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A Complete Guide to Growing Kohlrabi in Containers

Introduction

Kohlrabi is a cool-weather crop that belongs to the Brassica family. It has a mild flavor. You can eat raw or cook. While traditionally people grow kohlrabi in garden beds, it's also suitable for container gardening.

Choosing the Right Container

Container Size and Depth

Kohlrabi plants have shallow roots. However, they also need enough space for their bulbous stem to develop. A container with a depth of at least 8 inches is sufficient for most kohlrabi varieties.

Material Selection

The material of the container can also impact the growth and health of your kohlrabi plant. Plastic, ceramic and metal containers may not be the best choice for kohlrabi. Because they can retain too much moisture. Instead, opt for breathable materials like clay or wood.

Drainage Considerations

Kohlrabi plants do not do well in waterlogged soil. So proper drainage is crucial. Make sure your container has sufficient drainage holes at the bottom. This allows excess water to drain out. You can also add gravel or pebbles to the bottom of the container.

Selecting the Ideal Potting Mix

Customizing Potting Mix for Kohlrabi

While you can purchase pre-made potting mixes from gardening stores, it is best to customize the mix for kohlrabi. Kohlrabi is a root vegetable. They require well-draining soil with a pH 6.0-6.8. Equal parts of coconut coir, vermiculite and compost will ensure well-aerated and retains enough moisture for your plants.

Adding Organic Matter for Nutrient-Rich Soil

To provide your kohlrabi with essential nutrients, consider adding organic matter to your potting mix. This could include compost, aged manure, or worm castings. Organic matter adds important minerals and nutrients to the soil.


Mix in 1-2 inches of organic matter into your potting mix before filling your containers. This will enrich the soil and help retain moisture. It also promotes healthy root development for your kohlrabi plants.

Picking the Perfect Location

Kohlrabi Sunlight Requirements

Kohlrabi needs at least 6 hours of sunlight per day. So place your containers in a location with adequate sunlight. The ideal kohlrabi growing temperature is 40°F to 75°F. You should provide shade during the hottest part of the day.

Wind Protection in Container Gardening

Container gardens are more susceptible to wind than traditional gardens. This is because containers have less soil, which means the roots of your plants are not as secure. To protect your kohlrabi from strong winds, try placing your containers in a sheltered area. You can also use tall plants as a natural wind barrier.

growing kohlrabi in containers

How to Grow Kohlrabi in Pots?

Growing Kohlrabi From Seed

The best kohlrabi germination temperature is between 50-85°F. You should use a high-quality potting mix. It will provide all the essential nutrients and allows for proper drainage. Leave about an inch of space at the top. Plant the seeds in half an inch deep holes in the soil. Cover them with soil and water gently.

Transplanting Kohlrabi Seedlings

If you prefer to start with seedlings, transplant them carefully into the container. Choose a container at least 12 inches deep. This allows enough space for root growth. Carefully remove the seedlings from their original containers. Planting kohlrabi seedlings in the potting mix. Make sure to cover the roots completely.

Recommended Plant Spacing for Container Growth

Provide enough space for each kohlrabi plant to ensure healthy growth. The recommended spacing for container growth is 6-8 inches between plants. This allows enough room for proper air circulation and prevents overcrowding.

Watering and Moisture Management

Establishing a Consistent Watering Schedule

One way is by using a drip irrigation system or soaker hose. It can provide slow and steady moisture to your plants without wasting any water.


Another option is to hand-water young kohlrabi plants. If you choose this method, water deeply and evenly. Make sure the soil is moist but not waterlogged.

Monitoring Soil Moisture Levels

To check soil moisture levels, stick your finger into the soil up to your knuckle. If it feels dry, it's time to water. You can also invest in a moisture meter to get your soil's moisture levels. This is especially helpful during hot summer months. The plants may require more frequent watering.

Fertilizing for Optimal Growth

Choosing the Right Fertilizer for Kohlrabi

Kohlrabi requires high levels of nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium. You should choose a fertilizer with a balanced NPK ratio. For example, a 10-10-10 or 20-20-20 blend. You should also select a fertilizer with micronutrients. For example, calcium, magnesium and sulfur. Growing kohlrabi in pots often lacks these.

Application Timing and Frequency

Fertilize at least once every two weeks during the kohlrabi growing season. This typically lasts 8-12 weeks. Apply the first fertilizer when the plants are about 3 inches in height. Then, continue to fertilize every 2 weeks until harvest.


Avoid over-fertilization which can lead to rapid vegetative growth and small, underdeveloped bulbs. Follow the recommended application rates on the fertilizer packaging. Adjust accordingly based on your plant's specific needs.

Pest and Disease Management

Common Pests

Aphids, flea beetles, cabbage worms and root maggots are common pests. They can damage the leaves, stems and roots. This leads to stunted growth and reduced yield.

Organic Pest Control Methods

When dealing with pests in your kohlrabi container garden, it is best to opt for organic pest control methods. These include using beneficial insects to naturally control pest populations. For example, ladybugs and lacewings. You can also make your own organic insecticidal soap or use neem oil to deter pests.

Recognizing and Addressing Common Diseases

Growing kohlrabi in containers can also be susceptible to certain diseases. These include powdery mildew, clubroot, and black rot. Inspect your plants regularly for any signs of disease. For example, yellowing leaves or wilting.


If you detect a disease, remove the affected plant immediately. This prevents the spread to other plants in the container. You can also treat some diseases with organic fungicides or by adjusting watering and fertilization practices.

Harvesting Your Homegrown Kohlrabi

Signs for Harvest

Kohlrabi growing time is about 45-60 days. Make sure the kohlrabi bulbs are 2-3 inches in diameter. The bulb skin should be smooth and firm, not wrinkled. The leaves on top of the bulb should still be green and healthy looking. Harvest when the bulbs are still young for the best flavor and texture.

Harvesting Techniques

Gently loosen the soil around the base of the plant using a small garden trowel. Grasp the bulb at the base. Carefully pull straight up. Remove it from the container.


Remove any excess soil clinging to the bulb. Inspect it for any signs of damage or pests. Cut off the leaves from the top of the bulb. Leave a small part of the stem intact. Rinse off the bulb with water and enjoy your homegrown kohlrabi!

Conclusion

Planting kohlrabi in containers is a convenient and beneficial option. It provides easy cultivation and monitoring. You can enjoy the delicious taste of kohlrabi by embracing container gardening.

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