Gardening Tips for Chinese Cabbage That Actually Work!
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Botanically, Chinese cabbage (Brassica rapa) is more closely related to mustard and turnip greens than it is to the cabbage family. This flavorful vegetable has been called by several different names, including Hokusai and celery cabbage. It is a favorite for stir fry fans and to be used inside of egg rolls.
Chinese cabbage is closely related to bok choy, which is also part of the Brassica rapa family, except bok choy is a member of the Chinensis group.
How to Grow Chinese Cabbage
To confuse gardeners, even more, the family or real Chinese cabbages can be found as three different types barrel-shaped, cylindrical and loose-headed. However, whichever type you choose, these Chinese cabbages all have a mild-tangy flavor that some compare to the taste of mustard greens.
Where to Grow Chinese Cabbage
All varieties of these can be grown successfully in Zones 2 and warmer. Like with other greens and cabbages, Chinese cabbage thrives in cooler temperatures. The best temperature to grow this vegetable is between 60 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit. Extended periods of cool weather (40-50 degrees Fahrenheit) can cause the cabbage to bolt or flower. In the warmer regions, Chinese cabbage does best as a fall crop.
Chinese Cabbage Basic Facts
Seed germinates in 8 to 10 days. The best temperature for germination is from 60 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit, but black-eyed peas will germinate from 40 to 80 F. As with bush beans, germination in ideal temperatures will take eight to 10 days, but it can take two weeks or more if soil temperatures are below 60 F.
Plant Black Eyes Peas in the spring, as they can only be grown in warm soil, with no risk of frost or cold, generally in the late spring and throughout the summer.
86 degrees Fahrenheit. This is a heat-loving vegetable that won’t really take off until the air temperatures remain reliably warm.
You will want to grow 20-30 plants per person planning on eating them. You have to shell these buggers, like peas and it takes more plants than you would think.
First of all, it is traditional to kick off the new year with them – tons of recipes suggest it as a way to bring not only good luck, but prosperity.
These are best cooked, and are often served with greens, rice, and / or pork.
Planting Chinese Cabbage
Sow seeds directly into the ground, approximately 1/2 inch deep. If planting in the spring, plant seeds following the last frost of the season. For fall crops, Chinese cabbage can be planted about three months before the first frost. Adult plants can survive a light frost.
Seeds need to be planted in an area that has full sun but has protection from any damaging winds. The soil should be nutrient-rich with a pH that averages 7.0. The plants will have shallow roots and are not drought-resistant. It really requires constant vigilance when watching water levels. The plants need plenty of water, and the soil needs to be well-draining.
Once the plants have been established, thin it to approximately 16 inches apart. Small-head varieties can be thinned to about 12 inches apart. Keep the plants watered and feed about every two weeks with a manure tea. Some gardeners have beautiful results when feeding the plants with fish emulsion.
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Use Chinese Cabbage in Your Container Garden
Yes, this can be grown as a container plant. The container should be about 8-10 inches wide and at least 12 inches deep. The container will need proper drainage and will still need frequent watering.
Seeds started indoors do not transplant well but can be done successfully if the seeds are started in individual containers. When transplanting the plants into the garden, gardeners should be very careful of the roots not to cause any damage when moving.
Things to Watch Out For With Chinese Cabbage
There are many variants that can cause this to become bitter, including stress, low levels of sun and/or water, or poor soil conditions. Mulching the plants can help the plants retain moisture, and the plants should never be watered from above, which can promote leaf damage and disease.
Make sure you check out our other Gardening Tips!
Chinese cabbage can become bothered with most diseases and garden pests that affect other cabbages. The plants can be covered with floating covers for protection against pests like flea beetles.
This crispy gem can be harvested when the heads are tight and feel solid to the touch. The cabbage will need to be harvested before the hot summer arrives or before winter freezes depending upon when the cabbage was planted. Once the heads are firm, the entire plant can be harvested and used in a variety of recipes.
Benefits of Chinese Cabbage
I love eggs – they run about $0.08 a piece and have almost ten grams of protein. This makes them an incredibly clever way to bulk up a meal and watch your budget at the same time. We found this recipe for a Cabbage & Egg Stir Fry: