Sowing: Prepare the soil with compost or organic matter; Chinese cabbage prefers full sun or partial shade, and grow best in temperatures from 45-75 F (7-24 C). Direct seeding works best, about 4-6 weeks before the last average spring frost date. Plant seeds about 12″ apart in rows about 12″ apart; germination should take place in about 10 days. For a fall crop, direct sow in July.
Growing: Keep the soil evenly moist for the healthiest growth. If the sun gets too hot, Chinese cabbage tends to “bolt” or go to seed; in long periods of heat, some kind of shade may be helpful.
Harvesting: Harvest the entire head when it feels firm but not tough, cutting it off at the surface of the soil. The young leaves that grow from the stump make wonderful salad greens.
Seed Saving: In areas where the ground freezes over winter, it will be necessary to dig up the plant before the first heavy frost; cut off the top to 3″ and store the roots in sand or sawdust over winter, and plant them again in the spring. In warmer climates, cover the plant thickly with mulch over winter. In the spring, allow the plant to flower and go to seed. When the long green pods turn brown, pick them individually. Pour boiling water over the seeds to kill any bacteria that may have formed, them let them completely dry. Remove the pods and store the seeds in a cool, dry place.
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