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The Ultimate Guide to Companion Planting for Kohlrabi

companion planting for kohlrabi

Kohlrabi, also known as German turnip, is a nutritious and versatile vegetable that's popular in many cuisines around the world. In addition to being packed with vitamins and minerals, kohlrabi is also easy to grow and maintain. However, like all plants, kohlrabi is susceptible to pests and diseases, which can affect its growth and yield. That's where companion planting comes in.

Companion planting is the practice of growing different plants together for mutual benefit. By choosing the right companions for your kohlrabi, you can help protect it from pests, improve soil health, and even enhance its flavor. In this guide, we'll explore some of the best companion plants for kohlrabi and how to use them effectively.

Benefits of Companion Planting for Kohlrabi

Companion planting offers numerous benefits for kohlrabi growers. Some of the key advantages include:

  • Pest control: Certain plants repel or deter pests that can damage kohlrabi, reducing the need for synthetic pesticides.
  • Soil improvement: Plants with deep roots can help break up compacted soil and improve drainage, while others can fix nitrogen in the soil, making it more fertile.
  • Increased yields: Some companion plants attract beneficial insects that can pollinate kohlrabi flowers or eat harmful pests, leading to bigger and better harvests.
  • Improved flavor: Some herbs and other plants can enhance the flavor of kohlrabi when grown nearby.

Best Companion Plants for Kohlrabi

Here are some of the best companion plants for kohlrabi, along with their specific benefits:

1. Nasturtiums

Nasturtiums are a popular companion plant for many vegetables, including kohlrabi. Their bright flowers attract pollinators like bees and butterflies, while their strong scent repels aphids and whiteflies. Nasturtiums also contain compounds that can deter cabbage moths and other pests that target kohlrabi.

To use nasturtiums as companions for kohlrabi, simply plant them around the base of the kohlrabi plants. They prefer well-draining soil and full sun, so make sure to choose a spot that meets these requirements.

2. Dill

Dill is an herb with a distinctive flavor that pairs well with kohlrabi in many dishes. It's also a natural pest deterrent, particularly for cabbage worms and aphids. Additionally, dill attracts beneficial insects like ladybugs and lacewings, which can eat harmful pests like mites and thrips.

To use dill as a companion for kohlrabi, plant it nearby in early spring. Dill prefers full sun and well-draining soil, but it can tolerate partial shade and slightly moist conditions as well.

3. Marigolds

Marigolds are another common companion plant for kohlrabi. Like nasturtiums, they have bright flowers that attract pollinators and a strong scent that repels pests like aphids and whiteflies. Marigolds also produce allelochemicals, which can suppress the growth of harmful soil-borne pathogens.

To use marigolds as companions for kohlrabi, plant them around the edges of your garden bed or in between rows of kohlrabi plants. They prefer full sun and well-draining soil, but can tolerate some shade and moisture as well.

4. Radishes

Radishes are a fast-growing root vegetable that can be used as a "trap crop" for pests like flea beetles and cabbage maggots. These pests are attracted to radishes and will often lay their eggs on them instead of kohlrabi or other brassicas. Additionally, radishes have deep roots that can help break up compacted soil and improve drainage.

To use radishes as companions for kohlrabi, plant them in between rows of kohlrabi plants or in areas where you've had pest problems in the past. Radishes prefer cool, moist soil and can be grown in both spring and fall.

Other Companion Plants for Kohlrabi

In addition to the plants listed above, there are many other companion plants that can benefit kohlrabi. Some of these include:

1. Mint

Mint is a fragrant herb that can repel pests like ants and flea beetles. It also attracts beneficial insects like hoverflies and predatory wasps, which can eat harmful pests.

2. Borage

Borage is an annual herb with blue flowers that attract bees and other pollinators. It also contains compounds that can deter pests like tomato hornworms and cabbage worms.

3. Chamomile

Chamomile is a medicinal herb that's often used to make tea. It also has insecticidal properties that can repel pests like aphids and whiteflies.

Companion planting is a natural and effective way to protect your kohlrabi from pests, improve soil health, and enhance its flavor. By choosing the right companions and planting them strategically, you can create a healthy and productive garden that's full of delicious and nutritious vegetables.

FAQs

1. Can I plant kohlrabi with other brassicas like broccoli or cauliflower?

Yes, kohlrabi is closely related to other brassicas and can be planted alongside them. However, be aware that they may attract the same pests and diseases, so keep an eye out for any problems and take appropriate measures if necessary.

2. What should I do if my kohlrabi plants are already infested with pests?

If you notice pests on your kohlrabi plants, try removing them by hand or using natural pest control methods like neem oil or insecticidal soap. You can also try planting trap crops like radishes or using beneficial insects like ladybugs to eat the pests.

3. How often should I water my kohlrabi plants?

Kohlrabi prefers moist soil, but not waterlogged conditions. Water your plants deeply once or twice a week, depending on your climate and soil type.

4. Can I grow kohlrabi in containers?

Yes, kohlrabi can be grown in containers as long as they're large enough to accommodate the root system. Choose a well-draining potting mix and make sure to water regularly.

5. When is the best time to harvest kohlrabi?

Kohlrabi is typically ready to harvest about 8-10 weeks after planting, when the bulb is about 2-3 inches in diameter. Cut the stem at ground level and remove the leaves before storing in the refrigerator.

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