Kohlrabi Microgreens
Plants

How To Grow Kohlrabi Microgreens: A Comprehensive Guide

Learn the step-by-step process of how to grow Kohlrabi microgreens at home. Discover expert tips and insights for a successful microgreen cultivation experience.

Introduction

In the world of home gardening, microgreens have gained immense popularity for their ease of cultivation and incredible nutritional value. Among the myriad of microgreens you can grow, Kohlrabi microgreens stand out for their unique flavor and versatility in culinary creations. In this comprehensive guide, we will delve into the art of growing Kohlrabi microgreens, providing you with detailed instructions, expert insights, and answers to common questions.

So, if you’re ready to embark on a rewarding journey of cultivating your own Kohlrabi microgreens, let’s get started.

How To Grow Kohlrabi Microgreens

Kohlrabi Microgreens

Growing Kohlrabi microgreens is a delightful and rewarding experience. Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you get started:

Selecting the Right Seeds

Kohlrabi Microgreens seeds

The journey to a bountiful harvest begins with a simple yet crucial decision: choosing the right seeds. This initial step sets the stage for the entire growing process, influencing the quality, flavor, and yield of your microgreens. Here’s why it’s imperative to opt for high-quality Kohlrabi seeds:

Ensuring Success from the Start

Selecting top-notch Kohlrabi seeds is akin to laying a strong foundation for a sturdy building. High-quality seeds are more likely to germinate reliably, ensuring that your microgreen project gets off to a promising start. These seeds have been carefully cultivated and processed to meet the stringent standards of organic and untreated varieties, which means you can expect better results right from the beginning.

Superior Nutritional Value

Organic and untreated Kohlrabi seeds are not just any seeds; they are seeds that haven’t been subjected to synthetic chemicals or genetic modifications. This means that the resulting microgreens will be as pure and natural as possible. Consequently, they will retain the maximum nutritional value that Kohlrabi microgreens are renowned for. You’ll be growing greens that are not only delicious but also packed with essential vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.

Promoting Sustainability

By choosing organic seeds, you are contributing to a more sustainable and eco-friendly approach to gardening. These seeds are produced without the use of harmful pesticides or chemical fertilizers, reducing the environmental impact of your gardening endeavors. It’s a small but significant step towards a greener planet.

Avoiding Unwanted Surprises

Low-quality or treated seeds can lead to disappointing outcomes. They may have a lower germination rate or carry unwanted chemicals that can compromise the taste and safety of your microgreens. Starting with the best seeds minimizes the risk of unpleasant surprises down the line.

Ensuring Culinary Excellence

Finally, selecting high-quality Kohlrabi seeds is not just about successful growth; it’s about culinary excellence. The flavor, texture, and overall quality of your microgreens will be noticeably superior when you invest in the right seeds. Whether you’re using them in salads, sandwiches, or as a garnish, the difference will be evident in the final dish.

Preparing the Growing Container

The choice of the growing container for your Kohlrabi microgreens is a critical factor in ensuring their successful development. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to prepare the perfect growing environment for these delightful greens:

Container Selection

  • Choose the Right Container: Start by selecting a suitable container or tray. Opt for a shallow and wide container that provides ample space for your Kohlrabi microgreens to spread their roots and grow. The width allows for proper spacing, ensuring that the microgreens don’t overcrowd each other as they mature.
  • Drainage Holes are a Must: Look for a container with drainage holes at the bottom. Proper drainage is crucial to prevent waterlogged soil, which can lead to root rot and other issues. These holes allow excess water to escape, maintaining optimal moisture levels in the soil.

Potting Mix Preparation

  • Select a Well-Draining Potting Mix: Next, it’s essential to choose the right potting mix. Opt for a well-draining mix specifically designed for seed starting or microgreen cultivation. This type of mix ensures that excess water flows away from the roots, preventing waterlogged conditions.
  • Fill the Container: Once you have your chosen container, fill it with the well-draining potting mix. Gently spread the mix evenly across the container’s bottom, creating a level surface. Leave about an inch of space at the top to accommodate the growth of your Kohlrabi microgreens.
  • Level and Firm the Soil: Use your hand or a flat object, like a small board or the bottom of another container, to level and gently firm the soil surface. This helps create a stable foundation for your seeds and promotes uniform growth.

Final Considerations

  • Moisten the Soil: Before sowing your Kohlrabi seeds, it’s a good practice to moisten the potting mix slightly. Use a spray bottle to mist the surface gently. This pre-moistening ensures that your seeds make good contact with the soil and initiate germination smoothly.
  • Container Placement: Choose a suitable location for your container. Kohlrabi microgreens thrive in a well-lit area but should be shielded from direct sunlight. You can place them on a windowsill with indirect sunlight or use grow lights if you’re growing them indoors.

Sowing the Seeds

Now that you have your growing container prepared and the potting mix in place, it’s time to sow your Kohlrabi seeds. This step is crucial to ensure even germination and healthy growth of your microgreens. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to sow Kohlrabi seeds effectively:

Seed Distribution

  • Sprinkle Seeds Evenly: Take a small handful of Kohlrabi seeds and sprinkle them evenly across the surface of the prepared potting mix. Ensure that you distribute the seeds as uniformly as possible. Even spacing will prevent overcrowding and competition for nutrients as the microgreens grow.
  • Avoid Clumping: Pay special attention to avoid clumping or over-concentration of seeds in one area. Uneven seed distribution can lead to uneven growth and thin spots in your microgreen bed.

Gentle Pressing

  • Press Seeds Gently: After evenly spreading the Kohlrabi seeds, it’s important to ensure good seed-to-soil contact. Gently press down on the seeds using a flat object or the palm of your hand. This pressing action embeds the seeds slightly into the potting mix, helping them make contact with moisture and nutrients in the soil.
  • Maintain a Light Covering: Kohlrabi seeds are relatively small, so you don’t need to bury them deeply. The gentle pressing should create a thin layer of potting mix over the seeds, providing the cover they need for germination.

Moisture Management

  • Mist the Surface: Once the seeds are in place and gently pressed, use a spray bottle to mist the surface of the potting mix. This ensures that the seeds have adequate moisture to begin germination. Be careful not to oversaturate the soil, as this can lead to waterlogged conditions.
  • Cover the Container: To create a mini-greenhouse effect, cover the container with a clear plastic lid or plastic wrap. This helps retain moisture and warmth, creating an ideal environment for seed germination.
  • Monitor Moisture: During the germination phase, it’s crucial to keep the potting mix consistently moist. Check the moisture level daily and mist as needed to prevent the surface from drying out.

Providing Adequate Light

Light is a critical factor in the successful growth of Kohlrabi microgreens. These young plants depend on light not only for energy through photosynthesis but also for proper development and flavor. Here’s a closer look at how to ensure your microgreens get the light they need:

Optimal Light Conditions

  • Well-Lit Location: After sowing your Kohlrabi seeds, it’s essential to place the growing container in a well-lit area. Microgreens thrive in bright conditions that mimic sunlight. A south-facing windowsill is an excellent choice, as it typically receives ample indirect light throughout the day.
  • Avoid Direct Sunlight: While Kohlrabi microgreens need light, they are sensitive to intense, direct sunlight, which can scorch and stress the delicate seedlings. To prevent this, place your container where it receives indirect sunlight or dappled light. Alternatively, you can use grow lights designed for seedlings and microgreens, which provide consistent, gentle illumination.

Duration of Light

  • 12-16 Hours of Light: Kohlrabi microgreens have a higher light requirement than many other microgreen varieties. Aim to provide them with approximately 12-16 hours of light daily. This extended duration allows them to photosynthesize efficiently, resulting in robust growth and vibrant green leaves.
  • Adjustable Grow Lights: If you choose to use grow lights, select models with adjustable timers. This allows you to mimic natural day-night cycles by providing light for the specified duration and then allowing the microgreens to rest in darkness.

Monitoring Light Intensity

  • Observe Seedling Behavior: Pay attention to the behavior of your Kohlrabi microgreens. If they appear leggy, stretching towards the light source, it’s an indicator that they are not receiving enough light. In such cases, adjust the placement of the container or the intensity of the grow lights to ensure they grow compact and sturdy.
  • Rotate the Container: To promote even growth, rotate the container regularly. This ensures that all sides of the microgreens receive adequate light exposure, preventing them from leaning or bending towards the light source.

Light and Flavor

  • Impact on Flavor: It’s worth noting that the quality of light can also influence the flavor of Kohlrabi microgreens. Adequate light exposure promotes the development of robust, flavorful greens. Microgreens grown in low-light conditions may have a milder taste.

Watering Carefully

Watering is a crucial aspect of nurturing Kohlrabi microgreens to their full potential. Proper watering ensures that these delicate plants receive the hydration they need for growth without the risk of waterlogged soil. Here’s a detailed guide on how to water your microgreens effectively:

Consistent Moisture

  • Maintain Consistent Moisture: Kohlrabi microgreens thrive in soil that is consistently moist. However, it’s vital to strike the right balance between keeping the soil adequately hydrated and preventing waterlogged conditions. Overwatering can lead to root rot and other issues.
  • Use a Spray Bottle: One of the best practices for watering microgreens is to use a spray bottle. This method allows you to control the amount of water applied and ensures that you distribute it evenly across the soil surface. It mimics gentle rain, preventing the disturbance of delicate seedlings.

Frequency and Timing

  • Regular Mistings: Begin misting the soil surface as soon as you sow the Kohlrabi seeds. Continue to mist regularly, usually once or twice a day, depending on the environmental conditions. The goal is to keep the soil consistently damp without saturating it.
  • Observe Soil Moisture: Pay close attention to the soil’s moisture level. Kohlrabi microgreens are sensitive to drying out, so avoid letting the soil become too dry between mistings. Conversely, be cautious not to overwater, as this can lead to fungal issues.

Avoiding Overwatering

  • Prevent Waterlogging: Overwatering can be detrimental to microgreens. It’s essential to strike a balance to avoid waterlogging. If you notice excess water pooling in the container’s bottom or the soil becoming excessively soggy, reduce the frequency of misting.
  • Proper Drainage: Ensure that your container has adequate drainage holes to allow excess water to escape. This helps maintain the right moisture level in the root zone while preventing water from accumulating.

Seedling Behavior

  • Observe Seedling Behavior: Your Kohlrabi microgreens will provide visual cues to their watering needs. If the seedlings appear wilted or droopy, it’s an indicator that they require more moisture. In contrast, if they appear healthy and vibrant, you’re likely providing the right amount of water.

Germination and Growth

Kohlrabi Microgreens

The germination and growth phases are some of the most exciting stages in the journey of cultivating Kohlrabi microgreens. During this time, you’ll witness tiny seeds sprout into vibrant green seedlings. Here’s a step-by-step guide on what to expect and how to care for your microgreens during these critical stages:

Germination Timeline

  • Quick Germination: Kohlrabi microgreens are known for their relatively fast germination. Typically, you can expect to see tiny sprouts emerging from the soil within 2-3 days after sowing. This rapid development is one of the reasons why microgreens are such a popular choice for home gardeners.
  • Initial Signs: Initially, you may notice the soil surface cracking as the emerging seedlings push their way through. These initial signs of growth are an exciting indicator that your microgreens are on their way.

Continued Moisture

  • Maintain Moisture: Even as the Kohlrabi microgreens germinate and begin to grow, it’s crucial to continue misting the soil surface regularly. Adequate moisture is essential during this phase to support the development of healthy seedlings. The spray bottle method is ideal for ensuring gentle hydration without disturbing the delicate roots.
  • Avoid Drying Out: Be particularly cautious about the soil drying out during this stage. Microgreens have tiny root systems, and they are vulnerable to drying out quickly. Keep a close eye on the moisture level and mist as needed to prevent the soil from becoming too dry.

Adequate Light

  • Provide Adequate Light: Light is a driving force for photosynthesis, and it plays a pivotal role in the growth of your Kohlrabi microgreens. Continue to place the container in a well-lit area with 12-16 hours of indirect sunlight or under your chosen grow lights. Adequate light ensures that the seedlings receive the energy needed for robust growth.
  • Light and Growth: As the seedlings grow, you’ll notice them leaning toward the light source. This behavior is entirely normal and is the plants’ way of optimizing their exposure to light. To promote even growth, remember to rotate the container regularly to ensure all sides receive equal illumination.

First True Leaves

  • Appearance of True Leaves: After the initial cotyledon leaves (seed leaves) emerge, your Kohlrabi microgreens will soon develop their first set of true leaves. These true leaves will look more like the mature Kohlrabi plant leaves and signify that the microgreens are ready for harvest.
  • Harvest Timing: The optimal time to harvest Kohlrabi microgreens is when they have grown their first true leaves and reached a height of about 2-3 inches. At this stage, they are at their peak of flavor and nutritional value.

Harvesting

Kohlrabi Microgreens

Harvesting your Kohlrabi microgreens is the rewarding culmination of your efforts in nurturing these delicate greens. When done at the right time, you’ll enjoy the freshest and most flavorful microgreens for your culinary creations. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to harvest your Kohlrabi microgreens:

Timing is Key

  • 10-14 Days After Germination: Kohlrabi microgreens are typically ready for harvest approximately 10-14 days after germination. The exact timing may vary slightly depending on factors like temperature and light, so keep a close eye on their growth.

Tools for Harvest

  • Scissors or Shears: To harvest your microgreens, you’ll need a pair of clean and sharp scissors or kitchen shears. These tools ensure clean cuts and minimize damage to the remaining plants.

Harvesting Technique

  • Cut Just Above the Soil Line: Examine your Kohlrabi microgreens closely, and you’ll notice that they consist of a central stem with tender leaves. To harvest, position your scissors or shears just above the soil line and snip the entire stem. Avoid cutting too low, as this might include the roots, and too high, as it may leave behind a stub of stem.
  • Harvest All at Once or as Needed: You have the option to either harvest all your microgreens at once or pick them as needed for your dishes. Harvesting all at once is convenient if you plan to use them in bulk, while selective harvesting allows you to enjoy them fresh over an extended period.

Post-Harvest Care

  • Store Properly: After harvesting, it’s essential to store your Kohlrabi microgreens correctly to maintain their freshness. Place them in an airtight container or a plastic bag with a paper towel to absorb excess moisture. Store them in the refrigerator, where they can remain fresh for several days.
  • Use Quickly: Microgreens are at their peak of flavor and nutritional value immediately after harvest. While they can be stored, it’s best to use them as soon as possible for the freshest culinary experience.

Continuous Harvest

  • Encourage Regrowth: Kohlrabi microgreens are unique in that they often have the capacity to regrow after the initial harvest. If you leave about an inch of the stem intact when cutting, new leaves may sprout from the base, allowing for a second, smaller harvest.
Kohlrabi Microgreens

FAQs

1. What are Kohlrabi Microgreens?

Kohlrabi microgreens are the young seedlings of the kohlrabi plant (Brassica oleracea var. gongylodes). They are harvested at an early stage of growth when the first true leaves appear and are packed with flavor, nutrition, and vibrant colors. Kohlrabi microgreens have a mild, slightly peppery taste, making them a popular choice for salads, sandwiches, and garnishes.

2. Why should I grow Kohlrabi Microgreens?

Growing kohlrabi microgreens at home is a rewarding and healthy endeavor. Here are some reasons to consider:

  • Nutrient Density: Kohlrabi microgreens are rich in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, offering a nutritional punch in a small package.
  • Quick Growth: They grow rapidly and can be ready for harvest in as little as 7-14 days.
  • Year-Round Availability: You can grow them indoors or outdoors, making them accessible year-round.
  • Freshness: Harvested at their peak, they are incredibly fresh, adding flavor and nutrition to your meals.

3. What materials do I need to grow Kohlrabi Microgreens?

To get started, you will need:

  • Kohlrabi microgreen seeds
  • A shallow container or tray
  • A growing medium (e.g., potting soil, coco coir, or a hydroponic medium)
  • Water
  • Light source (natural sunlight or grow lights)
  • Spray bottle for misting

4. How do I plant Kohlrabi Microgreens?

Here’s a step-by-step guide:

  • Prepare the Container: Fill your container with the chosen growing medium, leaving about half an inch of space at the top. Moisten the medium thoroughly.
  • Sow the Seeds: Sprinkle the kohlrabi microgreen seeds evenly across the surface. You can sow them quite densely, as they won’t grow into mature plants.
  • Cover and Mist: Cover the seeds with a thin layer of growing medium or plastic wrap. Mist the surface with water to keep it moist.
  • Provide Light: Place the container in a location with bright, indirect sunlight or under grow lights. Kohlrabi microgreens need 12-16 hours of light daily.
  • Watering: Keep the growing medium consistently moist but not waterlogged. Use a spray bottle to mist the surface when it starts to dry out.

5. How long does it take for Kohlrabi Microgreens to grow?

Kohlrabi microgreens typically take 7-14 days to reach harvestable size. The exact time may vary depending on factors such as temperature, light, and seed quality.

6. When and how do I harvest Kohlrabi Microgreens?

You can harvest kohlrabi microgreens when they have developed their first true leaves, usually after about 7-14 days. To harvest:

  • Use scissors or a sharp knife to cut the microgreens just above the soil level.
  • Rinse them gently under cool, running water to remove any remaining soil.
  • Pat them dry with a clean paper towel or kitchen cloth.
  • Kohlrabi microgreens are now ready to be used in your dishes.

7. Can I regrow Kohlrabi Microgreens after harvesting?

Unfortunately, kohlrabi microgreens are typically a one-time harvest crop. After cutting them, the regrowth is minimal and not worth the effort.

8. How should I store harvested Kohlrabi Microgreens?

To maximize freshness and shelf life, store harvested kohlrabi microgreens in a clean, airtight container in the refrigerator. They can last up to a week when properly stored.

9. Are Kohlrabi Microgreens easy to grow indoors?

Yes, kohlrabi microgreens are well-suited for indoor growing. They require minimal space, making them a perfect choice for small apartments or homes. Just ensure they receive adequate light and proper care.

10. Are there any common problems or pests to watch out for when growing Kohlrabi Microgreens?

Common issues when growing kohlrabi microgreens include overwatering, inadequate light, and mold. Watch for signs of yellowing or leggy growth, which may indicate a lack of light. To prevent mold, ensure good airflow and avoid excessive moisture on the surface.

11. Can I use kohlrabi microgreens in my recipes immediately after harvesting?

Absolutely! Kohlrabi microgreens are best enjoyed fresh, and their mild flavor pairs well with various dishes. Add them to salads, sandwiches, wraps, omelets, or use them as a garnish for soups and entrees.

12. Where can I purchase kohlrabi microgreen seeds?

You can buy kohlrabi microgreen seeds from local garden centers, online seed suppliers, or specialty microgreen seed retailers. Be sure to choose high-quality, organic seeds for the best results.

13. Can I use regular kohlrabi seeds for microgreens?

While you can use regular kohlrabi seeds for microgreens, it’s better to choose seeds specifically labeled for microgreen production. These seeds are typically untreated and selected for their quick growth and high yields.

14. Can I grow kohlrabi microgreens outdoors?

Yes, you can grow kohlrabi microgreens outdoors, but they may be subject to weather conditions and pests. For more control and a longer growing season, consider growing them indoors or in a greenhouse.

15. Can I reuse the growing medium for future batches of microgreens?

It’s generally recommended to replace the growing medium for each batch of microgreens to prevent disease and ensure a clean, healthy growing environment.

16. What are some tips for success when growing Kohlrabi Microgreens?

To ensure a successful harvest of vibrant kohlrabi microgreens, consider these tips:

  • Use a good-quality growing medium: Choose a sterile, well-draining medium to provide a healthy environment for your microgreens.
  • Maintain proper moisture: Keep the growing medium consistently moist but not waterlogged. Overwatering can lead to mold and rot.
  • Provide adequate light: Ensure your microgreens receive 12-16 hours of light daily. If growing indoors, use grow lights to supplement natural light.
  • Optimal temperature: Kohlrabi microgreens thrive in temperatures between 60-75°F (15-24°C). Avoid extreme heat or cold.
  • Thin if necessary: If your microgreens become too densely packed, thin them out by snipping some away with scissors. This allows the remaining plants more room to grow.
  • Fertilize sparingly: Microgreens don’t require heavy fertilization. If your growing medium lacks nutrients, you can use a diluted, balanced liquid fertilizer, but be cautious not to overfeed.
  • Keep pests at bay: Check for pests regularly, especially if growing outdoors. Aphids, caterpillars, and other insects can damage your crop. Use organic pest control methods when needed.

17. Can I use compost or garden soil for growing Kohlrabi Microgreens?

While compost and garden soil can be used for growing microgreens, it’s not recommended. These mediums may contain weed seeds, pathogens, or pests that can adversely affect your microgreens. Using a sterile, well-balanced potting mix or specialized microgreen growing medium is a safer choice.

18. How can I ensure a continuous supply of Kohlrabi Microgreens?

To enjoy a continuous supply of kohlrabi microgreens, stagger your plantings. Start a new batch every few days so that as one batch reaches maturity, you have another ready for harvest. This method allows you to have a fresh supply year-round.

19. Can I save seeds from Kohlrabi Microgreens for planting in the future?

Kohlrabi microgreens are harvested at such an early stage that they won’t produce viable seeds. If you want to grow mature kohlrabi plants for seeds, you’ll need to plant full-sized kohlrabi and allow them to bolt and produce seeds, which is a longer-term endeavor.

20. Are Kohlrabi Microgreens suitable for hydroponics or aquaponics systems?

Yes, kohlrabi microgreens can thrive in hydroponic or aquaponic systems. The key is to provide them with the appropriate nutrients and water quality in these soilless growing systems. Many growers find that microgreens grow exceptionally well in these controlled environments.

21. Can children participate in growing Kohlrabi Microgreens?

Absolutely! Growing kohlrabi microgreens can be an educational and enjoyable activity for children. It teaches them about plant growth, nutrition, and responsibility. Just make sure to supervise them when using sharp tools and handling soil or growing media.

22. What are some creative ways to use Kohlrabi Microgreens in recipes?

Kohlrabi microgreens are versatile and can be used in various dishes. Here are some creative ideas:

  • Add them to sushi rolls for a burst of freshness.
  • Sprinkle them on top of avocado toast.
  • Toss them into stir-fries and noodle dishes.
  • Use them as a topping for homemade pizzas.
  • Incorporate them into smoothie bowls for added nutrition and color.
  • Mix them into a creamy salad dressing or dip for extra flavor.

23. Are there any notable health benefits to consuming Kohlrabi Microgreens?

Yes, there are several health benefits associated with consuming kohlrabi microgreens:

  • High in vitamins: They are a good source of vitamins A, C, and K.
  • Rich in minerals: Kohlrabi microgreens contain essential minerals like potassium and calcium.
  • Antioxidant properties: They contain antioxidants that help combat free radicals in the body.
  • Low in calories: They are a low-calorie food, making them a great addition to a weight-conscious diet.
  • Dietary fiber: They provide dietary fiber, which supports digestion and helps maintain a healthy gut.

24. Can I grow other types of microgreens alongside Kohlrabi Microgreens?

Yes, you can grow various types of microgreens together, known as a “microgreen mix.” It can create a visually appealing and flavorful blend. Just ensure that the microgreens you choose have similar growth rates and light requirements.

Conclusion

Growing Kohlrabi microgreens at home is not only a satisfying hobby but also a way to incorporate fresh, nutritious greens into your diet. By following this comprehensive guide, you can enjoy the flavors and health benefits of these delightful microgreens right from your own garden. So, roll up your sleeves, get your hands dirty, and start growing Kohlrabi microgreens today!