March 1, 2012

plant profile: tokyo bekana

Brassica rapa cv. Tokyo Bekana

Appearance - Tokyo bekana has light greens leaves with curled, ruffled edges that can cause it to be mistaken for green leaf lettuce. Despite its appearance tokyo bekana is in the Brassica rapa, or Chinese cabbage family and is considered a loose leaf cabbage.

Uses - Tokyo bekana can be used as a salad green or in stir fry's.

Varieties - I've only found one, but 'Fun jen' is a very (very) similar green.

Culture - Treat tokyo bekana green like any other in the Brassica rapa family. Sow seeds 1/4 inch deep in moderate temperatures between 60-85.  Once the seeds have sprouted temperatures a bit lower, between 55-75 degrees, is sufficient for growth.  

For baby greens seeds should be sown in 2-4 inch bands with 60 seeds per foot.  For larger leaves sow only 15 seeds per foot in 2-inch wide bands in rows 18 inches apart.

Harvest - During the summer baby greens should be ready for harvest in about.  Full sized leaves should be harvestable in 40 days.  In the winter baby greens can be harvested in 40 days (at least that's what I have seen so far.)  Tokyo bekana is a cut-and-come-again crop and will produce multiple harvests.  It has a good shelf life once harvested.

Pests - Like all Brassicas flee beetles are a major pest of toyko bekana.  Using floating row covers is an easy method of controlling these pests.  For more information check out the UNH Cooperative extension's page on flee beetles.

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