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Chinese cabbage, also known as Japanese cabbage, Beijing cabbage or celery cabbage, originally comes from Asia, as the name suggests. But the tasty vegetables are also very popular here in autumn and winter. This is mainly due to the fact that it also contains vitamin B in addition to other valuable minerals. In addition, the cabbage tastes very mild and is easy to digest. It is also easy to grow in your own garden. If a few care instructions are followed, a rich harvest can be expected in autumn.

Chinese cabbage

Brassica rapa ssp. chinensis or Chinese cabbage has become a popular winter vegetable in the local latitudes. The cabbage variety contains many vitamins and minerals as well as folic acid and mustard oils. These also have the effect of natural antibiotics. Chinese cabbage can be eaten raw or steamed. The cabbage, which is actually two years old, is usually grown here as a one-year culture, cared for over the summer and harvested in autumn. There are also other interesting facts about Peking cabbage:

  • Cruciferous family
  • probably a cross between pak choi and turnip
  • Cultivated in China since the 5th century
  • uncomplicated cultivation
  • good storage skills
  • quick preparation
  • bolt-resistant varieties for year-round cultivation
  • nevertheless predominantly autumn cultivation
  • cylindrical heads of cabbage
  • light yellow to light green leaves

soil conditions and location

In order for the cabbage to have the right conditions for good growth, it needs the right soil and the ideal location. The garden bed should therefore be sunny to partially shaded. A place sheltered from the wind, for example in a corner of the garden or in front of a hedge, fence or wall is also ideal. The bed should also be well prepared and drainage laid in advance. The floor, on the other hand, should be prepared as follows:

  • Mix compost and horn shavings underground
  • loosen up well
  • should be deep and meaningful
  • possibly add sand or gravel
  • pH between 6 and 7
  • Check with commercially available measuring set

It makes sense to prepare the garden bed for growing cabbage a couple of weeks before planting. In this way, the microorganisms in the compost can decompose well and are immediately available as fertilizer.

notice: If you grow Chinese cabbage every year, then you have to be aware that it should only be planted again in the same bed every three years. You should therefore choose three beds right from the start, which you work through one after the other year after year until you can start again with the first bed in the third year.

planting guide

If the plants are to be used in the bed, then you should pay attention to various things. It is important that the soil of the entire bed is first dug out so that drainage can be created. Because the Japanese cabbage does not tolerate waterlogging. A layer of gravel or sand is therefore first placed in the excavated bed before the excavated soil enriched with compost is filled in again. After that, the following planting instructions should be observed:

  • create rows
  • each row 30 to 40 centimeters apart
  • tension ropes for this
  • here along the plants can be used
  • also pay attention to the same distance within the row
  • dig small holes
  • Add compost and horn meal directly into the planting hole
  • Insert cabbage plants and press down the soil well
  • then water well
  • mulching around plants keeps moisture in soil

tip: The mulch on the garden soil also offers a good opportunity for the plants to constantly receive nutrients, which decompose from the mulch and get into the soil with the irrigation water.


After planting, the cabbage naturally needs the ideal care so that it can also be harvested. The vegetable is a so-called heavy feeder, which means that the plant needs a lot of water and nutrients. It is essential to pay attention to this during the summer months. Nevertheless, Chinese cabbage is easier to care for than other types of cabbage. After the seedlings are planted, it only takes about eight weeks for a large cabbage to form. When fertilizing and watering, you should pay particular attention to the following:

  • always water enough
  • in the early morning or late evening hours
  • not directly over the cabbages
  • water only to the roots
  • fertilize with compost
  • Add horn meal
  • throughout growth
  • fertilize every two weeks
  • add nettle manure to the irrigation water

In between, it is advisable to loosen the soil in the bed from time to time. For this purpose, a rake is used carefully between the plants.

tip: In order for the cabbage to grow well, you must not plant it together with or in succession to other types of cabbage or other cruciferous vegetables such as radish, canola or mustard in a bed. Good plant neighbors, on the other hand, are peas, celery or tomatoes.

The right moment

June is the right time to sow the Chinese cabbage yourself. So that the seeds and seedlings are protected, it is advisable to sow them in small seed pots. So that the large heads of cabbage can then be harvested in October, the seedlings, which were either self-grown or purchased from the trade, should be planted in August. Alternatively, the seeds can also be placed directly in the prepared bed in June. Here you should pay attention to the planting distance, which should also be observed when planting.

tip: It makes more sense to choose pots for sowing when you sow your Chinese cabbage yourself when you grow it. Because then you can only use the strong plants in the bed afterwards. When sowing directly into the bed, on the other hand, holes in the row of plants can occur if not all the seeds have sprout.


You can usually start harvesting in October. Then the cabbages have reached a stately size. Japanese cabbage tolerates a few minus temperatures of down to -4° C. Therefore, the complete harvest should take place before or during the first night frosts. You can harvest in two different ways. So it should be considered beforehand whether the bed of the Chinese cabbage should be removed for direct use in the kitchen or for storage. Therefore, the two types of harvest look like this:

  • Pull the cabbage out of the ground with the root
  • is good for storage
  • use a sharp knife
  • separate stalk directly above ground
  • remove bracts
  • use in kitchen
  • ideally fresh
  • use up after a few days at the latest
  • Store wrapped in a damp cloth in the refrigerator
  • alternatively store it

tip: So that your Chinese cabbage grows particularly well, simply plant a few marigolds (Tagetes nana) in the bed between the cabbages. Because these promote the growth of this type of cabbage and can drive away rootlets that are harmful to the cabbage.


Chinese cabbage can be stored very well. The harvest from a bed can therefore be stored well for the winter and does not have to be used up immediately after harvesting. When storing, you should pay attention to the following so that you can use the cabbages throughout the winter:

  • best method to harvest with roots
  • cool room and high humidity
  • Put roots in boxes with damp sand
  • lasts until the end of January
  • cut heads remove bracts
  • wrap in newspaper
  • put upright tightly in wooden box
  • Check heads regularly for brown leaves
  • remove them immediately
  • wrap in paper again

notice: For longer storage, it definitely makes sense to harvest the cabbages with the roots and put them straight into the sand box. However, the storage of the already cut and defoliated heads is only recommended for a shorter period of about one month. The Japanese cabbage will keep in the fridge for up to a month.

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