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Kohlrabi Companion Plants

Kohlrabi is a unique vegetable that is not only tasty but also nutritious. It is a member of the brassica family, which includes broccoli, cauliflower, and cabbage. Kohlrabi is a cool-season crop that is easy to grow and can be harvested in as little as 50 days from planting. However, to get the best out of your kohlrabi crop (Kohlrabi Companion Plants), it is important to plant it alongside compatible companion plants.

A garden bed with kohlrabi surrounded by its companion plants: beets, onions, and spinach, creating a diverse and thriving ecosystem

Companion planting is the practice of growing two or more plants in close proximity to each other for the mutual benefit of both. In the case of kohlrabi, companion planting can help improve soil fertility, deter pests, and enhance the overall growth and yield of the crop. In this article, I will discuss some of the best companion plants for kohlrabi and those that should be avoided to help you get the most out of your kohlrabi garden.

Key Takeaways

  • Kohlrabi is a nutritious and tasty vegetable that belongs to the brassica family.
  • Companion planting is a beneficial practice that can help improve soil fertility, deter pests, and enhance the growth and yield of kohlrabi.
  • Knowing which plants to grow alongside kohlrabi and which to avoid can help you get the most out of your kohlrabi garden.

Understanding Kohlrabi

Growth Requirements

As a member of the Brassica family, Kohlrabi is a cool-season crop that prefers temperatures between 60-65°F (15-18°C). It requires full sun and fertile, well-draining soil with a pH range of 6.0 to 7.5. Kohlrabi grows best in moist soil, so it’s important to keep the soil consistently moist throughout the growing season. However, it’s also important to avoid overwatering, as this can lead to root rot.

Plant Characteristics

Kohlrabi is a biennial plant that produces a large, turnip-shaped stem that is edible and nutritious. The stem can be green, white, or purple, depending on the variety. The leaves are also edible and can be cooked or used in salads. Kohlrabi plants typically grow to a height of 12-18 inches (30-45 cm) and a width of 6-8 inches (15-20 cm). They have a shallow root system, so it’s important to avoid disturbing the soil around the base of the plant.

Kohlrabi is a heavy feeder that requires regular fertilization. It’s important to provide the plant with a balanced fertilizer that contains nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. Additionally, Kohlrabi is susceptible to a variety of pests and diseases, including aphids, flea beetles, cabbage worms, and clubroot. To prevent these problems, it’s important to practice good crop rotation and to plant Kohlrabi with compatible companion plants that can help to deter pests and improve soil health.

Benefits of Companion Planting

Kohlrabi surrounded by compatible plants, such as lettuce, beets, and onions, in a thriving garden bed

Companion planting is a gardening technique that involves planting different crops together to benefit each other. The practice has been used for centuries and has many benefits, including:

1. Pest Control

One of the main benefits of companion planting is pest control. Some plants naturally repel pests, while others attract beneficial insects that prey on pests. For example, planting chives, dill, or rosemary alongside kohlrabi may help repel pests such as aphids and cabbage worms.

2. Improved Soil Health

Companion planting can also improve soil health. Certain plants have deep root systems that can help break up compacted soil and improve drainage. Others, such as legumes, are nitrogen fixers and can help increase soil fertility.

3. Increased Yield

Companion planting can increase yield by improving pollination and reducing competition for resources. For example, planting beans or peas alongside kohlrabi may help increase yield by attracting pollinators and fixing nitrogen in the soil.

4. Biodiversity

Companion planting can also increase biodiversity in the garden. Planting a variety of crops together can create a more diverse ecosystem, which can help reduce the risk of pests and diseases.

Companion planting is a simple and effective way to improve the health and productivity of your garden. By planting kohlrabi with compatible companion plants, you can enjoy a bountiful harvest while promoting a healthy and sustainable garden ecosystem.

Best Companion Plants for Kohlrabi

Kohlrabi surrounded by compatible plants like lettuce, beets, and onions in a garden bed. A diverse mix of foliage and colors creates a harmonious and thriving environment

As a seasoned gardener, I know that planting companion plants alongside kohlrabi can help improve its growth and quality. In this section, I will share my knowledge on the best companion plants for kohlrabi.

Leafy Greens

Leafy greens such as lettuce, spinach, and kale make great companion plants for kohlrabi. These plants are shallow-rooted and do not compete with kohlrabi for nutrients. Moreover, they provide a natural shade that helps to keep the soil moist and cool. Kohlrabi also helps to repel pests that commonly attack leafy greens such as aphids and flea beetles.

Root Vegetables

Root vegetables like carrots, beets, and turnips are also great companion plants for kohlrabi. They have deep roots that help to loosen the soil, allowing kohlrabi to grow better. Additionally, root vegetables help to improve soil fertility by adding organic matter to the soil. Kohlrabi also helps to repel pests that commonly attack root vegetables such as carrot rust flies and root maggots.

Aromatic Herbs

Aromatic herbs such as thyme, rosemary, and dill make great companion plants for kohlrabi. These herbs have strong scents that help to repel pests that commonly attack kohlrabi such as cabbage worms and loopers. Moreover, they attract beneficial insects such as ladybugs and lacewings that help to control pests.

Planting companion plants alongside kohlrabi can help to improve its growth and quality. Leafy greens, root vegetables, and aromatic herbs are some of the best companion plants for kohlrabi. By planting these plants together, you can create a healthy and thriving garden.

Plants to Avoid Near Kohlrabi

A garden bed with kohlrabi surrounded by marigolds, dill, and nasturtiums. Avoid planting near strawberries, tomatoes, and pole beans

As much as companion planting can benefit Kohlrabi growth, there are some plants that should be avoided. These plants can compete for nutrients, attract pests, or stunt growth. Here are some plants to avoid planting near Kohlrabi:

  1. Pumpkins: Pumpkins are heavy feeders and can compete with Kohlrabi for nutrients, leading to stunted growth and low yields.
  2. Tomatoes: Tomatoes and Kohlrabi are both members of the nightshade family. Planting them together can attract pests like aphids, flea beetles, cabbage worms, and loopers.
  3. Fennel: Fennel can inhibit the growth of Kohlrabi and other plants in the Brassica family, such as broccoli and kale.
  4. Strawberries: Strawberries can attract slugs, which can damage Kohlrabi leaves and stems.
  5. Broccoli: Broccoli and Kohlrabi are both members of the Brassica family. Planting them together can attract pests and diseases that affect both plants.
  6. Kale: Kale and Kohlrabi are both members of the Brassica family. Planting them together can attract pests and diseases that affect both plants.

By avoiding these plants near Kohlrabi, you can help ensure a healthy and successful harvest.

Read Also | Tarragon Companion Plants

Companion Planting Strategies

A garden bed with kohlrabi surrounded by compatible plants like lettuce, spinach, and beets. Each plant is thriving and complementing the growth of the others

When it comes to companion planting for kohlrabi, there are two main strategies to consider: spatial arrangement and timing/succession.

Spatial Arrangement

One key aspect of companion planting is spatial arrangement. By planting certain plants near each other, you can create a mutually beneficial environment that helps both plants thrive. For example, planting kohlrabi alongside other brassicas like kale, cabbage, and Brussels sprouts can help deter pests and disease, as well as improve soil health by sharing nutrients.

On the other hand, there are some plants that should be avoided as kohlrabi companions. For example, pumpkins, tomatoes, and strawberries can all attract pests that can harm kohlrabi plants. Fennel is also problematic, as it can stunt the growth of kohlrabi and other brassicas.

Timing and Succession

Another important aspect of companion planting is timing and succession. By planting certain plants at different times and in different stages of growth, you can create a more diverse and resilient garden ecosystem. For example, planting fast-growing plants like lettuce or radishes alongside slower-growing kohlrabi can help fill in gaps in the garden and reduce competition for resources.

Succession planting is another key strategy for companion planting. This involves planting different crops in the same space at different times throughout the growing season. For example, you could plant kohlrabi in early spring, followed by beans or cucumbers in the summer, and then plant a fall crop of kale or Brussels sprouts. This helps ensure that the soil is always being used to its fullest potential, and can help reduce pest and disease problems by disrupting their life cycles.

There are many different strategies for companion planting with kohlrabi. By experimenting with different plant combinations and techniques, you can create a more diverse and resilient garden ecosystem that benefits both your plants and the environment.

Common Pests and Diseases

Kohlrabi is a hardy and resilient plant, but it is still susceptible to certain pests and diseases. Here are some of the most common problems that kohlrabi may encounter.

Preventive Companions

One of the best ways to prevent pests and diseases from attacking your kohlrabi plants is to plant them alongside companion plants that can help to repel or confuse these unwanted visitors. Some good choices for kohlrabi companion plants include:

  • Nasturtiums: These plants naturally attract common pests such as aphids, which will take attention away from your kohlrabi. In other cases, their strong scents will deter and confuse invasive pests likely to cause your kohlrabi damage.
  • Chamomile: This plant has natural anti-fungal properties that can help to prevent diseases like powdery mildew from taking hold in your garden.
  • Dill: Dill is a great companion plant for kohlrabi because it attracts beneficial insects like ladybugs and lacewings, which can help to keep pests like aphids and cabbage worms at bay.
  • Sweet Alyssum: This plant attracts beneficial insects like hoverflies and parasitic wasps, which can help to control pests like aphids and caterpillars.

Natural Predators

In addition to preventive companions, you can also encourage natural predators to help control pests in your garden. Some good options include:

  • Ladybugs: These insects are voracious eaters of aphids, which can be a common problem for kohlrabi plants. You can attract ladybugs to your garden by planting flowers like dill and fennel, which they love.
  • Lacewings: Lacewings are another beneficial insect that can help to control aphids and other pests. They can be attracted to your garden by planting flowers like dill, yarrow, and cosmos.
  • Birds: Certain species of birds, like chickadees and titmice, feed on insects like caterpillars and cabbage worms. You can encourage these birds to visit your garden by providing birdhouses and bird feeders.

By planting preventive companions and encouraging natural predators, you can help to keep your kohlrabi plants healthy and free from pests and diseases.

Soil and Fertilization Techniques

As a cool season vegetable, Kohlrabi requires well-draining soil that is rich in organic matter. I have found that amending the soil with compost, aged manure, or leaf mold improves soil fertility, structure, and water-holding capacity.

Soil Amendments

Before planting Kohlrabi, I recommend testing the soil pH to determine its acidity or alkalinity. Kohlrabi prefers a slightly acidic soil with a pH range of 6.0 to 6.5. If the soil pH is too low, I add lime to raise the pH. Conversely, if the soil pH is too high, I add sulfur to lower the pH.

In addition to adjusting the soil pH, I also add soil amendments such as compost, aged manure, or leaf mold to improve soil fertility. These organic materials enrich the soil with nutrients such as nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium, which are essential for plant growth and development.

Fertilizer Types

In addition to soil amendments, I also fertilize Kohlrabi with a balanced fertilizer that contains equal amounts of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. I apply fertilizer at planting time and then side-dress the plants with additional fertilizer every 4 to 6 weeks during the growing season.

When choosing a fertilizer, I prefer to use organic fertilizers such as fish emulsion, bone meal, or blood meal. These fertilizers are slow-release and provide a steady supply of nutrients to the plants over time. Additionally, they improve soil health by promoting the growth of beneficial microorganisms that help break down organic matter and release nutrients into the soil.

Kohlrabi requires well-draining soil that is rich in organic matter and nutrients. By amending the soil with compost, aged manure, or leaf mold and fertilizing with a balanced fertilizer, you can ensure that your Kohlrabi plants have the nutrients they need to grow healthy and strong.

Watering and Irrigation Practices

As with most vegetables, Kohlrabi plants require consistent moisture to grow properly. Kohlrabi is a shallow-rooted plant, so it needs water frequently. The soil should be kept moist but not waterlogged. Overwatering can lead to root rot and other fungal diseases, while underwatering can cause the plant to wilt and stunt its growth.

To ensure that the Kohlrabi plants receive adequate moisture, I water them deeply once a week, or more often during hot, dry weather. I prefer to water in the morning to give the plants time to dry off before nightfall, which can help prevent fungal diseases.

In addition to regular watering, I also use mulch to help retain moisture in the soil. A layer of organic mulch such as straw, leaves, or grass clippings can help reduce water evaporation and keep the soil cool. It also helps to suppress weeds, which can compete with Kohlrabi for water and nutrients.

When watering Kohlrabi plants, it is important to avoid getting the leaves wet. Wet leaves can encourage the growth of fungal diseases, such as powdery mildew. Instead, I water the plants at the base, using a soaker hose or drip irrigation system. This helps to deliver water directly to the roots, where it is needed most.

By following these watering and irrigation practices, I have been able to grow healthy and productive Kohlrabi plants.

Harvesting and Storage Tips

When it comes to harvesting kohlrabi, it’s important to pick them at the right time. Kohlrabi is ready to be harvested when it reaches about 2-3 inches in diameter, which usually takes around 50-60 days after planting. You can check if your kohlrabi is ready by gently pulling the leaves back and examining the bulb. If it feels firm and the skin is smooth, it’s ready to be picked.

To harvest kohlrabi, use a sharp knife to cut the stem about an inch above the bulb. Be careful not to damage the bulb or the leaves, as this can lead to spoilage during storage. It’s also a good idea to harvest kohlrabi in the morning when the temperature is cooler, as this can help preserve the quality of the vegetable.

Once you’ve harvested your kohlrabi, it’s important to store it properly to ensure it lasts as long as possible. Kohlrabi can be stored in the refrigerator for up to two weeks, but it’s best to use it as soon as possible to ensure maximum freshness. To store kohlrabi, remove the leaves and wrap the bulb in a damp paper towel before placing it in a plastic bag. This will help to keep the kohlrabi moist and prevent it from drying out.

In conclusion, harvesting and storing kohlrabi is a simple process that can help you get the most out of your crop. By following these tips, you can ensure that your kohlrabi is harvested at the right time and stored properly to maintain its quality and freshness.

FAQs – Kohlrabi Companion Plants

Which vegetables grow well alongside kohlrabi in the garden?

Kohlrabi is a versatile vegetable that can be grown alongside many other vegetables. Some good companion plants for kohlrabi include beets, bush beans, celery, cucumbers, lettuce, onions, potatoes, and tomatoes. However, it is important to avoid planting members of the cabbage family near kohlrabi, as they can attract pests that will harm both crops.

What are the best companion plants for kohlrabi when planting indoors?

If you are growing kohlrabi indoors, some good companion plants include chamomile, chives, dill, nasturtiums, rosemary, and thyme. These plants can help repel pests and improve the overall health of your kohlrabi.

How does kohlrabi’s growth get affected by different plant spacings?

Kohlrabi plants should be spaced about 6-12 inches apart, depending on the variety and the size of the mature plant. If the plants are too close together, they may not have enough room to grow properly and may become stunted. On the other hand, if the plants are too far apart, they may not be able to support each other and may become weak and susceptible to pests and diseases.

Can kohlrabi be planted in proximity to peppers without issues?

Kohlrabi and peppers can be planted in proximity to each other without any issues. In fact, peppers can help repel pests that may be attracted to kohlrabi, such as aphids and whiteflies. However, it is important to note that kohlrabi should not be planted near members of the cabbage family, as they can attract pests that will harm both crops.

What are the optimal sunlight conditions for cultivating kohlrabi?

Kohlrabi grows best in full sun, which means it should receive at least 6 hours of direct sunlight per day. However, it can also tolerate partial shade, especially in hot climates where full sun may be too intense.

After harvesting kohlrabi, what are suitable successor crops to plant?

After harvesting kohlrabi, some good successor crops to plant include beets, carrots, lettuce, onions, and radishes. These crops can help replenish the soil with nutrients and improve the overall health of your garden. However, it is important to avoid planting members of the cabbage family in the same spot, as they can attract pests that will harm the new crops.

Kyle Williamson
Kyle Williamsonhttps://thegardeningking.xyz
My passion for horticulture blossomed upon graduating in 2013. Ever since, I've reveled in the art of cultivating, landscaping, and transforming outdoor spaces into vibrant havens. As an experienced horticulturist, I'm dedicated to nurturing the beauty and functionality of gardens, ensuring they thrive as extensions of their surroundings.
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