How to harvest chinese cabbage?

Chinese Cabbage

Chinese cabbage: It’s delicious and nutritious, and it can be grown in two to three months.

With a little cold weather, you can grow a Chinese cabbage crop fairly simply. The following are tips for growing and harvesting Chinese cabbage.


Growing Chinese Cabbage

Chinese cabbage can be grown in cool weather only because it bolts (goes to seed) quickly in hot weather and long days. It’s usually grown as a fall crop in the North and as a winter crop in the South.

It can be started inside and transplanted outside in the spring. However, Chinese cabbage shocks easily, and transplanting sometimes shocks it into going to seed. Therefore, it’s best to sow the seed directly in the garden and thin them to stand 8 to 12 inches apart.

Water them frequently to help the young plants grow fast and become tender. They’ll probably go to seed if growth slows down.

Harvesting Chinese Cabbage

With Chinese cabbage, the time from planting to harvest is 50 to 80 days, depending on the variety. You should harvest when the cabbage heads are compact and firm and before seed stalks form.

With a fall crop, harvest Chinese cabbage before hard-freezing weather. Cut off the whole plant at ground level.

  • Pak Choi, harvest in 47 days; produces non-heading, white, celery-like stalks with green leaves.
  • Wong Bok, harvest in 85 days, is the standard head-type Chinese cabbage.
  • Michihli, harvest in 75 days; has large heads with blanched inside leaves.

Want more information about Chinese cabbage? Try:

  • Vegetable Recipes: Quick guides to delicious meals using Chinese cabbage.
  • Vegetable Gardens: Grow a full harvest of great vegetables this year.
  • Gardening: We answer your questions about all things that come from the garden.


Your comments and tips

Post a comment or question Display Newest first | Oldest first, Show comments for Australia | for all countries 31 Aug 18, Jane (Australia – sub-tropical climate) I have some wombok growing at different stages. My biggest three have lage, widespread leaves but all the pics of wombok I can find show me long, compact vegies. Since I don’t know what the wombok should look like I don’t know if this is how it should be? Should I let them keep growing in hope that a long central core shapes itself?Or is this the way it’s meant to look? To confuse things more, I googled wombok images/Chinese cabbage and found a host of different pics but not one that looks like mine. Thanx in advance. 02 Sep 18, Mike (Australia – sub-tropical climate) The seeds could be mixed up in the packet or wrong seeds sent. I bought bok choy and end up with Chinese cabbage from an internet seed seller. I have very rich soil (too much filter press applied) and the Chinese cabbage never really developed a head. Huge plants and leaves – no head. 07 Sep 18, Jane (Australia – sub-tropical climate) Thanks Mike. I’ll have to google ‘filter press’. I bought mine from an internet seller too – same thing! 10 Sep 18, Mike (Australia – sub-tropical climate) Filter press or mill mud is the last pieces/bits of fiber and dirt etc from the process of squashing the juice out of sugar cane. Now days at our local sugar mill they put the fire ash in with it. Very high in P. It doesn’t seem much but it has something in it that gives gardens a big lift. It is becoming very expensive (cost of truck to deliver it) compared to fertilisers etc. $120 for a 10 tonne truck load. Down side is you can have a lot of weed seed in it. 11 Sep 18, Mike (Australia – sub-tropical climate) Should be very high in K. 15 Sep 14, paulo peterson (USA – Zone 13b climate) I live in Hawaii tropical climate I am a student at university of Hawaii I want to be a organic farmer some day I am thinking to use bone meal so how I should use? 02 Sep 13, Terry Moloney (Australia – temperate climate) Mine have all gone to seed. Is it possible to eat the leaves although the cabbage has not formed, all I have is a tall stalk with large leaves? 26 Oct 12, Lisa (Australia – temperate climate) Hi. Can u eat all of the Wong Bok? Including the middle not so green bit?? Thank you 14 Nov 12, Brian Larsson (Australia – cool/mountain climate) Yes, certainly. There are several Chinese recipes using all of the cabbage. Google ‘Chinese cabbage in cream sauce’, especially the It can also be chopped or julienned and used in stir fried vegetable dishes as a crunchy celery substitute. 01 Sep 12, Paul (Australia – temperate climate) HELP ! I bought some 5 wks ago, already growing a little, gave them water etc, cold climate, but took them in at night to avoid frost. 5 weeks later 12″ tall and with flowers. Gone to seed ? Meaning ? What do I do ? thanks Showing 1 – 10 of 14 comments

Growing Chinese cabbage organically in home garden is no more difficult than growing traditional round-headed cabbage. Chinese cabbage is actually a large, puckered and tight-headed fresh green. It’s flavor is sweeter and milder than the common traditional cabbage.

Chinese cabbage is also known by some other names such as Napa cabbage, Pak choi, Bok choy, Peking cabbage, Celery cabbage, Flowering cabbage, Michihli and some other local names. It is very tasty and nutritious. And generally used as an oriental vegetable that is used a lot in sandwiches and salads instead of lettuce.

The Chinese cabbage is grown mainly for it’s broad, thick and tender leaves and also for heavy midribs. If you want to start growing Chinese cabbage, then planting and caring about 10 plants per household member will be enough.

How to Grow Chinese Cabbage

Growing Chinese cabbage in home garden is not difficult. You can easily grow this vegetable in your home garden if you have enough space available and some time. However, here we are describing more about the steps of growing Chinese cabbage organically in home garden from planting, caring to marketing.

Choose a Variety

There are actually two different cultivar groups of the Chinese cabbage, namely Chinensis group and Pekinensis group. And there is a wide range of varieties within these cultivar groups. Early Jade Pagoda, Questar, Kasumi and Chinese Express are some popular varieties which are proffered by the home gardeners. Choose your desired variety depending on it’s availability and surviving ability in your area.

Purchase Seeds

Chinese cabbage is grown from seeds. So, purchase the seeds after selecting your desired variety. Search your local market or seed supply stores for seeds. You can also order the seeds online if not available in your area.

Best Time for Growing Chinese Cabbage

Chinese cabbage is a cool-season crop, and it will bolt and go to seed quickly in warm weather and long days. So you should consider growing Chinese cabbage during the colder months. Temperature ranging from 7-24° C is considered best time for growing Chinese cabbage.

Preparing the Soil

Chinese cabbage grows well in well-drained soil which is rich in organic materials. Soil pH between 6.5 and 7 is ideal for growing Chinese cabbage. Till the soil and add old compost or well-rotted aged manure. And then the soil will be ready for growing Chinese cabbage.


You can plant either seeds or transplants for growing Chinese cabbage organically in home garden. If you want to grow the plants from seeds, then sow the seeds 4-6 weeks before the average date of the last spring frost. You can sow the seeds directly in the soil. Sow the seeds about 1/2 inch deep and about 4 inches apart. Then thin the seedlings to 1 to 1.5 feet apart. Planting Chinese cabbage in rows will be good. And you will need to space the rows between 1.5 and 2.5 feet apart, depending on the variety.

Although, Chinese cabbage seedlings don’t transplant well. Because the seedlings transplanted into the garden may be shocked into bolting to seed. So, growing Chinese cabbage from seeds is always recommended.

Caring for the Chinese Cabbage

Chinese cabbage don’t require too much care for proper growth. Although taking additional care will be good for better growth of the plants and will ensure good yield. Here we are describing more about the caring process for growing Chinese cabbage organically in home garden.

Fertilizing: If you have prepared the soil perfectly by adding old compost and well-rotted aged manure, then you don’t have to provide additional fertilizers for the plants. Although, using an organic fertilizer high in nitrogen (such as fish emulsion or soy meal) will help the plants to boost.

Watering: Keeping the soil moist constantly is very important for proper growth of the Chinese cabbage plants. Regular watering also helps the plant to stay tender.

Mulching: Mulching not only helps to keep the soil moist, but also helps to control weeds from the garden. Mulching also helps to keep the roots of the plants cool. Organic materials such as homemade compost, grass clippings, dry leaves or hay will be good for using as mulch.

Controlling Weeds: You should remove weeds from the garden while preparing the soil. And you will get rid of most of the weeds, if you mulch heavily. Although, if you notice additional weeds, then you should control them by hand. Be careful while using hoe for controlling weeds, because Chinese cabbage plants have very shallow roots.

Thinning: Thinning is important, because Chinese cabbage don’t grow well if they are overcrowded. Thin the seedlings to 1 to 1.5 feet apart, and 1.5 to 2.5 feet apart in rows.

Pests and Diseases

Chinese cabbage plants are susceptible to some common garden pests and diseases. Aphids, flea beetles and cabbage worms are some common pests for the Chinese cabbage plants. The aphids can be hand picked or hosed off. And the cabbage worms can be controlled by spraying bacillus thuringiensis. Using homemade organic pesticides will also be very good for controlling pests.

Black rot, clubroot and yellow virus are some common diseases for the Chinese cabbage plants. Planting disease resistant Chinese cabbage varieties is a great way for controlling diseases. Also avoid handling plants when wet, and also remove and destroy the infected plants from the garden.


Generally the Chinese cabbage become ready for harvesting after 70-80 days from planting (although exact time can vary depending on the variety). Cut whole heads at soil level when they are compact and firm. You should complete the harvest before the arrival of freezing weather. After harvesting, you can actually enjoy this great vegetable in many different ways and you can also include it in all your salads.

These are the common ways for growing Chinese cabbage organically in home garden. Hope you will be able to enjoy this vegetable, if you follow this guide. Happy gardening 🙂

Pei Tsai Chinese cabbage

Chinese cabbage which includes pac choi (bok choy), pei tsai, Michihli, Napa, and celery cabbage is a cool-weather vegetable. Sow Chinese cabbage directly in the garden as early as 4 to 6 weeks before the last average frost date in spring. Chinese cabbage must come to harvest in the cool temperatures and shorter days of spring or autumn before temperatures rise above 75°F. Plants require from 50 to 85 days to come to harvest depending upon the variety.

Description. Chinese cabbage is a hardy biennial grown as an annual. Chinese cabbage has broad, thick, tender leaves and heavy midribs. There are several varieties of Chinese cabbage some are loosehead and some are tight headed; plants grow from 15 to 18 inches tall.

Types of Chinese Cabbage

There are two types of Chinese cabbage, loosehead, similar to loose-leaf lettuce, and heading or tight head.

Loosehead Chinese cabbages includes pac choi, also called bok choy, and pei tsai. Pac choi and pei tsai have open, loose heads or rosettes of usually dark green leaves with white celery-like stalks. These are heat-tolerant but will bolt if the weather turns from chilly to very warm Plant these at 2 to 3-week intervals for a continuous harvest. Loosehead types can be harvested a few stalks at a time, cut-and-come-again.

Heading types include Michihili and Napa; Michihili has a tall cylindrical or tapered head while the Napa is a short barrel-shaped head. These can be grown like cabbage, though they are mild-flavored, unlike cabbage. When these heads are trimmed they reveal compact heads. The entire head to cut at harvest time.

Yield. Grow 6 to 8 plants per household member and grow cut-and-come-again.

Chinese cabbage seedlings

Planting Chinese Cabbage

Site. Grow Chinese cabbage in full sun in cool regions and in partial shade in warm regions. Plant Chinese cabbage in well-worked, well-drained but moisture-retentive soil rich in organic matter. Add aged compost to planting beds before planting and side dress crops with compost again at midseason.

Planting time. Chinese cabbage is a cool-weather plant that will bolt and go to seed quickly in warm weather and long days; grow Chinese cabbage in spring or autumn in temperatures ranging from 45° to 75°F. Sow seed 4 to 6 weeks before the average date of the last frost in spring. Sow seed directly in the garden; seedlings transplanted into the garden may be shocked into bolting to seed. In mild winter regions, plant Chinese cabbage in late summer or autumn for a late autumn harvest.

Planting and spacing. Sow seed ½ inch deep and 4 inches apart. Thin successful seedlings from 12 to 18 inches apart. Space rows 18 to 30 inches apart depending upon the variety.

Chinese cabbage does not transplant well. Seedlings started indoors should be started in biodegradable peat or paper pots which are easily set into the garden.

Companion plants. Cabbage, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts. Do not plant with tomatoes, peppers, okra, or potatoes.

Container growing. Chinese cabbage can be grown in containers at least 8-inches across. Plant Chinese cabbage on 10-inch centers in larger containers. Plants are sensitive to heat so move them into the shade when the weather warms.

Pac Choi (Bok Choy) Chinese cabbage

Chinese Cabbage Care

Water and feeding. Keep soil evenly moist so that plants grow fast and stay tender. Slow growth can result in plants going to seed.

Care. Keep plants cool when the weather warms; do not let Chinese cabbage sit in direct sun for more than 8 hours each day.

Pests. Chinese cabbage can be attacked by flea beetles, aphids, and cabbage worms. Aphids can be handpicked or hosed off. Cabbage worms can be controlled by spraying Bacillus thuringiensis.

Diseases. Chinese cabbage is susceptible to yellow virus, clubroot, and black rot. Plant disease-resistant varieties. Avoid handling plants when wet. Remove and destroy infected plants.

Napa Chinese cabbage

Michihili cabbage

Harvesting and Storing Chinese Cabbage

Harvest. Cut whole heads at soil level when they are compact and firm and before seed stalks form usually 50 to 80 after sowing. Complete the harvest before the arrival of freezing weather. If the first fall frost arrives before heads form, Chinese cabbage can still be harvested for greens.

Storing and preserving. Chinese cabbage will keep in the vegetable compartment of the refrigerator for about 4 weeks. Chinese cabbage can be blanched and frozen for 3 to 4 months.

Chinese Cabbage Varieties to Grow

Common name. Chinese cabbage, white cabbage, flowering cabbage, celery cabbage, pakchoi, Michihli, Napa cabbage

Botanical name. Brassica chinensis

Origin. China


Chinese cabbage is favored for its long leaves, that are both delicious and low on carbohydrates.

Key Chinese cabbage facts

Name – Brassica pekinensis and Brassica chinensis
Family – brassicas
Type – biennial vegetable

Exposure – full sun
Soil – cool, deep, moist and rich
Harvest – July to February depending on the variety

Also called Peking cabbage, there are 2 major families, napa cabbage and bak choy.

Sowing, planting Chinese cabbage

Sowing Chinese cabbage

Chinese cabbage is sown in summer.

  • In loose soil, sow directly in the vegetable patch from June to August.
  • Dig furrows about ½ inch (1 cm) deep running parallel at a distance of 12 to 16 inches (30 to 40 cm) from each other.
  • Protect the seedlings with agricultural shade cloth during heat waves.
  • Keep the soil a bit moist.

When the first leaves appear, thin and keep the most vigorous seedlings, about one per foot.

If you purchase seedlings that are ready to plant, it is possible to plant them all summer long, even until the beginning of fall if your climate allows for it.

Caring for Chinese cabbage

Easy to care for, Chinese cabbage is mostly only vulnerable to early bolting, which would keep the head from shaping up well.

  • This plant’s roots run along in shallow ground, which means that the soil must be kept consistently moist to avoid drying out the plants.
  • Water regularly but in a light drizzle to keep moisture at a sufficient level.

Harvesting Chinese cabbage

Chinese cabbage needs more or less 2 months ½ lead time before harvest.

  • Wait for the core to reach the size of a nice plump apple before harvesting your Chinese cabbage.
  • Slice the stem at ground level with a very sharp blade.

For a winter harvest, perfectly possible in Mediterranean-like climates:

  • The cabbage must have formed their heads before the first frost spells.
  • Spread mulch like dried leaves around your Chinese cabbages to protect them from frost.

Parasites and diseases that attack Chinese cabbage

Cabbage fly

If your Chinese cabbage is slow to grow and that its leaves start wilting, they are probably under attack by the cabbage fly.

  • Tunnels exit around the root crown.
  • The solution is to set up a larvae barrier around the plants.

Other diseases and parasites

Chinese cabbage can fall victim to downy mildew. Moisture is the first cause of downy mildew spread.

  • Avoid watering the leaves.
  • Don’t overcrowd plants so that air circulates well among the leaves.
  • Read our advice on how to treat downy mildew.

Note that Chinese cabbage is also the target of aphids and, of course, caterpillars.

For these two parasites, avoid chemical treatments at any cost, because your vegetables and soil could be contaminated.

Smart tip about Chinese cabbage

As you till, provide your cabbage with nutrients (fertilizer, manure and seaweed-based compost) to boost growth and especially enhance your harvest!

  • Find all our advice and tips on growing cauliflower.
  • Find all our advice and tips on growing Brussels sprouts.
  • Find all our advice and tips on growing broccoli.

How to Grow Napa Cabbage


Napa cabbage is a tight, green cabbage that is often associated with Chinese cabbage and looks a lot like a pale romaine lettuce. As opposed to traditional cabbage, Napa cabbage is a little sweeter and milder in taste. Napa cabbage is delicious in salads or even stir fried. Today we’ll show you how to grow Napa cabbage in pots or directly in your garden.

How to Grow Napa Cabbage in Pots or in the Garden

Planting Napa Cabbage:

  • Napa cabbage has a long growing season, so you’ll want to make sure you use rich, well amended soil.
  • For best growth, plant in mid summer to allow the plants to mature as the days cool, in the fall.
  • Choose a spot with partial to full sun, making sure your plant gets at least 4-5 hours of sunlight a day.
  • Mix in a few inches of organic matter such as compost or manure.
  • If you’re planting in spring, you can direct sow once all danger of frost has passed, or you can start seeds indoors 4-6 weeks before the last frost date.
  • Place each seed 1/2 inch deep and 6 inches apart.


  • Napa cabbage is pretty self reliant and therefore doesn’t require a lot of care.
  • In dry spells, make sure to water your plant on a regular basis.
  • Amend the soil to avoid using fertilizer. If not, you can fertilize using soy meal or a fish emulsion fertilizer.

Harvesting Napa Cabbage:

  • Napa cabbage will take about 70-80 days to mature.
  • You’ll know they’re ready to be picked when the heads feel dense.

Happy Planting!


Caring For Chinese Cabbage – How To Grow Chinese Cabbage

What is Chinese cabbage? Chinese cabbage (Brassica pekinensis) is an oriental vegetable that is used a lot in sandwiches and salads instead of lettuce. The leaves are tender like lettuce even though it is a cabbage. Unlike regular cabbage, the thick veins in the leaves are actually sweet and tender. Growing Chinese cabbage is a great addition to any vegetable garden.

When considering planting Chinese cabbage, you have to remember that you can grow an early winter or mid-winter crop or a spring crop. Just don’t plant your cabbage too late or it will send up flower stalks before making heads, which robs the plant of nutrients.

One of the steps to grow Chinese cabbage is to prepare the soil. Planting Chinese cabbage requires heavy soil that holds moisture. You do not want the soil too wet, however, because it can rot the plant. To keep your Chinese cabbage growing well during the season, you should fertilize the soil before planting. Also, make sure plants get enough water, but not too much, throughout the season.

Planting Chinese cabbage can be done in late summer to fall (August through October) for an early winter or mid-winter crop, or in winter (January) for a spring crop. It all depends on when you want your cabbage to be harvested. When you plant in winter, you want your growing Chinese cabbage where it is protected from cold, ice and frost as it matures.

Growing Chinese cabbage is done best when the plants are 10 inches (25 cm.) apart. This gives smaller heads which are great for home use. Also, you want two- to three-pound heads, so plant them in double rows to keep the size of the heads smaller.

Harvesting Chinese Cabbage Plants

When you harvest the cabbage, be sure to pick Chinese cabbage growing from the first planting you started, if you have staggered plantings for continuous crops.

Take the heads and clean them of browning or bug damaged leaves on the outside and wrap them in plastic firmly so they keep in the refrigerator for several weeks.

Chinese cabbage is a great vegetable to include in all your salads.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *