Gai Lan and deteriorating Brassicas

npthaskell(coastal oregon)March 24, 2007

The Vegetable Gardening forum has a current Gai Lan thread. I am reprinting my last post here, since I want to know about specific Gai Lan cultivars and whether other people agree (or not) about my comments about the deterioration of some other Asian Brassica cultivars.


> the gai lan is just not germanating or growing

> as well as the bok choy

I don't think that my most recent sowing of "Blue Star"has germinated yet. My recollection of my late fall sowing was that some seedlings were vigorous while many others were stunted. I would plant each pot with about 6-10 seeds and thin to about 3 of the most vigorous seedlings (later down to 1).

Cultivars of Brassica, need to be under yearly reselection, culling out the weak, and growing enough individuals to maintain genetic diversity via cross pollination. My impression of "Blue Star" is that the cultivar is deteriorating. But then again, maybe my memory is faulty and I'm remembering some other Brassica.

Now that I just tasted Gai Lan a few months ago, I now have the "Gai Lan Bug" and want to try some other cultivars. I want to know what variety is giving you germination troubles. Evergreen has 6 Gai Lan cultivars, Agro HaiTai has 3, and Johnny has 3.

A couple of other Asian Brassica cultivars that show variable seedling vigor (at least in my hands) and could be deteriorating genetically are "Misome" and "Hiroshimana".

Here is a link that might be useful: Gai Lan thread in Veggie forum

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npthaskell(coastal oregon)

Just a list of observations (my memory could be faulty, but here it goes):

1. Seedling vigor of Misome and Hiroshimana seemed to be highly variable whether I got the seed from Evergreen or from Kitazawa.

2. I was pleased with the seedling vigor of all Yu Choy cultivars I have tried from Agro HaiTai.

3. I was pleased with the seedling vigor of all Asian Mustard cultivars I have tried ("Indian" mustards) from Wild Garden Seeds. Frank Morton from WGS is known for strong selection for seedling vigor, and culling out genetic degenerates from cultivar stocks.

4. Vigor of Brassica rapa ("Japonica" mustards) plants from Wild Garden Seeds is variable, not because of cultivar degeneration, but because WGS has so many brand new crosses that need a few more years to perfect. Ditto for many of their Kales. Some of the variability in vigor is because their "cultivars" are actually highly diverse "landraces". These comments also apply to seeds from Peters Seeds & Research.

5. My general impressions of seed companies.
a. I believe that Agro HaiTai is the NAFTA agent of a single Chinese seed producing company with strong quality control.
b. Johnny's is a reseller of excellent Asian seeds, quality control is helped by their rigorous trial program.
c. Brassica seed produced by Wild Garden Seeds should be placed into two groups: "established cultivars" and "experimental mixes or landraces". Quality control of first group is excellent.
d. My impression of Evergreen is that it is a reseller of seed from many companies in Taiwan, Hong Kong, the rest of China, Korea and perhaps elsewhere. Their quality control is variable and at the mercy of their producers.
e. My impression of Kitazawa is similar to that of Evergreen.
f. Brassicas from Peters Seeds & Research are in the "experimental mix" class.
g. I expect to continue doing buisness with all companies listed above.

    Bookmark   March 24, 2007 at 5:51AM
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npthaskell(coastal oregon)

My latest sowing of "Blue Star" Gai Lan took 6 days to germinate. Some stragglers took 7-8 days.

Various other Brassicas have germinated at about 3 days.

These are all indoor germination times.

    Bookmark   March 31, 2007 at 1:00AM
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jimster(z7a MA)

Thanks for passing on your observations. Obviously, you have a good amount of experience with these veggies.


    Bookmark   March 31, 2007 at 2:03PM
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npthaskell(coastal oregon)

The "Blue Star" Gai Lan seedlings all seem to be OK. Some are smaller, but I suppose that those are the ones that germinated 1-2 days later. One thing that I'm doing differntly since my previous sowing last fall, is that I am adding "Gnatrol" to my pots to control fungus gnats (which may have feasted on seedling roots). I should be more careful what I post when I have a temper tantrum.

"Happy Rich" hybrid Gai Lan (from Johnny's) just came up today, 4 days after sowing, 2 days faster than "Blue Star". Either the cultivar is more vigorous, and/or the seed is fresher (my "Blue Star" is 1-2 years old).

    Bookmark   April 13, 2007 at 7:11AM
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I bought some Te You gai lan from Kitazawa Seeds and planted them in two different squares in my garden. One of the squares is somewhat shaded and the other is really sunny from 10am to 7Pm. I noticed the ones planted in the shady square took about 2 weeks to sprout and the other took less than a week. I guess the soil temperture or light is making the difference.

    Bookmark   June 1, 2007 at 9:20AM
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Usually it's soil temperature.

Here is a link that might be useful: Seed Sprouting and Temperatures

    Bookmark   June 1, 2007 at 2:10PM
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try atlantis broccoli. its a gailan x broccoli cross. i just ordered some seeds.

    Bookmark   May 9, 2013 at 10:33PM
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