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Chinese cabbage dates back to the 15th century in China, when a pharmacologist of the Ming Dynasty considered it nutritionally beneficial. Later it became the main ingredient in kim chi, the national dish of Korea; Japanese soldiers also discovered Chinese cabbage and took it home with them after the war. Americans became familiar with this vegetable in the late 19th century.
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: Single leaves or the entire plant may be harvested, either at the tender baby leaf stage or when fully mature. Multiple harvests may be possible if the growing season is long enough.
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.
Latin Name: Brassica rapa
Type: Open Pollinated, Heirloom, Cool Season
USDA Zones: 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12
Seeds per Ounce: 9,000
Planting Method: From Transplant
Sunlight: Full Sun
Height: 12 Inches
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