regions of Victoria and Tasmania.
Best planting months for kohlrabi in the Arid region is February to June.
Preparing for Kohlrabi Cultivation
Before diving into the exciting process of growing kohlrabi in Australian soils, it's important to properly prepare for cultivation. This involves choosing the right variety, selecting the right location, and preparing the soil to create optimal conditions for your kohlrabi plants to thrive.
Choosing the Right Variety
Kohlrabi comes in different varieties, each with its own unique characteristics. When selecting a variety, consider factors such as maturity time, size, and flavour. Some popular kohlrabi varieties suitable for Australian conditions include:
Early White Vienna
Small to medium-sized
Mild and sweet
Mild and sweet with a hint of spiciness
Mild and slightly nutty
Sweet and crisp
By choosing the right variety, you can tailor your kohlrabi cultivation experience to suit your preferences and gardening goals.
Selecting the Right Location
Kohlrabi plants thrive in cool weather conditions, making them well-suited for growing in Australian climates. When selecting a location for your kohlrabi garden, choose an area that receives full sun or partial shade. Aim for at least 4-6 hours of direct sunlight each day to ensure optimal growth and development.
Additionally, consider the soil drainage of the chosen location. Kohlrabi prefers well-draining soil to prevent waterlogging, which can lead to root rot. If your soil tends to be heavy or poorly draining, consider improving it by incorporating organic matter such as compost or well-rotted manure.
Preparing the Soil
Preparing the soil is a crucial step in successful kohlrabi cultivation. Start by clearing the area of weeds and any debris that may hinder the growth of your plants. This allows your kohlrabi to have the necessary space and resources to flourish.
Next, loosen the soil to a depth of around 12 inches (30 cm) using a garden fork or tiller. This promotes root penetration and allows for better nutrient absorption. While kohlrabi is relatively tolerant of different soil types, it prefers a slightly acidic to neutral pH level between 6.0 and 7.0.
To improve the soil's fertility and structure, incorporate organic matter such as compost or well-rotted manure. This enhances nutrient availability and moisture retention, supporting healthy plant growth. Consider conducting a soil test to assess the nutrient levels and pH of your soil, making any necessary amendments accordingly.
By choosing the right variety, selecting an appropriate location, and preparing the soil adequately, you set the stage for a successful kohlrabi cultivation journey. In the next section, we will delve into the process of planting kohlrabi seeds and provide valuable insights on proper spacing, watering, and care for your kohlrabi plants.
Planting Kohlrabi Seeds
Now that we've covered the preparations for kohlrabi cultivation, it's time to move on to the exciting part – planting the kohlrabi seeds. This section will guide you through the process of sowing kohlrabi seeds, ensuring proper spacing and depth, and providing the necessary watering and care.
Sowing Kohlrabi Seeds
To start growing kohlrabi, you'll need high-quality kohlrabi seeds. Choose a variety that suits your preferences and growing conditions. If you're unsure about which variety to choose, consult our article on how to grow cauliflower in Australia for some helpful tips on selecting the right varieties.
Prepare the soil by removing any weeds or debris and ensuring it is well-drained. Create furrows or shallow trenches in the soil, approximately 1/4 to 1/2 inch deep. Place the kohlrabi seeds in the furrows, spacing them according to the recommended guidelines provided on the seed packet. It's important to leave enough room for the kohlrabi plants to grow and develop without overcrowding.
Proper Spacing and Depth
Proper spacing is vital to ensure healthy growth and prevent overcrowding. The spacing requirements for kohlrabi can vary depending on the variety you're growing. As a general rule, space the seeds or seedlings approximately 6 to 8 inches apart. This spacing allows enough room for the kohlrabi plants to develop robust leaves and bulbs. For more information on proper spacing and depth, consult our articles on how to grow mustard greens in Australia and how to grow pak choy in Australia, which provide similar guidelines for other leafy greens.
Cover the kohlrabi seeds with soil, gently pressing it down to ensure good seed-to-soil contact. Avoid burying the seeds too deep, as they require light to germinate successfully. Water the area gently to provide moisture for the seeds to germinate.
Watering and Care
After sowing the kohlrabi seeds, it's crucial to provide consistent moisture to support germination and early growth. Keep the soil consistently moist but not waterlogged. Aim to provide around 1 inch of water per week, either through rainfall or irrigation.
As the kohlrabi plants start to grow, it's important to monitor their progress and provide care accordingly. Regularly inspect the plants for any signs of pests or diseases. Consult our article on how to grow collards in Australia for guidance on identifying and treating common pests and diseases that may affect leafy greens.
Maintain a consistent watering schedule, ensuring the soil remains moist but not saturated. It's equally important to provide adequate sunlight for the kohlrabi plants to thrive. Aim for at least 6 hours of direct sunlight daily. If you're growing kohlrabi during the hotter months, some light shading during the hottest part of the day may be beneficial.
With proper sowing techniques, spacing, and care, your kohlrabi seeds will sprout, and the plants will flourish. Stay attentive to their needs, and soon you'll be rewarded with a bountiful harvest. In the next section, we'll cover the important steps involved in caring for kohlrabi plants as they continue to grow.
Caring for Kohlrabi Plants
Once you have successfully planted your kohlrabi seeds, it's important to provide proper care to ensure healthy growth and a bountiful harvest. This section will cover three essential aspects of caring for kohlrabi plants: providing adequate sunlight, watering and moisture requirements, and fertilising kohlrabi plants.
Providing Adequate Sunlight
Kohlrabi plants thrive in full sunlight, which typically means at least six hours of direct sunlight per day. Find a location in your garden that receives ample sunlight and has good air circulation. If your garden has limited sunlight, consider using reflective materials to maximise the amount of sunlight reaching your kohlrabi plants.
Watering and Moisture Requirements
Kohlrabi plants require consistent moisture to grow and develop properly. Keep the soil evenly moist, but be cautious of overwatering, as this can lead to root rot and other diseases. Water your kohlrabi plants deeply, ensuring that the water reaches the root zone. It's better to water deeply and less frequently rather than shallowly and frequently. Check the soil moisture regularly by inserting your finger into the soil. If it feels dry about an inch below the surface, it's time to water.
During dry periods, it may be necessary to increase the frequency of watering. Mulching around the plants can help retain moisture and prevent weed growth. Apply a layer of organic mulch, such as straw or wood chips, around the base of the plants, leaving a small space around the stems to prevent rot.
Fertilising Kohlrabi Plants
To promote healthy growth and maximize yields, it's important to provide adequate nutrients to your kohlrabi plants. Before planting, incorporate well-rotted compost or aged manure into the soil to improve its fertility. This will provide a good base of organic matter and nutrients for your plants.
During the growing season, you can further support the growth of your kohlrabi plants by applying a balanced organic fertiliser. Look for a fertiliser with a ratio of 10-10-10 or similar, which indicates equal proportions of nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), and potassium (K). Follow the manufacturer's instructions for application rates and frequency.
Avoid over-fertilizing, as this can lead to excessive leaf growth at the expense of bulb development. It's important to strike a balance and provide your kohlrabi plants with the nutrients they need without overwhelming them.
By following these care guidelines, you can ensure that your kohlrabi plants receive the necessary sunlight, water, and nutrients for healthy growth. Remember to check for any signs of pests or diseases and address them promptly. With proper care, you'll soon be able to enjoy the delicious and nutritious kohlrabi from your own garden. For more information on growing vegetables and herbs in Australia, check out our other articles on how to grow cauliflower in Australia, how to grow mustard greens in Australia, and how to grow pak choy in Australia.
Harvesting and Storing Kohlrabi
After patiently nurturing your kohlrabi plants, it's time to reap the rewards of your hard work. Harvesting and properly storing kohlrabi ensures that you can enjoy this nutritious vegetable for an extended period. Let's explore the signs of readiness for harvest, proper harvesting techniques, and methods for storing kohlrabi to maximise its freshness.
Signs of Readiness for Harvest
Kohlrabi is typically ready for harvest around 50 to 60 days after planting, depending on the variety and growing conditions. It's important to keep an eye on the size of the swollen stem, which is the edible part of the plant. The ideal kohlrabi size for harvest is around 7.5 to 10 centimeters (3 to 4 inches) in diameter. Harvesting kohlrabi while it is still young and tender ensures the best flavor and texture.
Additionally, pay attention to the color and texture of the skin. A vibrant, smooth skin indicates that the kohlrabi is ready for harvest. If the skin becomes woody or starts to crack, it is a sign that the kohlrabi has become overmature and may lose its sweet taste.
Proper Harvesting Techniques
To harvest kohlrabi, gently loosen the soil around the base of the plant using a garden fork or trowel. The swollen stem should be just above the ground level. Grasp the stem firmly and pull it out of the ground with a quick, upward motion. If necessary, you can use a knife or pruners to cut the stem close to the base, taking care not to damage the plant or surrounding roots.
It's important to harvest kohlrabi in a timely manner to prevent it from becoming tough and fibrous. If you notice any signs of overmaturity, it's better to remove those plants from the garden to make space for new growth.
Storing Kohlrabi for Extended Use
To maximize the freshness and shelf life of harvested kohlrabi, proper storage is essential. Here are a few methods you can use:
- Refrigeration: Kohlrabi can be stored in the refrigerator for up to two weeks. Remove the leaves and trim the stems to about an inch. Place the kohlrabi in a perforated plastic bag and store it in the vegetable crisper drawer.
- Root Cellar: If you have access to a root cellar or cool, dark storage area, you can store kohlrabi for a longer period. Remove the leaves and trim the stems, leaving about an inch. Place the kohlrabi in a container filled with moist sand or sawdust, ensuring that the roots are covered.
- Freezing: Kohlrabi can also be blanched and frozen for long-term storage. Peel and cut the kohlrabi into small pieces, blanch them in boiling water for 2 to 3 minutes, then transfer them to an ice bath to cool. Drain the kohlrabi and pack them into airtight containers or freezer bags. Label them with the date and store them in the freezer for up to 10 months.
By harvesting kohlrabi at the right time and properly storing it, you can enjoy the fresh taste and nutritional benefits of this versatile vegetable throughout the year. Remember, the key to successful storage is to minimize moisture loss and maintain a cool, controlled environment.
Troubleshooting Common Kohlrabi Growing Issues
As organic gardeners, we know that even with careful cultivation, issues can arise when growing kohlrabi. Being aware of common problems and their solutions can help us overcome challenges and ensure a successful harvest. In this section, we will explore three common kohlrabi growing issues: pests and diseases, nutrient deficiencies, and common growing problems.
Pests and Diseases
Kohlrabi can be susceptible to various pests and diseases that can hinder its growth. Common pests include aphids, cabbage worms, and flea beetles. These pests can cause damage to the leaves and affect the overall health of the plant.
To tackle pest issues, it's important to monitor your plants regularly. If you notice signs of infestation, such as holes in the leaves or the presence of insects, you can employ organic pest control methods. For example, introducing ladybugs or lacewings to your garden can help control aphid populations. Additionally, practising crop rotation and maintaining proper garden hygiene can help prevent the build-up of pests and diseases.
Nutrient deficiencies can manifest in kohlrabi plants, impacting their growth and development. Common deficiencies include nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. These nutrients are essential for healthy plant growth and overall productivity.
To address nutrient deficiencies, it's important to ensure that your soil is well-balanced and enriched with organic matter. Conducting a soil test can help identify any deficiencies and guide you in applying suitable organic fertilisers. For example, adding compost or well-rotted manure can help replenish nutrients in the soil. Additionally, foliar sprays containing organic amendments can be used to provide a quick boost of nutrients directly to the plants.
Common Growing Problems and Solutions
Apart from pests, diseases, and nutrient deficiencies, kohlrabi plants may face other growing problems that can impact their health and productivity. Some common issues include leggy growth, bolting, and poor root development.
To prevent leggy growth, ensure that your kohlrabi plants receive adequate sunlight and are not overcrowded. Providing proper spacing between plants allows for sufficient air circulation and prevents competition for resources.
Bolting, or premature flowering, can occur when kohlrabi plants are exposed to sudden temperature changes or extended periods of high temperatures. To prevent bolting, choose kohlrabi varieties that are known for their heat tolerance and provide shade or use shade cloth during hot summer months.
Poor root development can be caused by compacted soil or inadequate watering practices. It's important to prepare the soil properly before planting by loosening it and incorporating organic matter. Additionally, ensure that your kohlrabi plants receive consistent moisture, avoiding both overwatering and underwatering.
By staying vigilant and addressing these common growing issues promptly, you can ensure the health and productivity of your kohlrabi plants.