Rising Tatsoi, the spoon-shaped mustard

Are you looking for a cool weather Brassica that is as versatile as spinach but lasts longer? Look no further than Tatsoi to grow. Tatsoi (Brassica rapa) is an Asian green that is cooked like Bok Choy. Tatsoi has its origin in China. It is structured like Bok Choy, but smaller and a bit more bitter.

At the end of winter or autumn, it is a bad time to grow flowers or lovers of warm weather like okra, tomatoes and peppers. So why not try an Asian green like Tatsoi? Breeding Tatsoi is easy! Sow one crop in the spring and find that another can be grown in the fall. Pack your meals full of nutritious greens, raw or cooked.

Tatsoi growing practices are simple. This hardy and nutritious Brassica needs little room to grow. Rosettes fan out to less than 10 inches in most regions. Tatsoi is also home to fewer pests and diseases than most Brassicas. It has a structure like Bok Choy but is smaller. Adjust it like spinach to incorporate into dishes. Its mustard flavor fits many different profiles.

Good products for growing Tatsoi:

Brief instructions for care

When you grow Tatsoi, you get this unique Asian vegetable in its freshest form. Source: Silver of David

Common Name (s) Tatsoi, Tat Choy, spoon of mustard, Chinese cabbage, broad-billed mustard, spinach mustard
Scientific name Brassica rapa var. Rosularis or Brassica rapa subsp. Narinosa
Days to harvest 45 days from seeds, 20-25 days from dwarfs
light Partly to full sun
Water: Keep the soil moist; Ideal conditions are 1 inch of water per week
ground Well-draining, well-worked clay soils, pH between 6.5 and 7.0
fertilizer Use full spectrum fertilizers. a higher nitrogen content can be used
Pests Snails, cabbage worms, flea beetles
Diseases Club root, powdery mildew, downy mildew

Everything about Tatsoi

Young Tatsoi plantAt a young age, Tatsoi can be confused with an immature Bok Choi. Source: John and Anni

Tatsoi's taxonomic name is Brassica rapa subsp. narinosa or Brassica rapa var. Rosularis. It has many common names: Tatsoi, Tat Choy, Spoon Mustard (due to its spoon-shaped leaves), Chinese cabbage, Broad-billed mustard, Spinach mustard, Wu Ta Cai in China, and Tasai in Japan. It has been consumed and grown in Japan since 500 AD.

Tatsoi has convex, spoon-shaped leaves. Tatsoi grow in rosettes, just like other members of the Asian green family. But Tatsoi has smaller, 3-inch leaves and hugs near the ground. It grows no more than 10 inches tall to 12 inches tall in warmer climates and it grows 6 inches tall plants in cooler climates. Plants, like other Asian greens, spread up to 12 inches wide.

Tatsoi leaves are dark green. Leaf stalks are small and white to light green. Small yellow flowers with four cross-shaped petals bloom from a central stem. All parts of Tatsoi are edible.

Tatsoi is grown every two years in temperate climates. The best times for planting are in late winter or early spring and late summer or early fall. As with other brassicas, use up the leaves throughout the season before they bloom. Harvest in just a month and a half. That's quick compared to the 5-10 month growing season for broccoli or cauliflower.

Cook rosette leaves in dishes like french fries and soups. Serve wilted, braised or lightly fried as a side dish. Eat the whole plant – flowers and everything – raw in salads, especially with baby greens. It's also great food medicine. Growing Tatsoi will provide you and your garden with an excellent source of vitamins C, A, K, carotenoids, calcium, potassium, and folic acid.

Plant Tatsoi

Tatsoi seedsTatsoi seeds are small and dark in color. Source: John and Anni

Sow two weeks before the last frost outside or six weeks before the first frost at the beginning of autumn. Avoid planting seeds or saplings in late spring and summer. Tatsoi is not suitable for warm conditions. It thrives in the cool late spring. As soon as summer comes, your first round of harvest will be over. Heat causes bolting and blooming, which makes Tatsoi bitter in taste. Harvest in spring and grow another crop early in autumn through winter for a second fall harvest.

Find full sun to partial shade to plant the area of ​​your garden. Tatsoi prefers well-drained, well-tilled, loamy or sandy soils that are rich in nitrogen. It thrives outdoors in raised beds or in prepared soil. If gardening in the ground or in a raised bed isn't an option, no problem. It works well with carefully placed containers both indoors and outdoors. If you need to grow indoors, you can find a south facing window with plenty of room for your container.

To sow seeds, change unprepared soil with compost at an average depth of 10 inches. Seeds prefer 50 to 80 degrees to germinate. Create rows 1/2 to 1/4 inch deep and 18 to 24 inches apart. Tatsoi grows radially outward, so make sure that no other plants are displaced in this process. Let the seeds fall into the trench 1 to 2 inches apart. The germination rates of the seeds are high at 75%, so 2-3 fall per point. When the seedlings mature, thin them 6 to 8 inches apart. This gives the plants plenty of room to grow. Starts to ripen in 6 weeks.

Plant seedlings under the same temperature conditions as for seeds, but a few weeks later, with temperatures between 50 and 80 degrees. Grow Tatsoi starts 6 to 8 inches apart and harvests when the leaves are ripe – throughout the season through to flowering. The starts reach harvest maturity after approx. 3 weeks.


Close-up of the center of the Tatsoi rosetteA close-up of the center of a Tatsoi rosette. Source: jnatali

This plant is easy to care for. Meet the basic requirements of tatsoi and ensure a healthy and long harvest.

Sun and temperature

Tatsoi, Brassica rapa grows in full to partial sun (at least 3 hours per day up to 5 hours). A pure light position is fine if the rows are covered with a shady cloth. Shade cloth not only protects the leaf tissue, but also keeps away insects that like to eat your plants.

Tatsoi thrives in USDA hardiness zones 4 through 7, which provide adequately cool weather but not too much warmth, resulting in bloom. Seeds and starts prefer 50 to 80 degrees, and mature plants thrive at 60 to 70 degrees. But you can take extra care to grow Tatsoi in areas near these zones.

A little frost is not a problem for the Tatsoi cultivation. It is optimal to sow seeds near the last frost. Harvests occur at lows of 15 degrees Fahrenheit. As soon as the heat exceeds 80 degrees, the Tatsoi screws. Then the growing season is over and you can start collecting seeds. If conditions are too cold, the leaves can be damaged and wither.

Water and moisture

These plants like generous amounts of water, up to 1 inch per week. Keep the soil moist but not soaked. Water Tatsoi plants daily in the morning before the ultraviolet rays peak. Watering at this point prevents overheated soil temperatures that harm cold-loving Asian greens.

Since all brassicas are susceptible to powdery mildew, use a waterer hose or drip irrigation to absorb the root at the base of the plant. If possible, avoid wetting the leaves. Irrigation may not be required if there has been a recent heavy rainfall or snow cover.


Grow Tatsoi plants in sandy, loamy soils with good drainage. If the soil is poor, prepare the area with compost up to 30 cm below the surface of the soil. Tatsoi plants cannot thrive in poor, clayey soils. So use a pH tester to make sure the values ​​are between 6.0 and 7.5. Ideally they prefer a pH of 6.5 to 7.0.


Prepare the soil well in advance (before planting Tatsoi, 3-6 weeks before the last frost) with nitrogen-rich additives such as chicken manure compost, rabbit pellet compost or coffee grounds. These ensure a slow release of the food throughout the season. A reliable full-spectrum fertilizer gives your Tatsoi plants a boost for later applications. Look for balanced fertilizers with a low NPK ratio. Fertilize Tatsoi plants once a week at dusk during moderate seasons with liquid fertilizer or according to the manufacturer's recommendations for slow-release granular fertilizers.

Never fertilize plants in freezing temperatures or near the last frost when they are in a stressed state. In this sense, do not fertilize a diseased plant. In these sensitive times, plants are burned and damaged by fertilizers. For liquid applications, an initial soaking of the soil is appropriate once the plant is established. Apply a lighter foliar spray over the following weeks. Fertilize space far enough apart to prevent malnutrition.


Remove damaged or browning leaves from the rosette as they appear. Check daily that damage to Tatsoi is not related to fungal or insect pests. If Tatsoi plants shift in warm weather, remove all flowers and add them to a salad or eat them raw. Bolts are a sign that the life cycle is over. However, the leaves can still be harvested until the season is over if Tatsoi studs are present. Tatsoi mustard taste decreases in bitterness at the time of flowering.


Since Tatsoi is biennial, the best way to propagate is by seed. Tatsoy's life cycles are not long. Therefore, spreading by division is impossible. As summer or late winter approaches, let Tatsoi flash and bloom. Shake the flower stalks to release the seeds and collect them for the next season.

Harvesting and storing

Cooked TatsoiTatsoi can be enjoyed either cooked or raw. Source: Mokeneco

Harvesting Tatsoi is easy! Start doing this in 30-45 days. Although delicate and difficult to hold for long periods of time without much process, you can enjoy all parts of the plant throughout the season.


When the leaflets are 2 to 3 inches in length, they are ready to be harvested. Break off the fronds from the outer edges or cut them off with clean secateurs. Leave inner leaves to extend the life cycle of your tatsoi. This way you will have greens throughout the growing season. Cut whole heads off at the base and remove them at the end of the season.

In the heat Tatsoi bolts and flowers. Prevent Tatsoi from invading the bitter realm at this stage by breaking off flowering heads just below the growth point of the first set of leaves. Again, all parts of the plant are edible. So eat those flowering heads in a salad or wither them as a side dish with your favorite protein.


Store Tatsoi in a plastic bag or damp towel in the refrigerator for up to a week. Because of their delicate fabric, these soft greens aren't as good in the freezer as kale and cabbage from their friends from Brassica. Dehydrate Tatsoi at 140 degrees for 15 hours and store in a dark, dry place. Use dry pieces in salads or eat them like french fries.


Massive mature tatsoiTatsoi can get quite large if not harvested. Source: Baldeaglebluff

Tatsoi gets sick if it is grown in inappropriate conditions. Give Tatsoi what it takes and it will flourish.

Growing problems

Growth decreases when there are seedlings too warm. More mature plants race at higher temperatures. Intense cold below 15 degrees slows down plants and causes cold damage.

Leaf browning could be an indication that the soil content is not suitable for the cultivation of Tatsoi. In this case, you can save your Tatsoi plant by digging a small trench in a circle around the base and filling that trench with nitrogen-rich compost.

Tatsoi will wither and brown when it doesn't get enough water. Provide enough water to keep the soil moist and check the soil moisture daily. When the soil is dry to a depth of 2 to 3 inches, add water. Water in the morning before the sun warms the soil.


Check your garden regularly for pests such as snails, cabbage worms, and flea beetles – the most common pests for Tatsoi. Provide a row cover to keep it away from the Tatsoi rosette. If this isn't an option, there are a few other ways to stand your ground and keep the flavor of these greens throughout the season.

Add washed and ground eggshells to the surface of the soil slug Problems. This method can even be used proactively before any seeds are planted or started. Snails don't like the texture of eggshells. Commercial options for snail treatments include wool pellets and bait. Search your yard and select snails to remove them. This is the most effective method of pest control on snails. Provide the snails with a crop of greens that you will happily give up. Plant these in rows around your tatsoi or try a beer trap killing them from alcohol poisoning.

Cabbage worms are another common Tatsoi pest. These feed on leafy greens to reach the pupal stage and eventually become moths that do more of them. Remove worms by hand or plant moth baits in the garden. BT, Bacillus thuringiensis, is an effective treatment.

If you notice small round holes in the leaves of your Tatsoi plant during your gardening search, it is most likely Flea beetle Damage. Flea beetles belong to the leaf beetle family of the genus Altica. They can destroy leafy vegetables. Adult beetles not only eat tatsoi, but also multiply underground. Baby bugs hatch and consume roots to survive.

Traps are not an option as the infestation spreads to other areas. Instead, apply organic pesticides. Treat the soil with diatomaceous earth. Beauvaria bassiana is a commercial fungal pesticide that liquefies its insides when consumed. Dilute before application and at dusk as sunlight kills spores. Use pyrethrins daily when things get out of hand.


Club root (or Plasmodiophora brassicae) is a fungal disease that affects all Brassicas under certain conditions. Plants infected with clubroot deform and crack. After all, they are unable to absorb nutrients at the root level. The only possible solution in later stages is to pull the entire plant and treat the soil. Make sure the soil pH is optimal (6.5-7.0 for Tatsoi) before growing Tatsoi. Avoid pH levels of 7.2 in your garden to avoid clubroot.

mildew presents itself as round white spots and occurs on Tatsoi for many reasons. It reproduces by watering over your plants and not at the base with a watering hose or drip line. For the same reason, overcrowding causes powdery mildew. Treat plants by removing damaged parts and thin traps.

Poor drainage and excessive use of foliar fertilizers also lead to powdery mildew. There are fungicidal treatments available. These come in spray form and do not need to be diluted. Many organic options are safe for human consumption. Apply this up to a day before harvest.

Wrong mildew, Although the name is similar to powdery mildew, it is not a fungal pest, but a parasitic alga from the genus Peronospora or Plasmopara. Leaves infected with downy mildew yellow and wither instead of turning white. Downy mildew manifests itself near the base of a plant. Both molds exist under the same conditions: too much moisture at persistently cooler temperatures.

Look for powdery mildew when it is raining heavily and the climate is cooler. Copper fungicide applications will treat outbreaks as long as they are accompanied by adequate gardening hygiene. Although downy mildew is not a fungus, the copper eliminates algae.

frequently asked Questions

Q: How long does it take for Tatsoi to grow?

A: Tatsoi grows from seed to full maturity in 45 days. Starts to ripen in 20-25 days.

Q: Can you eat Tatsoi raw?

A: Yes! Eat Tatsoi raw or cooked. It's a nice addition to mixed salads, especially baby greens.

Q: Can Tatsoi grow in the shade?

A: Tatsoi prefers partial shade, but full shade inhibits plant growth. Make sure Tatsoi has at least 3-5 hours of full sun a day. Too much more will cause Tatsoi to slip and lose flavor over time.

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