Scientific Name: Brassica rapa subsp. narinosa
Common Names: Tatsoi, Tat Soi, Tat Choy, Chinese Flat Cabbage, Rosette Pakchoi, Spoon Mustard
Tatsoi is a heritage variety of Brassica rapa cultivated throughout Asia for many centuries. The seeds of this variety are open-pollinated meaning that you can collect them and they'll grow true to type the same as the parent plants.
Tatsoi has dark green, spoon-shaped leaves that are tender with a mild mustard-like flavour similar to bok choy. Tatsoi leaves make a tasty addition raw in mixed salads or cooked briefly as a green vegetable in stir fries and hot pots. Tatsoi is a good source of vitamins C, A and folic acid, as well the minerals calcium and potassium.
Tatsoi is easy to grow. Choose a growing site for Tatsoi that receives full sun or light shade. Ensure your soil is free draining, consider growing Tatsoi in raised beds or containers if your garden soil is too compacted or heavy with clay. Dig lots of organic matter, including well-rotted animal manures, compost and worm castings through your vegetable patch a few weeks prior to sowing Tatsoi to help improve your soil structure and feed your growing plants. Fertilise Tatsoi plants every few weeks with an organic liquid fertiliser, compost tea or worm juice for rapid growth and healthy plants. Tatsoi plants are low growing, so be sure to mulch around them well with sugar cane or lucerne mulch as otherwise plants are easily swamped by weeds. A thick layer of mulch also helps keep their root systems cool and retains moisture. Tatsoi is frost hardy and will tolerate temperatures well into the negatives without damage to the leaves. Frosts will however cause Tatsoi to stop growing and bolt to seed so avoid sowing while there's still a chance of frost. Tatsoi will self-sow readily throughout your garden if growing conditions are favourable, remove the flower heads as they form if this becomes a problem.
When To Sow
In cooler regions of Australia sow Tatsoi seeds during Spring or Summer, from September to February, as long as any chance of frost has past. In temperate and frost-prone warmer regions of Australia sow Tatsoi seeds from September to March. In subtropical and frost-free regions of Australia sow Tatsoi seeds from March to September. In tropical regions of Australia sow Tatsoi seeds during the dry season from April to August.
How To Sow
Sow Tatsoi seeds 6mm deep, spacing or thinning plants to about 20cm apart to give them room to grow.
Time To Germination
Tatsoi seedlings take between 7 and 10 days to emerge once the seed is sown.
Time To Harvest
Tatsoi grows quickly, with plants reaching a size big enough to harvest 7 to 9 weeks after sowing the seed. Alternatively you can extend the harvest period greatly by only picking a few leaves at a time as needed, leaving the rest of the plant intact. Harvest the outer leaves first to avoid damage to the central growing point and cut as close to the base of the leaf stalk as possible.