Brassica oleracea var. capitata | 70 days to maturity

This salad cabbage is a refreshing ingredient in Japanese cooking and often used to balance otherwise heavy dishes. Saku Saku is an onomatopoeia for the sound of chewing something crunchy. As its name suggests, this variety gives you a delightfully fresh crunch when biting into its snappy green leaves.

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Cooking with Saku Saku

Saku Saku is wonderful when used fresh, and can be used in place of any other cabbage variety in salads and slaws. Fresh shredded Saku Saku makes a great addition to tacos, sandwiches and wraps for a bit of extra texture.

In Japan, it is common to find a mountain of julienned fresh cabbage on the plate of your deep fried favorites like tonkatsu, or Japanese pork cutlet. The light yet nutrient-dense cabbage helps to balance the flavors of fatty and meaty dishes in addition to the health benefits described above. Saku Saku can be lightly pickled or marinated to make Izakaya-style salted Saku Saku, a popular – and slightly addictive – pairing for a cold beer.

The individual leaves can also be used as wrappers for steaming and blanching fish, meats, and dumplings.

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Growing Details


  • Direct seeding: sow 1–2 seeds every 6”, 1/4” deep.
  • Transplanting: Sow 1-2 seeds per cell into a 72-cell tray.
  • Ensure cells are completely filled to avoid air pockets.
  • Sow seeds 1/4–1/2" deep and cover gently.
  • Avoid pressing too firmly as compaction can cause difficulty transplanting.
  • Over-watering can create a crust-like soil layer, preventing germination. Maintain soil moisture through germination.
  • Once germinated, avoid watering for 7–10 days to improve root growth and stronger plant development. Then, water thoroughly to improve head size.
  • Thin to one seedling per cell once established. 


  • Check for readiness 40–45 days after germination by gently pulling on the base of the stem to see if the soil block stays together.
  • Transplant to 12" spacing, with 14–18” between rows.  


  • Cultivate to prevent weed competition and use best management practices for pests.
  • Use of light row cover can prevent damage from flea beetles and other brassica pests. 


  • Approximately 65-75 days from transplant. 
  • Harvest at 12–14” in diameter, when heads are firm. 
  • Cut the base of the stalk just above ground level. 
  • Grow your own

    Seeds are available for purchase from packets to bulk, with multiple maturities.

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  • Growing details

    For more growing details, vist the blog posts on germination, growing and harvesting Saku Saku.

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  • Cook with Saku Saku

    For cooking information including recipes from the Culinary Institute of America, visit the blog.

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