Brassica oleraceae var. gongylodes


Kohl Rabi

Closely related to the cabbage, this quick growing, small plant has been described as a 'turnip growing on a cabbage root'. It is generally treated as an annual.

It produces a large swollen edible base. Leaves are also edible.



Harvest the bulbs when about 5 – 7 cm in diameter. They should be ready after about 12 weeks from planting. If larger they become stringy. Leaves are also edible, and can be treated as for cabbage. Plants will live for several years if only leaves are picked. Kohl Rabi is high in vitamin C. 3-4 plants per planting will feed the average family.

The edible part of a Kohl Rabi carrot is typically composed of 90% water; and every 100 gm contains 29 calories, 2 gm of protein, 0.1gm of fat and 6.6gm of carbohydrate.



Kohl Rabi is naturally a cool season plant, but is adaptable to warmer positions. It grows best in filtered sunlight and temperate climates, but will take an open position.

Likes rich, well drained, but always moist soil is preferred. Take care when removing weeds.

Green manure crops prior to planting are valuable. Kohl Rabi prefers slightly acid to slightly alkaline soils. Lime should be applied if pH falls below 5.5. Crop rotation is important.

Other requirements are the same as for cabbages.


Sow seed mid-spring to late summer.

Do not use transplants. Stagger plantings for extended cropping.  

Seed should be sown in small clumps about 10 – 15 cm apart in rows, and the seedlings thinned out when they mature. Rows should be about 45 cm apart.


Common cultivars have a purple skinned swollen base; though some can be white.

Plant Health

Kohl Rabi is generally pest and disease resistant. Sometimes aphis and some other brassica pests can be a problem.

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