Komatsuna @ Japanese Mustard Spinach (Brassica Rapa) Life Cycle ~ 小松菜ののライフ サイクル
My first taste of Komatsuna was when I was studying for my bachelor degree on Environmental Science in Niigata, Japan. That will be about 10 years ago, no need to count my age now. LOL.Thinking of komatsuna bring back fond student memories when I was there. Komatsuna is one of the cheapest vegetables you can buy in Japan all year round. So as a student, this is one of the vegetables that I always buy when I have a very tight budget. It will be one of the main ingredient in my fried rice or noodles. Since I left Japan, I have not eaten komatsuna for years and I was happy that last year I found komatsuna seeds available in one of the seed catalogs that I have received. Komatsuna is very easy and fast to grow, good for beginners to try. Komatsuna seeds can germinate within one week in their very favourable environment. Komatsuna seedlings looks similar with other pak choi’s at this stage, so don’t foget to label them if you are sowing other Asian Leaf vegetables as well.
If you have small space to grow things, treat komatsuna as quick crop and interplant komatsuna with other plants that grow slowly. I planted them near tomatoes and eggplants and they grow really fast. After one week to compare with previous photo for komatsuna growth. They are taller now don’t they.
Quick crop of komatsuna ready to be harvest. Inter-planting komatsuna reduce pest attack. I did not look after the komatsuna when I was growing them this time and since it is in between other plant, komatsuna smell must have been masked with other plants.
Komatsuna flower are yellow and have the same shape as other brassica like Pak Choi. When komatsuna is bolting the shapes of leaves also changed. The bolting plant grows really tall, at least 70cm tall. Komatsuna is very hardy in cold temperatures and I did a post of growing komatsuna in Adelaide winter. If you have a small space and worried that it will take some space away to wait for the komatsuna seeds. Don’t worry one plant will give you many seeds and it does not take much space. The komatsuna bolted plant was so tall that it flop towards the ground and I have the plant to lean against the geranium.
I waited for komatsuna seed pods to turn brownish but surprisingly they did not. I even let the seeds kept in its seed pod in my kitchen shelves for 2 months and the seeds still look good when I harvest them out from the seed pods.
Do you know that komatsuna is actually a new vegetable species, it has been around like 200~100years compared with other vegetables.