Growing and Saving the Seed of Chinese Cabbage

Latin name Brassica rapa. Chinese cabbage is delicious and hearty and a beloved and a common crop of Asia!



Recorded cultivation dates back to the 15th century in the Yangtze River region in China! Chinese cabbage is believed to have been derived from a cross between bok choy and the turnip. Heading Chinese cabbage has gone on to become one of the most important vegetables in eastern Asia!


  • Culinary




  • Best planted in cool spring or fall conditions, when temps are between 55-80F.  
  • Sow seeds in place, 1/4 inch deep, or start indoors and carefully transplant when the seedlings are 4 weeks old.


  • Best planted in rich, moist soil, with well-rotted compost tilled in.
  • Does best in full sun and tolerates light frosts.
  • Space plants 12-15 inches apart


  • Keep soil moist and fertilize when heading begins.
  • Slugs are a common pest. Also be vigilant for pests like the cabbage root fly and the cabbage white butterfly. Row covers work well to protect against pests.
  • Also susceptible to fungal, bacterial, and viral diseases including club root, downy mildew, powdery mildew, and various mosaic viruses.


  • Select your best plants to keep for seed and leave them to flower and go to seed.
  • Leave plants in the ground over winter, with heavy mulch and a row cover in harsh winter areas.
  • In the second season, the plant will send up flower stalks from the head, and as they mature they will become seed pods.
  • Once the seed stalks/pods are brown and dry, cut the seed stalks off, and break open the seed pods with your hands or a rolling pin over a container such as a bowl or plate, and separate and extract the seeds.