kohlrabi spacing
kohlrabi spacing
(Image credit: Deniz Tokatli)

Kohlrabi is a weird vegetable. A brassica, it’s a very close relative of better-known crops such as cabbage and broccoli. Unlike any of its cousins, however, kohlrabi is known for its swollen, globe-like stem that forms just above the ground. It can reach the size of a softball and looks a lot like a root vegetable, earning it the name “stem turnip.” Though the leaves and the rest of the stems are edible, it is this swollen sphere that is most commonly eaten, both raw and cooked. Kohlrabi is popular across Europe, though it’s less often seen in English-speaking countries. That shouldn't deter you from growing this interesting, tasty vegetable. Keep reading to learn more about growing kohlrabi in the garden and kohlrabi plant spacing.

Plant Spacing for Kohlrabi

Kohlrabi is a cool weather plant that grows well in the spring and even better in the fall. It will flower if temperatures fall below 45 degrees F. (7 C.), but it will get woody and tough if they stay above 75 degrees F. (24 C.). This makes the window for growing them quite small in a lot of climates, especially considering that kohlrabi takes about 60 days to mature. In the spring, seeds should be sown one to two weeks before the average last frost. Sow seeds in a row at a depth of half an inch (1 cm.). What’s a good distance for kohlrabi seed spacing? Kohlrabi seed spacing should be one every 2 inches (5 cm.). Kohlrabi row spacing should be about 1 foot (31 cm.) apart. Once the seedlings have sprouted and have a couple of true leaves, thin them to 5 or 6 inches (13-15 cm.) apart. If you’re gentle, you can move your thinned seedlings to another spot, and they will probably keep growing. If you want to get a head start on cool spring weather, plant your kohlrabi seeds indoors a few weeks before the last frost. Transplant them outdoors about a week before the last frost. Plant spacing for kohlrabi transplants should be one every 5 or 6 inches (13-15 cm.). There’s no need to thin transplants.

Liz Baessler
Senior Editor

The only child of a horticulturist and an English teacher, Liz Baessler was destined to become a gardening editor. She has been with Gardening Know how since 2015, and a Senior Editor since 2020. She holds a BA in English from Brandeis University and an MA in English from the University of Geneva, Switzerland. After years of gardening in containers and community garden plots, she finally has a backyard of her own, which she is systematically filling with vegetables and flowers.