We love growing microgreens, but sometimes miss the bright colors that full-grown plants bring. Lucky for us, there are some microgreens out there that aren’t your run-of-the-mill grass green. So, for a splash of color in our microgreen garden, we’re adding kohlrabi microgreens, a vision in purple or white!
Maybe you’ve heard of kohlrabi, passed it in the grocery store, or even eaten it. If so, then you know it’s a funky-looking plant, which is why many gardeners shy away from it. The microgreen version of kohlrabi is much more toned down in appearance and surprisingly easy to grow. Its sprouts have beautiful, lilac or pale-white colored stems that produce two vivid green, lobed cotyledons.
Kohlrabi microgreens aren’t all looks, though. Each sprout contains lots of Vitamin C as well as calcium potassium, Vitamin B6, fiber, iron, and many other nutritional vitamins, nutrients, and antioxidants. These purple greens contain health benefits for your heart and blood pressure and can even help fight disease and cancer! With their sweet turnip or broccoli flavor, kohlrabi microgreens are a tasty addition to most dishes.
Are you ready to take the leap into kohlrabi territory? We assure you that the microgreens are very simple to grow (and quite fast too!). In just 1-2 weeks, you’ll be enjoying a harvest of some winsome white or vividly violet veggies.
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Growing Kohlrabi Microgreens
Kohlrabi microgreens are as basic as it gets, so this process can be applied to many other microgreen plants too.
We have a fantastic intro-to-microgreens video you can watch that covers the essential principles, and you can find that right here!
Here are the basic necessities for growing kohlrabi microgreens. You’ll be able to reuse most of these for other microgreen projects.
- Seeds: you won’t get far without some kohlrabi seeds! We’ll provide a few suggestions below.
- Containers: choose something shallow, like a simple seed-starting tray (you need at least 2)
- Growing medium: seed-starting soil mix or coconut coir is perfect for microgreens
- Grow Light: we prefer a T5 fluorescent light
- A misting bottle
- Kitchen shears
Our favorite microgreens seeds come from True Leaf Market. Their seeds are high-quality and have great germination. Here are a few of our personal favorites for kohlrabi:
Choose your kohlrabi microgreens seeds with care, especially when it comes to color. While most varieties are purple, some are white (like the Early White Vienna). You can definitely grow white kohlrabi seeds as microgreens, but you’ll need a variety like Purple Vienna to get that beautiful color (the health benefits will be the same).
Microgreens, kohlrabi or otherwise, need fine-grained soil. Seed-starting soil mix is perfect for this since it’s formulated just for seeds and micro plants. Coconut coir is another great option because it holds water well, contains nutrients, and is ultra-eco-friendly.
Lastly, any microgreen benefits greatly from a grow light. While this is the priciest material, it can be used for crop after crop with excellent results! Microgreens grow fast, healthy, and uniform when their light source is about a foot directly above them. When the light is displaced, like sunlight through a window, the micro greens will lean to the side and grow unevenly. Having a grow light for each microgreen tray is an investment that’s well worth it in the end.
Purple kohlrabi seeds are small, hard, and round. Because of their size and how easily they germinate, they don’t need to be soaked beforehand.
Let’s start growing our kohlrabi microgreens by filling up the trays. You’ll need two trays for each crop, one with drainage holes and one without. Since they need to be the same size, we recommend buying holeless trays and punching holes in one of them.
Fill the holed tray ¾ full of growing medium. Level the surface and then moisten it with the spray bottle. Then, using your fingers or a shaker bottle, sprinkle the purple kohlrabi seeds all across the surface. They’re known to bounce off the soil and out of the tray, so sprinkle them very close to the surface. The kohlrabi microgreens seeds should densely cover the soil without overlapping (you’ll need about 20 seeds per square inch).
Instead of covering the would-be plants with topsoil, place the second, holeless tray directly on top of them. The tray should literally be sitting on the soil surface. Ensure that the seeds are completely in the dark and add a small weight (up to 5 pounds) on top of the cover tray.
Keep the kohlrabi microgreens seeds in the dark for the next 2-3 days while they germinate. During that time, the purple kohlrabi seedlings will grow baby stems that collectively push up the cover tray and its weight. When you see this happening, you can remove the tray and move on to the next growth phase.
Now that the cover tray is off, you may notice that the kohlrabi microgreens are pale and leaning over. Place the growing tray directly under the grow light and start giving them around 12 hours of artificial sunlight each day. They’ll quickly straighten up and turn a lovely purple with green leaves.
Like most plants, water the kohlrabi microgreens when the soil starts to dry out. Unlike most plants though, microgreens have to be watered from the bottom instead of overhead. Even though they’re easy to grow, micro plants are very susceptible to bacteria growth and disease – especially when the plants and soil surface are moist.
To bottom water your microgreens, grab the tray you used as a cover and add a couple of inches of water. Set the microgreens tray inside it and let the soil take its fill for about 10 minutes (it should have a medium amount of water). The end result will be moist soil and perfectly dry microgreens.
After a week, your kohlrabi microgreens should be a couple of inches tall and sporting some handsome, green cotyledons. Once those tender green leaves have completely opened, you can start to harvest them. Kohlrabi microgreens can be harvested over about a week, which is until their first true leaf grows in. Once they do, the flavor profile will become more bitter and the nutritional value may change.
After cleaning them well, use your kitchen shears to snip off the kohlrabi microgreens in bunches. Cut the stems just above the soil level. The purple kohlrabi microgreens will not grow back after the harvest, so you can add the soil to the compost bin and reuse the container for a different plant (maybe some broccoli sprouts?).
Any gardener will tell you that produce tastes best fresh (and homegrown!). Eat your microgreens harvest immediately for the best flavor and health benefits. Tender kohlrabi microgreens taste fantastic when added raw to salads, sandwiches, eggs, and anything else you cook up.
Store any unused microgreens in the fridge. They’ll last well if you remove as much moisture as possible, so don’t wash or soak the greens until you’re about to eat them. Keep them in a sealed container and wrapped in a paper towel. With this storage system, your microgreens harvest should keep their fresh taste for up to a week.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: How do you use kohlrabi microgreens?
A: Kohlrabi purple microgreens taste best raw and fresh, so eat them as a salad base or lightly garnish sandwiches, omelets, or pasta with them.
Q: What does kohlrabi microgreen taste like?
A: These microgreens contain the flavor of a lightly sweet turnip or broccoli. Because kohlrabi is a brassica plant, it’s safe to assume that its flavor will be reminiscent of any other related cole crop, such as a radish or cabbage.
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