Starting to Grow Napa Cabbage Indoors
Napa Cabbage or Chinese Cabbage started out as an easy plant to grow. The seeds were started in clay hydroton in net pots inside the General Hydroponics Rainforest unit under an LED grow light. The spraying apparatus of the Rainforest unit is called a Vortex sprayer and it agitates the water to create an aeroponic mist to feed the newly developing seedlings roots. The Vortex sprayer was placed on a timer running mostly at night and off and on occassionally during the day. The nutrient solution in the Rainforest system was kept at a PH of about 6.5 and the seedlings did well even with fluctuations in PH. The seedlings were transplanted into the larger system we built ( SFT Hydro DIY Build ) and the grew fairly well under the magnetic induction lighting and also with sunlight from the adjacent window. The video below condenses all of this into an entertaining show under 2 minutes.
Lessons Learned Growing Chinese Cabbage Indoors
The process of growing the cabbage went very smoothly and the PH was kept at about 6.5 most of the time and was allowed to float up to just below 7.0 from time to time. The plant growth had one issue though and this occurred when the strength of the nutrient solution ( EC – Electrical Conductivity ) was allowed to get too high. The EC was allowed to get up to 3.2 -3.3 for a period of time and during this occurrence the inner leaf tips developed some burn and deformation. As soon as the burn was noticed the nutrient solution was changed and kept at about 2.2 EC which seems to be a good target to aim for during the growth to maturity phase, an EC above 3.0 was a bad idea. Despite the issue the plants started to recover and continued to grow.
The two photos show the lush early growth followed by some minor interior burn in the later photo. Despite the lessons learned we were still able to harvest the Napa Cabbage and move on to the next step, what to do with it.
What to do with harvested Napa Cabbage
While you can certainly prepare Napa Cabbage in different ways, we chose to ferment our vegetables. Fermented vegetables are full of beneficial probiotics and are said to work wonders to the digestive system and overall health. Fermented vegetables also prolong the shelf life of your produce. There are many different recipes for fermented vegetables or kimchi if you are using Napa Cabbage, Dr. Mercola has a good recipe Here and he also sells a good starter culture although some people just use salt and no starter culture. We have found it more reliable to ferment using a starter culture. Another cool tool for fermenting vegetables in a typical mason jar are these valves that allow the gases to escape but maintain the seal, these are not necessary but can improve your success at getting a good ferment.
Hopefully if you want to grow your own Napa Cabbage you now have some useful information on what to look out for and what to do with the produce once you harvest it.
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