Chinese Cabbage Farming Guide:
Introduction of Chinese Cabbage Farming:- Chinese cabbage is a leafy vegetable native to china province. It is also being grown in other Asian countries including India. Chinese cabbage is a leading market vegetable in China, Japan, Korea and Southeast Asian region. Chinese cabbage is closely related to vegetables like broccoli, or cauliflower. Chinese cabbage can be used in many dishes such as boiled in soups, salads or stir fries. In India, Fresh leaves can be used for curry/chutney/leaf fry. Though this cabbage is called with different names in Asian countries, outside world knows this vegetable as “Chinese Cabbage”. The Chinese cabbage crop is a cool season annual vegetable crop which thrives best when the days are short and mild. Chinese cabbage tastes mild and aromatic and it is good source of calcium and vitamin ‘C’. If you are looking for low calorie leafy vegetable, this cabbage is perfect one for you. When it comes to vegetable and plant description, Chinese cabbage inner leaves are in light yellow colour and this plant is like long (oblong) shaped head with tightly contained crinkly, thick, light green leaves with white notable veins that can grow up to 15-30 cm tall. Fresh leaves and tender shoots are essential parts of this plant. Commercial cultivation of Chinese cabbage is very much profitable as this leafy vegetable has very good demand in the local markets especially in Asian countries. Let us discuss about growing Chinese cabbage in the following article. This wonderful leafy vegetable can be grown successfully in controlled environments such as greenhouse and polyhouse.
Family Name of Chinese Cabbage:- Brassicaceae.
Botanical/Scientific Name of Chinese Cabbage:- Brassica rapa L. subsp. chinensis.
Genus of Chinese Cabbage:- Brassica L.
Health Benefits of Chinese Cabbage:- Some of the health benefits of Chinese Cabbages are given below.
- Chinese cabbage helps regulating blood pressure.
- This cabbage has low calories hence good for weight loss.
- Chinese cabbage is a good source of vitamin ‘C’ and potassium.
- It helps to fight anaemia and fatigue.
- Chinese cabbage is rich in antioxidants and excellent for healthy skin.
- It is also very good for eye health.
- Finally, it is a wonderful leafy vegetable that boosts the immune system.
Common Names of Chinese Cabbage:- Chinese mustard cabbage, Mutsina.
Other Names of Chinese Cabbage:- Napa Cabbage, Sui choy, Celery cabbage, Chinese leaf, Won bok / Wongbok, Wombok, Bok Choy, Oriental cabbage and Pechay baguio.
Climate Requirement for Chinese Cabbage Farming:- Chinese cabbage thrives best during the cooler periods of the growing season. It prefers an average temperature of 15°C to 22°C during crop early growth. Temperatures below 0°C are tolerated for short time periods but too low temperature can induce premature bolting of the crop. Chinese cabbage is a cool seasonal crop and needs good amount of water supply throughout plant growth period. However, The most critical stage of watering is during cabbage head formation. This crop grows best in winter and should have proper irrigation for good yields.
Soil Requirement of Chinese Cabbage Farming:- Chinese cabbage can be grown on wide variety of soils ranging from sandy loam to textured loam. However, well-drained sandy loam soils with good organic matter are proved to be good for excellent yield and quality produce. The idea pH range for Chinese cabbage farming is 5.5 – 7.0. Lower pH soils always lead to calcium or magnesium deficiency hence they must be compensated with required nutrients. Avoid soils which are extremely sandy and claylike. As this crop requires plenty of water, a good moisture holding soil is very well recommended for growing the Chinese cabbage.
Propagation in Chinese Cabbage Farming:- Chinese cabbage propagation is done from seed. Seedling can be raised on nursery beds or greenhouse and can be transplanted to main field. Even they can be directly sown on field beds.
Land Preparation in Chinese Cabbage Farming:- Land should be prepared well enough to have fine tilth of soil. Soil can be tilled by using fork or hoe. Land should be prepared at least 2 months in advance of planting. Chisel Plough or Disc plough can be used to prepare the land. Any weeds or any plant residues should be removed in order to make field weed free. In case of sandy soils, rotary hoed cultivation is preferred to make a good seedbed.
Seed Rate, Planting, and Spacing in Chinese Cabbage Farming:- With the single grain seed technique, about 500–600 grams of seed/hectare is required, for normal and traditional seed technique about 1 kg of seed / hectare is recommended. If traditional or normal seed technique is practiced, the seedlings must be thinned out after 2 to 4 weeks after sowing. In case of direct seeding in the field, make a planting furrow about 2-3 cm using a hand hoe. Planting should be done in seedbeds, in row spaced 15 to 20 cm distance. Seeds should be sown 1-2 cm apart within the row. Seeds should be sprinkled into the furrow and covered with 1 to 1.5 cm of soil.
In case of transplantation of seedlings, Chinese cabbage seedlings are grown in trays which hold 100 to 125 plants in nurseries or greenhouse and the individual cell-pack may have a diameter of only 15 mm and a depth of 10 mm. Seedlings can transplant when the seedlings are about 15 to 16 cm tall or 2 to 3 weeks after sowing. Generally it requires 75,000 to 80,000 seedlings / hectare and the transplanting method is used for the spring crop and the seeding technique is used for the fall crop.
Irrigation in Chinese Cabbage Farming:- Well, Chinese cabbage crop requires good irrigation throughout its lifecycle or growth period. The frequency of irrigation actually depends on soil type, climate , and plant or crop age. However, in case of Napa/Chinese cabbage it is better to irrigate 3 times a week for sandy soils, if the soil is sandy loam type, it may require 2 times a week. make sure to maintain constant moisture at plant roots. Irrigation is very critical and any water stress should be avoided at head forming stage. In case of heavy rains, make sure to drain out the water from the field as early as possible. Drip irrigation, flood irrigation or micro jet sprinkler irrigation can be adopter for better water utilization.
Manures and Fertilizers in Chinese Cabbage Farming:- This crop responds very well to manures and fertilizers. Application of nutrients is very important for quality produce and high yields.
- Nitrogen (N): 160–200 kg/ha
- Phosphorus (P2O5): 80–120 kg/ha
- Potash (K2O): 180–250 kg/ha
- Calcium (C) : 100–150 kg/ha
- Magnesium (Mg): 20–40 kg/ha
Best results can be achieved when the nitrogen (N) is broadcasted before planting, and also side-dressed in 1 or more applications 10 to 12 days apart following thinning or within one month of transplanting in the field.
Intercultural Operations in Chinese Cabbage Farming:- Weed control is very important in any successful horticulture crops. Weeds can be controlled by hand (hand hoeing or hand pulling), machine or herbicides / weedicides. Mulching is another practice of checking weeds growth which is also useful in keeping moisture intact. Earthing up should be done after 2 months of planting. shallow cultivation may be given in the rows to check any growing weeds.
Pests and Diseases in Chinese Cabbage Farming:- The following are the pests and disease found in Chinese Cabbage Farming.
- Pests and Control Measures: The main pests in Chinese cabbage farming are Bagrada bugs, Cutworms, Aphids, and Spider mites. For symptoms and control measures, contact any technical officer in horticulture department. These Pests can also be controlled by removing weeds, affected plants and keeping the field clean.
- Diseases and Control Measures: The most common and serious diseases affecting Chinese cabbage crop are downy mildew, powdery mildews, club root and black rot. These diseases can be controlled
- by using clean seeds or removing all infected plants. For symptoms and chemical control of these diseases, contact your local horticulture department.
Note: It is always advised to contact your local horticulture department for symptoms of diseases and pests and their control measures in Chinese Cabbage Farming.
Harvesting in Chinese Cabbage Farming:- Chinese cabbage becomes ready for harvesting within 70 to 100 days after planting depending variety and other factors. The Chinese cabbage leaves can be harvested by hand when the leaves are fully developed. The leaves should be cut (dislodged) at the plant base. In general, harvesting can be done when the plant reaches the 8-leaf stage and usually this happens after 70 days to 100 days after planting.
Post-Harvesting in Chinese Cabbage Farming:- The following activities should be performed after harvesting the Chinese cabbage crop.
- Cleaning: The cabbage leaves should be washed to remove the soil or any dirt immediately after harvesting from the field.
- Storage: As the shelf life of Chinese cabbage is short , one should make sure to store the leaves in cool place.
- Transport: Chinese cabbage requires cooling transport to retain the turgidity of the leaves.
- Marketing: Local markets or any vegetable vendors are best source of marketing. Even you can sell fresh leaves at farm gate. Chinese cabbage should be sold within 2 days after harvesting.
Yield in Chinese Cabbage Farming:- Any agriculture or horticulture crop yield depends on many factors like cultivar (variety), soil type, climate and crop cultivation practices. On an average one can obtain a yield of 4 to 5 kg/ sq. meter plantation.
Bottom Line of Chinese Cabbage Farming:- It is defiantly a profitable vegetable farming business provided there good farming/cultivation practices are in place.