Kohlrabi is a cool season crop in the same family as Brussels sprouts and broccoli. It produces a strongly flavored swollen stem, which is the primary part eaten, although the leaves are also delicious. There are many varieties from which to choose. Each has a different size, color, pungency, growth rate, and pest or disease resistance. Since each of the different types of kohlrabi are so individual, there is a perfect variety for every gardener.
Different Types of Kohlrabi
Kohlrabi varieties are divided into different days to maturity and color. Most develop a round, swollen stem, but some varieties of kohlrabi have a more flattened stem. You can find green, purple, white, and even blue fleshed kohlrabi. There are also kohlrabi plant varieties that are slow to bolt. There are types that are resistant to certain insects, such as cabbage worms. Whatever special requirements you need from your kohlrabi crop, there is probably a variety to suit your preferences.
There are more than 22 kohlrabi plant varieties from which to choose. In addition to size, color, growth rate, resistance, flavor, and shape, you may also opt for varieties with longer storage characteristics. There are hybrids, heirlooms, and open-pollinated varieties too, as well as types that are slow to bolt. With so many choices, it may be hard to boil it down to just one or two.
Disease resistance may be one place to start. It isn’t worth growing the bulbs if they are going to get chewed on by larvae or succumb to root maggots. Some of the heirloom varieties are the most resistant to pests and disease but may lack the size of some of the newer cultivars.
Gigante is resistant, an heirloom, and stores well. Additionally, the bulb is huge but not woody. Another heirloom, Early White Vienna, is a dwarf with a flattened stem and is slow to bolt. There are many other heirloom varieties that offer unique characteristics.
Kohlrabi Plants for Gardens
Visual and taste preferences are often at the forefront when we choose our crops. The varieties of kohlrabi are also divided into size and color as two overriding characteristics. Kossak is a ridiculously large bulb form but with tender flesh and tasty leaves. More common and sought after are the medium sized bulbs:
- Early White Delicacy
- Peking Strain
- Tianstsin Strain
Different, fun hues are available too. You can find kohlrabi plants for gardens that offer colorful variety for your vegetable larder. Purple varieties seem to be more resistant to cabbage worms and some other insects. Most of the green kohlrabi are fast growers and hardy in a variety of climates. Some colors to opt for might be:
- Purple Vienna
- White Vienna
- Early White Vienna
Just for fun, there is also Azur Star with bluish bulbs and bolt resistance.
You can easily bring in some of the other desirable traits with kohlrabi varieties. Types with longer storage life include:
Quick maturing varieties are:
- Sweet Vienna
Dyna is an open-pollinated form. If you are growing this cool season lover in slightly warmer temperatures, you need slow-to-bolt forms. Try Rapid Star or Early White Vienna.
There are so many varieties of kohlrabi, you are sure to find the one with the right attributes for your region and the perfect taste, color, and size for your family’s needs.