CHINESE CABBAGE - CONTINUITY OF OUTDOOR PRODUCTION
This review describes the scope of work on the production of outdoor chinese cabbage at the Arthur Rickwood Experimental Husbandry Farm over a period of ten years and places it in context with work undertaken elsewhere in Europe. Chinese cabbage (Brassica pekinensis) is a semi-tropical crop and its outdoor production in the UK climate has been unreliable. The main problem has been bolting in response to low temperatures and lengthening days. The natural outdoor production season is from mid August until early December, depending on frost occurrence, but production during this period has also been affected by bolting. Following research and experimentation over a ten year period, guidelines can now be given for successful field production of the crop with harvesting from late May until December followed by a maximum storage period of 17 weeks of the October stored crop, taking marketing through to early February. To achieve a successful continuity programme careful varietal selection from a very limited known range is the main requirement. The use of a high temperature, and to a much lesser extent a shortened daylength regime, during glasshouse propagation confers an element of control over the crop's tendency to bolt. This control does not exist for the field drilled crop which establishment method is not acceptable in a reliable continuity programme. For very early production the use of a low level plastic crop cover is essential for crops planted outdoors in March or April, and is a valuable insurance against inclement weather for May planted crops. For storage the production schedule must ensure a uniform batch of heavy heads that retain a marketable size following trimming. There must be no flower stalk present which is liable to extend during the storage period, and render the head unmarketable.
Runham, S. (1990). CHINESE CABBAGE - CONTINUITY OF OUTDOOR PRODUCTION. Acta Hortic. 267, 21-28