Growing Tatsoi From Seeds – A Full Planting Guide

Growing Tatsoi Plants

Hello friends, we are here today with a new topic of growing Tatsoi. Tatsoi plant is an Asian variety of Brassica Rapa that is grown for its greens. The Tatsoi plants have dark green and spoon-shaped leaves (which form a thick rosette).

Tatsoi is also known as spinach mustard and it is a delicious leafy green that you can easily grow in containers or the garden. If you’re new to gardening, the Tatsoi plant is great because it grows so fast and isn’t particularly finicky. These greens prefer cool weather conditions, so plant your seeds in the spring for an early summer crop and again in the late summer to enjoy a fall harvest. Growing Tatsoi plant is a worthwhile adventure that yields tons of tasty leaves to spice up your dishes. The taste and flavor of the Tatsoi are similar to Bokchoi.

Tatsoi is packed with a slew of nutrients includes vitamin C, carotenoids, folate, calcium, and potassium. These all nutrients and the powerful phytochemicals found in Tatsoi greens make this Asian salad green and stir-fry ingredient a healthy and low-calorie addition to anyone’s diet. This information may be helpful in growing Tatsoi in pots or containers, and growing Tatsoi in the Greenhouse. Now, let us get into the details of growing Tatsoi plants from seeds.

A Step-by-Step Planting Guide for Growing Tatsoi from Seeds

Different Varieties of Tatsoi

There are different varieties of Tatsoi available, you will probably find white or green stalks varieties. There is a nice savoyed plant variety that grows a little larger and more upright. Specialty seed catalogs may offer the below;

‘Black Summer’ – Plant in fall and harvest into the winter season, it has very dark leaves

‘Ching-Chiang’ – It is a quick-growing dwarf variety that can handle early spring weather

‘Joi Choi’ – A medium-sized plant with good bolt-resistance

‘Mei Qing Choi’ – It is a dwarf variety with a fast growth rate and tight green heads

‘Win-Win’ – It has extra-large, dense heads; slow to bolt

Some other Tatsoi varieties are;

Koji – This hybrid Tatsoi variety has large, savoyed leaves and is good for bunching, which makes it ideal if you are selling at your local farmer’s market. Also, it is more heat tolerant than other varieties. Plant about 12-inches apart for full-size heads.

Red Cloud – This beautiful hybrid plant variety grows upright and has burgundy-colored leaves. Great for bunching or baby leaf and has a long and tender stem. Then, it adds real color and pizzaz to a winter salad.

Soil Requirement for Growing Tatsoi Plants

For growing Tatsoi plants provide well-draining soil with a lot of compost or other organic matter is good for plant growth. Tatsoi plant grows in soil with a pH level of 6.5–7.0 is recommended.

Best Time for Growing Tatsoi Plants

Tatsoi plants grow well during the colder months. The Tatsoi plants can even thrive well in extreme cool weather and can be harvested out from under a snowfall.

Conditions Required for Growing Tatsoi Plants

  • Plant seeds in spring or fall when the temperature level is 15–24°C. Tatsoi plant is a cool-weather crop it doesn’t do well in heat, but it can withstand light frost. Plant the seeds in the spring for a late spring or early summer crop and again in the late summer for a fall harvest.
  • Tatsoi plant grows so easily from seed; you don’t need to buy seedlings or transplants from a nursery.
  • Tatsoi greens are fast growers. Full-grown Tatsoi plants are ready to harvest 45 days after planting seeds.
  • Select a location that gets 6 hours of sunlight daily. Tatsoi plant thrives in full sun, so plant seeds in a spot that gets 5-6 hours of sunlight daily to ensure an ample harvest. They will tolerate partial shade, if necessary.
  • Tatsoi plant likes cool weather conditions, but spring frost may make it bolt, so think of also starting seeds indoors 6 weeks before the last frost and then transplanting outdoors.
  • Thin the plants to at least 6 inches apart once they are 2 to 4 inches tall. Water 1 inch per week and then add a layer of mulch to retain moisture.
  • Tatsoi plant grows well in containers. If you’re growing Tatsoi in a container, position it in a warm and sunny window.
  • If you’re growing Tatsoi outside, look for a location that gets shade during the hottest part of the day.
  • Water your Tatsoi plant with 1 inch of water each week. Laying a 2 to 3-inch layer of hardwood mulch will aid in water retention and regulate soil temperature levels.

When To Sow Tatsoi Seeds

In cooler regions sow Tatsoi seeds during spring or summer, from September to February, as long as any chance of frost has passed. In temperate and frost-prone warmer regions sow Tatsoi seeds from September to March. In subtropical and frost-free regions sow Tatsoi seeds from March to September. In tropical regions sow Tatsoi seeds during the dry season from April to August.

How to Sow Tatsoi seeds

Sow Tatsoi seeds about 6 mm deep, spacing or thinning plants to about 20 cm apart to give them room to grow.

Process of Growing Tatsoi from Seed

Sow Tatsoi seed outdoors 2 weeks before the last frost, or at the start of fall 6 weeks before the first frost. Avoid planting Tatsoi seeds or seedlings in late spring and summer. Tatsoi is not suited for warm conditions and it thrives in the cool late spring. Heat causes bolting and flowering, this makes Tatsoi bitter in flavor.

Tatsoi plant prefers well-drained, well-worked, loamy, or sandy soils rich in nitrogen. Tatsoi thrives outdoors in raised beds or prepared ground soil. If gardening in-ground or in a raised bed is not an option, no problem and it will do well in carefully placed containers indoors and outdoors. If you have to grow Tatsoi indoors, find a south-facing window with plenty of space to place your container.

To sow Tatsoi seed, amend unprepared soil with compost at an average depth of 10 inches. Tatsoi plant grows outward in a radial fashion, so ensure there aren’t other plants crowded out in that process. Drop Tatsoi seeds in the trench at 1 to 2 inches apart. Seed germination rates are high at 75%, so drop 2 to 3 per spot. As Tatsoi seedlings mature, thin them to 6 to 8 inches apart. This gives plants plenty of room to grow and starts to mature in 6 weeks.

Plant seedlings in the same temperature conditions you would for seeds but a couple of weeks later, with temperatures between 10 and 26°C. Harvest when leaves are mature throughout the season until the flowering stage. Starts to reach harvest maturity at about 3 weeks.  

Tips for Growing Tatsoi Plants

In case if you miss this: How To Grow Beans At Home.

Tips for Growing Tatsoi Plants
Tips for Growing Tatsoi
  • Tatsoi plant is easy to grow. Select a growing site for Tatsoi that receives full sun or light shade. Ensure your soil is free draining; consider growing Tatsoi in raised beds or containers if the garden soil is too compacted or heavy with clay. Dig lots of organic matter like well-rotted animal manures, compost, and worm castings through your vegetable patch a few weeks before sowing Tatsoi to help improve your soil structure and feed your growing plants.
  • Fertilize Tatsoi plants every few weeks with organic liquid fertilizer, compost tea, or worm juice for rapid growth and healthy plants. Tatsoi plants are low growing, so be sure to mulch around them well with sugar cane or Lucerne mulch as otherwise Tatsoi plants are easily swamped by weeds.  Also, a thick layer of mulch helps keep their root systems cool and retains moisture.  It is frost hardy and will tolerate temperatures well into the negatives without damage to the leaves. Frosts will however cause
  • Tatsoi plant will self-sow readily throughout your garden if growing conditions are favorable; remove the flower heads as they form if this becomes a problem.
  • You can grow Tatsoi plants in full sun if you keep them well-watered. If the Tatsoi plants start to dry out, they will bolt, i.e. flower, and then set seed.
  • Tatsoi plant wants rich, well-draining soil. If you have predominantly clay or sandy soil, you must probably grow it in raised beds or containers. You should test the pH in your soil.
  • Then, make sure that you don’t allow your Tatsoi plants to dry out. This will cause them to bolt. Keep them well-watered. A thick layer of mulch will help the soil retain moisture and prevent weeds from growing and competing with your plants for water.

Companion Planting for Tatsoi

Tatsoi plant grows well with many other greens found in oriental salad mixtures, and many other vegetables like Beetroot, Carrot, Lettuce, Peas, and other greens like Mustard, Kale, Mizuna, and Spinach. Also, it is a good companion plant for strawberries and herbs like Marjoram.

Spacing Requirement for Growing Tatsoi Plants

Single Plants – 7 inches (20cm) each way (minimum)

Rows – 7 inches (20cm) with 7 inches (20cm) row gap (minimum)

Germination Time for Tatsoi Seeds

The germination time for Tatsoi seeds is between 7 and 10 days.

Tatsoi Planting Process

Tatsoi plant is a good intermediate to cool season crop and in areas with cooler summers can be sown almost all year round. For the best quality, plants need to grow very quickly and are greedy feeders, so prepare your beds very well with lots of compost.

Tatsoi seeds are quick, germinating within 7 to 10 days, and can be sown directly into garden beds where they will receive full sun. Water regularly and if your soil is well prepared and fertile, no further feeding can be required, but if growth slows down, or you are growing them in pots, you may feed your plants every 4 weeks with a balanced fertilizer that is high in nitrogen. Mulch the soil with a layer of compost and pull the weeds out gently by hand, because the Tatsoi plants resent soil disturbance.

Tatsoi plant grows rapidly that fully mature plants can be harvested in just 45 to 50 days. Also, it can be harvested at almost any stage of its growth, with individual leaves being harvested as required, or the whole plant can be harvested when mature. Many baby leaf varieties can regrow rapidly for multiple cuttings.

The plant’s maturity is signaled by flowering shoots arising from the foliage, and eventually, the plant will sprout Tatsoi seeds, marking its life cycle’s migration. If you allow a couple of Tatsoi plants to go to seed and collect them for next season’s planting, you will never have to purchase seed again, making this one of the most economical plants to grow.

Water and Humidity Requirements for Growing Tatsoi Plants

As with most leafy vegetables, the Tatsoi plant needs regular watering or it will bolt to seed. The Tatsoi plants need moist soil for better growth. So, water the Tatsoi plants about1 an inch of water per week.

Tatsoi plants like generous amounts of water, up to 1 inch per week. Keep soil moist, but not drenched. Water Tatsoi plants daily in the morning for plant growth. Watering the plant at this time prevents overheated soil temps which damage cold-loving Asian greens.

Since all brassicas are prone to mildew, use a soaker hose or drip irrigation to water at the base of the Tatsoi plant for root absorption. Avoid wetting the leaves if at all possible. Watering could not be necessary if heavy rains or blanketed snow occurred recently.

Process of Growing Tatsoi in Containers or Pots

  • Tatsoi plants can also be grown in containers. Select a medium-sized (2-gallon) pot or a rectangular pot with about 8-10 inches in depth. Observe proper spacing in between each plant. Tatsoi plant leaves can stretch out more than a foot in diameter from end to end.
  • Choose a spot that gets at least 4 hours of sunshine (preferably in the morning). If you see the Tatsoi leaves turning brown or yellow at the tips, it could mean too much sunlight exposure. Then, simply provide some shade in the afternoon and consider watering more frequently.
  • Tatsoi is less affected by pests. Common pests for Tatsoi plants include cabbage worms, slugs, leafhoppers, and caterpillars. The key to controlling pests in Tatsoi plants is early detection. Regularly check the core of the plant if there are visible signs of pest infestation such as insect poop or larvae eggs. Then, spray a neem-based solution once a week to prevent or eradicate pests, applying it generously on the top and bottom leaves, as well as the stems.
  • The Tatsoi plant can still be revived even if most of the leaves are destroyed by pests. Cut the infected pant leaves, leaving around 2 inches at the bottom. It will grow back its full leaves in about 2 to 3 weeks.   
  • Harvest Tatsoi leaves in about 4-5 weeks from the time you sow the seeds. You may opt to cut mature plant leaves and regrow the plant for another round of harvests in another 3 weeks. To ensure a regular supply, sow new seeds every 2 weeks, and transfer each batch of new seedlings as you begin to harvest the earlier batches.

Fertilizer Requirement for Growing Tatsoi Plants

Mix a light application of a balanced organic fertilizer into the soil before planting Tatsoi. Firstly, prepare soil ahead of time with nitrogen-rich addendums, like chicken manure compost; rabbit pellet compost, or coffee grounds. Then, these provide a slow release of nutrition throughout the season. For subsequent applications, a reliable full spectrum fertilizer gives Tatsoi plants a boost. Application of fertilizing Tatsoi plants once per week at dusk in temperate times of the year with liquid fertilizers, or per manufacturer’s recommendations for granular slow-release fertilizer.

Apply fertilizer several times for Tatsoi during the brief growing season. A fish emulsion fertilizer is recommended for plant growth, but you can also use any high nitrogen fertilizer such as 20-20-20. Nitrogen promotes foliage growth and you are growing Tatsoi for its leaves.

Never fertilize Tatsoi plants in freezing temperatures or close to the last frost when they are in a stressed state. In this same vein, do not fertilize a sick Tatsoi plant. In these sensitive times, Tatsoi plants get burnt and damaged by fertilizers. For liquid applications, an initial soil soak is appropriate once the Tatsoi plant is established. In subsequent weeks, apply a lighter foliar spray and space fertilization far enough apart to prevent malnourishment.

Pruning Tatsoi Plants

Remove damaged or browning foliage from the Tatsoi as they appear. Then, check daily to ensure damage to Tatsoi is not related to fungal or insect pests. As Tatsoi plants bolt in warm weather conditions, remove any flowers and add them to a salad or eat them raw. Though, leaves can still be harvested up until the season is over if Tatsoi bolts. The mustard flavor of Tatsoi decreases into bitterness at the point of flowering.

Tatsoi Plant Care

Tatsoi plants require less care for proper growth. But taking additional care will help the Tatsoi plants to grow well.

The additional caring of the Tatsoi plants;

Mulching – The mulching process helps to retain moisture into the soil. And it helps to control most of the weeds from the garden. So laying a 2 to 3-inch layer of mulch will aid in water retention and regulate soil temperatures.

Controlling Weeds – Control weeds from the garden often. Because weeds consume nutrients from the soil and your Tatsoi plants will suffer. You can control the weeds by hand or by using a hoe.

Thinning – Tatsoi plants don’t develop well if they are overcrowded. So, thin the seedlings to about 6 to 8 inches when they are between 2 and 4 inches tall.

Problems and Solutions in Growing Tatsoi Plants

Pests and diseases are generally less in Tatsoi plants. Although, if you notice any pests in plants then apply homemade organic solutions for controlling.

Tatsoi is disease-free because it is grown during the cooler seasons when insect life is not that active. But, the ground-hugging leaves are extremely attractive to slugs, and insects also love their tender leaves. When the weather warms up in spring, cabbage worms, cabbage loopers, and flea beetles can riddle the plant leaves with holes.  To avoid this, protect with row covers, or use good organic insecticides. Aphids and whiteflies are less of a problem unless you experience a very warm spring season.

Flea beetles – Flea beetles are nemesis and can be a problem for many crops, including Tatsoi. These tiny bugs chew small holes in the young plant leaves. Control Flea beetles by using straw mulch and covering new planting areas with garden fabric row covers.

Cabbage Looper – Cabbage looper is also another problem in Tatsoi plants. Control this problem organically with Spinosad and use row covers.

Blackleg – symptoms are brown or black lesions on the roots and stem. The best control for this Blackleg is good management with crop rotation, good airflow, and underground irrigation. Overhead sprinklers can spread the disease. Control includes destroying diseased plants. Do not compost them. Actinovate and copper are organic fungicides you can try, but prevention is best.

Downy Mildew – Downy mildew disease causes leaves to wither and die, which of course ruins your Tatsoi. Neem is a good organic remedy for mildews. Make sure you have good air circulation and water plants from the bottom with drip irrigation to controlling this disease.

When and How to Harvest Tatsoi

Normally, Tatsoi will be ready to harvest in 40 to 50 days. To harvest Tatsoi, take a sharp knife and slice the head off one inch from the ground. As long as the weather is not too hot (spring/summer) or too cold (fall/winter), the plants must resprout for a cut and come again harvest.

Pluck or cut off individual leaves 40 to 50 days to start harvesting. You can start harvesting Tatsoi as early as 25 days after planting if you want to enjoy the tender baby greens. Otherwise, give your Tatsoi plants about 45 days to mature before harvesting leaves.

Once your Tatsoi plants are full-grown, continue picking individual leaves or pull up the entire plant for harvesting. Harvest them when you up the whole plant. The stalks have a fresh and sweet taste that works wonderfully in salad mixes. Store harvested Tatsoi leaves and stalks in the fridge to keep them fresh. Be sure to rinse them off carefully with water before eating them. That’s all folks about Growing Tatsoi Plants, happy gardening!

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