Chinese cabbage (Napa) is a cool vegetable. Direct sowing of Chinese cabbage (Napa) can be done in the garden as early as 4 to 6 weeks before the last average frost date in spring.
So how to grow Chinese cabbage? It takes several months to plant cabbage, but some varieties are worth the wait.
Chinese cabbage (Napa) must be harvested in cooler temperatures and in the shorter days of spring or fall before the temperature rises above 75°F (24°C). Depending on the variety, plants can take 50 to 85 days to harvest.
Chinese cabbage (Napa) is a strong, biennial annual plant. Chinese cabbage (Napa) has broad, dense, tender leaves with heavy midrib. There are several types of Chinese cabbage (Napa), some loose and some firm; plants range from 15 to 18 inches (38-45 cm) tall.
The large, long, oval leaves of Chinese cabbage (Napa) are curled and very tightly packed in an upright head. The stems are almost white and the leaves are a very light green color.
The flowers of Chinese cabbage (Napa) display the four yellow petals common in other members of the cruciferous family. However, it is best not to let the cabbage bolt (send out the flower stalks) because it signals the end of leaf growth, which is when the leaves become bitter.
Chinese cabbage (Napa) is sometimes sown in early spring for a midsummer crop, and seeds are usually started indoors a few weeks before the last frost.
In most areas, it is more common to plant Chinese cabbage (Napa) in late summer for a fall harvest. Regardless of when they are planted, they can be ready for harvest within 70 to 90 days of germination.
Botanical name: kale type oilseed rape (Pekinensis group)
Common names: Chinese cabbage, Napa cabbage, Peking cabbage, celery cabbage
Plant Type: A biennial vegetable usually harvested in the first season
Mature Size: 20 inches (50.8CM) tall, 5 inches (12.7CM) in diameter
Sunlight: Full sun, partial shade
Soil type: rich, improved soil
Soil pH: neutral (6.5 to 7.0)
Bloom time: spring or fall
Flower color: yellow
Hardiness zone: 4 to 7 (USDA)
Native range: Asia
HOW TO GROW CHINESE CABBAGE (NAPA)
Full sun is preferred for growing Chinese cabbage (Napa) in cooler areas, while partial shade is preferred for growing Chinese cabbage (Napa) in warmer areas.
Plant Chinese cabbage (Napa) in loose, well-drained but moisture-retentive soil rich in organic matter.
Add aged compost to the planting bed before sowing and side-dress the crop with compost at midseason.
Chinese cabbage (Napa) is a cool climate plant that will flower and set seed quickly in warm weather and long days.
Plant Chinese cabbage (Napa) in spring or fall in a temperature range of 45° to 75°F (7-24°C).
Sow seeds 4 to 6 weeks before the average date of the last spring frost. Sow seeds directly in the garden; seedlings transplanted into the garden may be shocked and bolted.
In areas with mild winters, plant Chinese cabbage (Napa) in late summer or fall for a late fall harvest.
PLANTING AND SPACING
Sow seeds ½ inch deep and 4 inches (10 cm) apart. Thin successful seedlings from 12 to 18 inches (30-45 cm) apart.
Space rows 18 to 30 inches (45-76 cm) apart, depending on the variety.
Large Chinese cabbage (Napa) does not transplant well. Seedlings should be started indoors in biodegradable peat or paper pots that are easy to set up in the garden.
Cabbage, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts. Do not plant with tomatoes, peppers, okra, or potatoes.
Grow in containers, Chinese cabbage (Napa) can be planted in containers at least 8 inches (20 cm) wide.
In larger containers, plant Chinese cabbage (Napa) on 10-inch (25 cm) centers. The plants are heat sensitive, so move them to a cooler location when the weather gets warm.
Since Napa Chinese cabbage (Napa) has a relatively long growing season, you will want to start with rich, amended soil.
Start by digging up a few inches of organic matter, such as compost or decomposed manure. The pH of the soil is not a big concern, but the pH target range is 6.5 to 7.0.
AMOUNT OF WATER REQUIRED
Keep the soil consistently moist throughout the growing season. Typically, mature cabbage plants need 1 to 1.5 inches of water per week-supplemented by rainfall or irrigation. Add mulch to help keep soil moisture constant.
Chinese cabbage (Napa) can be grown in a sun-filled or partially shaded area. Allow at least 4-5 hours of sunlight per day. However, Chinese cabbage (Napa) should not be left in direct sunlight for more than 8 hours.
TEMPERATURE AND HUMIDITY
Chinese cabbage (Napa) can handle both warm and cool weather. In mild climates, it will grow all year long.
Most types will mature in 10 to 13 weeks. Early spring sowing can be affected by frost or cold night temperatures, which may indicate that it is time to start seeding and cause the plants to set.
If you overcome this obstacle, then warmer temperatures will also tell the plants to stop growing and focus on sowing.
While it is not impossible to plant Chinese cabbage (Napa) in the spring and early summer, sowing seeds in mid-summer will allow the plants to mature in the cooler fall.
Although Chinese cabbage (Napa) does not absolutely need fertilizer, it can benefit from compost. Alternatively, apply a fish emulsion or 20-20-20 soluble mixture once heads begin to form.
When the mind is firm, Chinese cabbage (Napa) is ready to harvest. Squeeze the head to test for maturity. Mature heads ready for harvesting will feel dense and have little give.
Chinese cabbage (Napa) is a very versatile vegetable in the kitchen. It can be used in recipes that call for regular cabbage or bok choy.
The leaves are often used as wraps for steaming or hot blanching. This is great for mild, Asian-inspired coleslaw, and it also makes for a very average Korean pickle. Roasting it brings out its natural sweetness.
COMMON PESTS AND DISEASES
Chinese cabbage (Napa) does not have the advantage of many other Asian greens that grow quickly. This makes it a common target for brassica pests and diseases, including the rhizome, cabbage yellow, black rot, and blackleg disease.
Do not plant chard where brassicas have previously grown, as these common pathogens may persist in the soil.
Chinese cabbage (Napa) can be attacked by flea beetles, aphids, and cabbage worms. Aphids can be removed by hand or repelled with a sprayer. Cabbage worms can be controlled by spraying with Bacillus thuringiensis.
Chinese cabbage (Napa) is susceptible to the yellow virus, bulbous root disease, and black rot. Plant disease-resistant varieties. Avoid handling plants when wet. Remove and destroy infected plants.
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