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Q&A about Napa Cabbage

Napa cabbage (or Chinese cabbage) is one of the most important vegetables in my garden. Learning how to grow it well is so worth it!

Napa cabbage with pink flowers in the background.

Look at these lovely cabbages growing in my little cottage garden! Keep reading to learn more about napa cabbage (Chinese cabbage) and how to grow it.


I recently posted some pictures of my napa cabbage on my Instagram, and I got some great reactions from you guys! So, I decided to put the pictures here in this blog post too, in case you missed them. A lot of people seem to think that napa cabbage (or Chinese cabbage) is really hard to grow. But let me tell you, it's actually not! You just need to find the right conditions for it. Since so many of you were interested in finding out more, I decided to do a little Q&A about napa cabbage right here!


More about cabbage: Scarvita napa cabbage


Sara's newly harvested napa cabbage.

A really large napa cabbage head! I don't remember which variety it was though.


Ett stort kålhuvud ligger på marken bredvid en skördekniv.

The outer leaves have some damages here and there, but the leaves inside are absolutely perfect.


Sara with a napa cabbage in her arms.

Here I am right in my cabbage patch! I'm growing it in my little cottage garden up on Oak Hill next to the church in Kalvsvik.


Your plants look so lovely, do you use pesticides?

The plants we grow both late and early in the season are less sensitive to infestations. For example the cabbage butterflies are less active later in the year. The plants in my garden have been growing under a net until early October, which is enough. Of course, we had some issues with earwigs. They are a lot less destructive than slugs and larvae though. I haven't used any pesticides on these plants.


Read more: 10 Cabbages and how to use them


My cabbage won't close. Is this typical for this variety (Bok Choi) or could it be something else? 

My guess is that the cabbage just hasn't reached that stage of development yet. It can take some time. I planted these cabbages in late July and now it's time to harvest them. I could of course harvest them already in September, but I wanted the heads to grow larger and decided to leave them a while longer. The picture below shows a napa cabbage that I direct-sowed in the bed in August. It didn't close yet either, it's just too small still.


Smaller napa cabbage plants.

I sowed these plants a month later than the ones I'm harvesting now. So, they haven't grown as large as the other ones. The leaves are delicious.


How do you store the napa cabbage after harvesting?

We mainly just harvest and then eat it straight away. If you do it this way, then it's important to grow the right amount. You don't want to drown in cabbages after all. But you can store it too. Napa cabbage stays nice and fresh in a reasonably cool area a good while after harvesting. Just make sure that it's not too cold of course.


Do you eat it fresh or do you prepare it before?

We almost always eat the napa cabbage fresh and shredded. My kids love it. I also enjoy eating larger stir-fried leaves for lunch. But you can ferment them too! That's the great thing about napa cabbage, the many options.


Read more: Why is my cabbage splitting?


Do you make your own kimchi?

I do! I made a big batch last year though, so I didn't need to do a new one this year. Kimchi doesn't go that well with our everyday food and we don't eat it that often.




So far, we actually had napa cabbage twice only a few days after harvesting. The napa cabbage was quite large (I didn't weigh it though.) How much did you think we have eaten so far?


I'm so happy about the results! Especially since I have another 15 napa cabbages in my cabbage patch right now.


Only a fourth of the head actually! But of course, we eat lots of other vegetables too. Napa cabbages can grow very large and will last a long while. It's actually one of the most important vegetables in my garden!
/Sara Bäckmo

24. October 2020