Sunday, January 15, 2012

Growing Kohlrabi in Kihei

A Strangely Beautiful
Purple Vienna

Kohlrabi is a cool season brassica - it's less heat tolerant than broccoli but it can be grown in Kihei during our cooler months.

I planted kohlrabi seeds in mid-October when I started the other brassicas but that was a month too early. The seedlings were heat and sun sensitive and only one Purple Vienna survived a normal Kihei November. Next fall I'll wait until late November or December to plant seeds.

Purple Vienna Baby Greens

Kohlrabi is most tender when the bulb is around 2 inches wide. It grows faster than broccoli and can be harvested in about 60 days. Kohlrabi can also be sown densely and grown as a salad green.

The kohlrabi grew very well in a 5 gallon self-watering container filled with a natural and organic potting soil. I amended the soil with an organic all-purpose fertilizer and green sand and added the organic fertilizer again at 1 month intervals. The cabbageworms will attack the kohlrabi leaves - I recommend covering the plants with row covers or tulle tents.

Lots of info about growing Kohlrabi can be found here:
Cool Kohlrabi

Kohlrabi makes great chips - raw, baked, roasted or fried in butter or olive oil.
Crisp Kohlrabi Chips
Baked Kohlrabi Chips
Roasted Kohlrabi Chips
Kohlrabi Rules!
Cultured Kohlrabi Sauerkraut


  1. Aloha Jane! Love kohlrabi raw.

  2. The purple Kohlrabi in your picture is indeed very beautiful...

  3. Hi Anonymous! I like kohlrabi raw too - it reminds me of a radish or turnip but has a completely different taste.

    Hi Linda! Mahalo for your compliment - purple veggies are so pretty when growing in a garden.

  4. Hi Jane, love your blog! Gardening up in Olinda area and frustrated at lack of sun/warmth (problem you never have in Kihei) but trying to grown suitable crops for the climate. Your blog is incredibly thorough and well written and wonderfully photographed! Thank you very much for the documentation. Oh, where do you find the best nurseries/plant supplies on island? I go to Kula Hardware, you?

  5. Hi kiedisisbad! Mahalo for you appreciation! Wow I bet Olinda is just as challenging as Kihei but in the opposite way. There certainly are a lot more gardeners Upcountry but there's so little information available online. Kula Hardware is where I usually shop. Crop Production Services in Kahului has lower prices than Kula Hardware for OMRI potting soil and OMRI fertilizers which helps if you're buying in quantity. There are 2 garden centers in Haiku but I haven't checked them out as yet. I was told they're in the 2 main Haiku marketplaces.

    You may have to do what I did and just plant and plant all year long until you figure out the ideal planting times and bug cycles. It's time consuming but very valuable research in the long run.

  6. Honestly speaking I am not a big fan of Kohlrabi. We eat it here only because my mum forces us to. I might like the vegetable better if I eat it as chips I guess. I am sure curious to try that.

  7. That's a beautiful purple kohlrabi. Your growing season is the complete opposite of ours. Had snow last night so the ground is all white.

  8. Hi Sri! I did find a few recipes online for Indian curries with kohlrabi but I haven't tried them. Kohlrabi is an acquired taste but I like it when it's small. The chips fried in butter were pretty good.

    Hi Norma! Yes we have an mixed up growing season at sea level on Maui. But I have a short window in the fall to plant cool season crops like brassicas. Wow snow...I'm so spoiled living in Hawaii!