Growing Guide
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Vegetable (Cool Season) - Cabbage Family

Brassica oleracea var. gongylodes
Brassicaceae Family

This cool-season cole crop produces a turnip-flavored swollen stem in as little as 6 weeks. In addition to spring crops, you can tuck in transplants or sow seeds anywhere space becomes available in summer. The bizarre alien-from-outer-space appearance makes it an eye-stopper in ornamental plantings, too.

Site Characteristics
  • full sun
Tolerates light shade.

Soil conditions:

  • requires well-drained soil
Prefers well-drained, fertile soil high in organic matter, pH 6.0 to 7.5. Can tolerate slightly alkaline soil. This heavy feeder also needs plentiful, consistent moisture.

Special locations:

  • outdoor containers
Plant Traits

Lifecycle: annual

Biennial grown as an annual.

Ease-of-care: easy

Height: 1 to 1.5 feet

Spread: 1 to 1.5 feet

Foliage color:

  • medium green
  • purple

Foliage texture: medium

Shape: cushion, mound or clump

Leaves arise from spherical swollen stem.

Special Considerations
  • frost - Freezing temperatures may cause plants to bolt.
Special characteristics:
  • not native to North America - Not known in the wild. Descended from wild European cabbage or kale.
Special uses:
  • edible landscaping
Growing Information
How to plant:

Propagate by seed

Germination temperature: 45 F to 85 F - Will germinate at soil temperatures as low as 40 F.

Days to emergence: 4 to 7

Seed can be saved 4 years.

Maintenance and care:
Prefers cool weather - in the 60s F -- but can be grown throughout the season in most of New York. Plants are sensitive to cold. Brief exposure to freezing temperatures can cause plants to bolt. A week of temperatures below 50 can also induce flowering.

Begin direct-seeding about a month before last frost. Plant about inch deep and 1 inch apart in rows 12 inches apart. Thin to about 6-inch spacings.

For fall harvest, transplant or direct-seed into garden in summer as space becomes available.

Cabbage loopers
Flea beetles
Cabbage root maggots
Cabbage aphids
Slugs and snails
Black rot
Black leg
Cabbage yellows
Browse kohlrabi varieties at our Vegetable Varieties for Gardeners website.

Choose from different days to maturity (about 40 to 60) and color (white, pale green or purple).

Varieties recommended for New York include:

Early Purple Vienna
Early White Vienna
Grand Duke