A leafy green that you might often confuse with lettuce is the Tokyo Bekana. These greens have three names, based on three different stories. 

So, let’s begin with the stories, and the names associated with them:

  • First story: Vitamin Green – The Tokyo Bekana is a member of the Brassica napa group. The high availability of Vitamin A in these greens is the cause of the special name. Numerous online stores can be found selling the “Vitamin Green” seeds.
  • Second story: Space Cabbage – An amazing fact about this spinach-like green is that it is been taken to space with the purpose to be cultivated. Astronauts of NASA used the Tokyo Bekana as part of a mission to grow their food in space. With this amazing fact, saying that it’s the only plant to be grown off of the earth’s surface will not be a lie.
  • Third story: Tokyo Bekana – The last and most commonly used name, Tokyo Bekana, is based on its origin. This is because it is a descendant of Chinese cabbages with loose heads that spread to Japan. Tokyo Bekana is a creation of several selected varieties of Chinese cabbages.

What does Tokyo Bekana look like?

Tokyo Bekana is a light-weighted, loose-headed appearing leafy bunch. It appears similar to both green leaf lettuce and regular Chinese cabbage. The leaves look frilly from the edges and are consistent along with the whole leaf. The leaves also have white linings on the surface, called veins. The leaf connects with the root through a complete white stem that is hard and more smooth than the leaf itself.

Tokyo Bekana taste:

The taste of Tokyo Bekana is crispy, crunchy with mild nuances of pepper, and similar to the taste of spinach. Also, it seems a bit sweet too. It tastes like a mustard leaf, but with less of spicy touch in it.

Where and how to grow Tokyo Bekana?

When you aim to grow Tokyo Bekana, you are aiming to have a very easy-to-grow kind of cabbage. This is because of a few key features:

  1. It can tolerate less ideal soil conditions, but ideally it loves soil that can drain well.
  2. Plant the Tokyo Bekana in a place highly accessible by sunlight.
  3. Plant it in spring before the last frost or early summer.
  4. This plant grows into young baby leaves in almost 25 days. These can be used as salad leaves.
  5. It fully matures in approximately 45 days.
  6. It can be harvested in all of its different stages.
  7. This can be a year-round yield.
  8. It grows again and again as you pluck a few leaves off.

TIP: You can grow them easily in containers or planters and keep them in the greenhouse. They can be grown around the world.

Tokyo Bekana nutrition:

Besides its easy growth, the Tokyo Bekana has several nutritional benefits.

  • It is a rich source of excellent fiber that helps protect and maintain digestion.
  • It has a variety of vitamins in it for protection against environmental damage caused to the body. Vitamins A, C, and K are the main ones highly present.
  • Several other nutrients, like folate, iron, calcium, and magnesium, are also present.

How to eat Tokyo Bekana?

So now you are done with either growing your space cabbage, or have purchased it from a local store. The next step comes in how to eat it.

Tokyo Bekana is a green where the fresher it is, the better. You should not freeze it! But, what you can do is store it for about a week or so in your fridge.

You can eat it after plucking the leaflet from the stem allowing the stem to grow another leaf again. Wash it properly and eat out of hand. Yeah, as simple as that. It can be eaten raw or cooked in varieties of dishes. It can serve as lettuce to your perfect burger. Or you can just chop it into your green salads. Any way you like it!

How to store Tokyo Bekana?

  • Since you can’t keep it for more than a week even in your refrigerator, you should only grow as much as you will utilize within a few days of maturing. This is not good for freezing.
  • If you want to preserve your greens for a week then you have to wash them properly, strain them, and then you need to dry them very nicely. After that align the leaflets in paper towels over and under.

Tokyo Bekana pests and diseases:

Being a member of the Brassica family, Tokyo Bekana can get harmed by a variety of pests and diseases quite easily. Before planting, it would be great to search for different ways to avoid such pests and diseases as they may vary according to your regional location. I know it hurts to see your ideal crop destroyed because of such pests.

An effective technique of avoiding lots of pests is a light sprinkling or dusting of diatomaceous earth. It can kill almost all pests, but keep in mind that it will kill beneficial bugs as well.

Several diseases that harm your crop include leaf spots, root rot, and blights. The beginnings of all these diseases is found in the plant’s roots. Therefore, you need to be careful with the purchase of seeds, being sure that they are disease-free.

A year-round cultivator should shift the places of growing the space cabbage. It also avoids attracting certain diseases.

TIP: Whenever you encounter a diseased plant, just pluck it out right then and there. If it is left, it can contaminate the rest of the soil, which can destroy the entire crop.

Other vegetable articles:

What Is Cassava?

Long Squash

Root Vegetables

Fennel Bulb


Watermelon Radish

What is Shiso?


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