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In recent years, new varieties of well-known plants have appeared on the Russian market. These include a vegetable from East Asia - Japanese cabbage.
It is also called kale or lettuce. This cabbage is not at all similar to the white cabbage we are used to, although it belongs to the same cruciferous family. In this article we will tell you about the different varieties of Japanese cabbage: Mizuna, The Little Mermaid and the Emerald Pattern. You will learn where you can buy seeds of this crop for growing, how to properly plant and care for cabbage.
It is a one- or biennial plant with long, light green corrugated or smooth leaves up to 60 cm long, growing horizontally or upward. The height of the lush bush is up to half a meter, the rosette is lush, spreading, reaching 90 cm in diameter.
Most varieties have openwork leaves with strongly dissected edges, but there are varieties with whole, long lance-shaped leaves. The taste of cabbage is sweet or spicy, reminiscent of a radish or mustard. When grown for two years, Japanese cabbage forms a rutabaga-flavored root vegetable.
The history of the appearance of the species
The birthplace of Japanese cabbage, despite the name, is considered the Pacific coast of China. In Japan, it has been cultivated since the 16th century. In Europe and North America, the vegetable is called Japanese mustard and has been cultivated since the 20th century. In recent years, Japanese ornamental cabbage has been gaining popularity in Russia (you can learn more about the use of ornamental cabbage in landscape design here).
Difference from other species
This type of cabbage does not form a head of cabbage. It can be used as a decorative one, as a luxurious spreading rosette with leaves of pale green, dark green or reddish-brown color is very beautiful.
Advantages and disadvantages
Culture has many virtues:
- contains trace elements (phosphorus, calcium, potassium, selenium, iron) and vitamins (a lot of vitamins A and E);
- low in calories, but nutritious;
- has a more delicate taste compared to similar products due to the low content of mustard oils;
- a large amount of beta-carotene helps to strengthen eyesight and rejuvenate the skin;
- can be consumed all summer;
- high potassium content has a beneficial effect on the cardiovascular system.
Japanese cabbage has very few disadvantages:
- It cannot be stored for a long time, unlike the types of cabbage we are used to, since it does not form a head of cabbage.
- If the leaves are not eaten right away, they will wilt and lose their flavor.
- It accumulates nitrates easily enough - you should not get carried away with nitrogen fertilizers.
So far, only some varieties of Japanese cabbage are included in the State Register of Breeding Achievements of the Russian Federation.
The most famous among them are:
- The little Mermaid.
- Emerald pattern.
The varieties are resistant to shooting and unfavorable weather conditions (heat, drought, frost). All three varieties are used in salads and as a seasoning for hot dishes.
The little Mermaid
This is a mid-season variety (60–70 days) with a horizontal or slightly raised rosette up to 40 cm high and up to 75 cm in diameter, on which there are up to 60 dark green strongly dissected smooth leaves with large denticles along the edges.
Productivity: from one bush - 5-6.5 kg / m2.
Taste: delicate, with a slight mustard flavor.
Where to buy, price: LLC "EURO-SEMENA", price in Moscow 12-18 rubles, in St. Petersburg 15-19 rubles.
The variety is also mid-season (60–70 days), the rosette is horizontally or slightly raised, up to 40 cm in height and up to 65 cm in diameter, forms up to 60 dark green medium-sized smooth lyre-pinnate leaves with large cuts along the edge.
Productivity: from a bush - 6.7 kg / m2.
Taste: delicate, spicy.
Where to buy, price: LLC "SEMKO-JUNIOR", price in Moscow 29 rubles, in St. Petersburg 13 rubles.
The variety is medium early (60–65 days), the rosette is slightly raised, up to 35 cm in height and up to 60 cm in diameter; it forms a lot of leaves - up to 150. They are medium-sized, green, smooth, with large cuts along the edge, lyre-pinnately dissected in shape.
Productivity: from a bush - 5-5.2 kg / m2.
Taste: has an apple tint.
Where to buy, price: LLC "AGROFIRMA POISK", price in Moscow 16-18 rubles, in St. Petersburg 21 rubles.
Planting and leaving
They are sown with seeds in the ground in early spring or in the second half of summer, since the culture is quite cold-resistant (it can withstand frosts down to –4 ° C) and quickly reaches technical ripeness.
Important! Japanese cabbage does not tolerate transplanting very well.
For the cultivation of Mizuna, The Little Mermaid and the Emerald Pattern from seeds to be successful, it is necessary to create favorable conditions. The site for this is chosen sunny, open - in the light, cabbage forms the maximum number of leaves. He loves light, neutral, well-drained soils: if there is loam on the site, it is necessary to add sand and black earth or humus until a loose soil is formed.
The garden bed is dug up as soon as the snow melts, it is spilled well with warm water and covered with a black film to warm it up. To plant cabbage, the ground must warm up to +4 ° C.
Sowing is done in this way:
- In the garden, grooves are made with a depth of half a centimeter at a distance of 30 cm.
- The grooves are spilled with warm water.
- Spread the seeds at a distance of 20-30 cm. They should germinate on the 3-4th day at a soil temperature of 3-4 ° C. If the crops are frequent, you will have to thin them out, which is undesirable, since the cabbage sprouts are very tender and easily damaged.
- Sprinkle the planted seeds with loose earth or sand.
- Cover with spunbond or lutrasil until shoots emerge.
The optimum temperature for plant growth and development is 15–20 ° С.
Culture tolerates heat well, but this does not mean that it does not need to moisten the soil. After sprouting, they are watered only when the ground becomes dry.
Young shoots are very delicate, so you need a watering can or a hose with a fine spray. This is necessary in order not to damage the young seedlings of the plant. An adult plant requires rare watering, only in extreme heat, but abundant, so that the leaves grow juicy and tasty. Cabbage easily recovers from drought, but watering should be infrequent but constant.
Twice during the growing season Japanese cabbage is fertilized with mineral dressings: phosphorus and potassium (according to the instructions). They also use liquid organic fertilizer - vermicompost.
It is better not to use fertilizers containing nitrogen at all or to apply only in small portions, since the culture accumulates nitrates in the green mass.
For root feeding, an infusion of wood ash is perfect (3 tablespoons of powder per 1 liter of water, leave for 5-7 days).
For better moisture retention in the root area and to protect against weeds Japanese cabbage is mulched - with sawdust, cut grass or straw.
It is not necessary to huddle it up, like ordinary cabbage, since leaves located not high from the soil can begin to rot from contact with earth.
Harvesting and storage
Outdoors, Japanese cabbage can grow for up to three months. From time to time you need to cut the leaves (as soon as they reach a length of 10-12 cm). They grow back after 8-15 days due to the awakening of the apical bud. Thus, the harvest continues throughout the summer.
Cut leaves can be eaten fresh in salad, pickled, frozen or dried (used as a seasoning). In autumn, cabbage bushes are uprooted, cleaned from the ground, cut off the root, leaving a stalk. In this form, they are stored in the refrigerator for up to a week.
The leaves of the plant are often damaged by the cruciferous flea: it gnaws holes and, as a result, the leaf becomes unusable. Tobacco dust helps well against it:
- dusting the bush and the ground around it;
- sprayed with a solution in a ratio of 1:10.
Ordinary wood ash is also a simple and effective remedy:
- dusting plantings;
- sprayed with ash infusion (prepared within a week and calculating 3 tablespoons per 1 liter of water).
Chemicals against pests are not recommended, as the plant accumulates harmful substances in the leaves. In order not to expose yourself to danger, use only natural remedies and in no case do not neglect this rule.
Possible problems and their prevention
|Wrong agricultural technique||The problem that has arisen||Prophylaxis|
|Too much watering||Cabbage starts to rot||Water less often, only when the soil is dry|
|Top dressing with nitrogen fertilizers||Accumulates nitrates in leaves||Use only potash and phosphate fertilizers|
|Sowing after related crops (cabbage, radish, watercress, radish, mustard)||Affected by pests||Plant after tomatoes, cucumbers, potatoes, herbs, legumes|
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