No Need for a Garden, Grow Napa Cabbage to Provide for the Family

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Napa cabbage, also known as Chinese cabbage or Peking cabbage, is a popular leafy vegetable with a mild, slightly sweet flavor. It’s a versatile ingredient in many Asian dishes, including stir-fries, salads, and kimchi. While you may think that you need a garden or a large outdoor space to grow napa cabbage, you can actually cultivate this delicious vegetable in small spaces using plastic bottles. In this article, we’ll guide you through the process of growing napa cabbage in 5-liter (or larger) plastic bottles, making it a perfect solution for urban gardeners and those with limited space.

Why Grow Napa Cabbage in Plastic Bottles?

  1. Space Efficiency: Plastic bottles allow you to maximize vertical space, making them ideal for balconies, windowsills, or even small outdoor areas.
  2. Cost-Effective: Reusing plastic bottles for gardening reduces the need for expensive planters or pots.
  3. Upcycling: By repurposing plastic bottles, you contribute to reducing plastic waste and promote sustainability.
  4. Easy Maintenance: Plastic bottles are lightweight and easy to move, allowing you to adjust the cabbage’s exposure to sunlight.

What You’ll Need

  1. 5-liter or larger plastic bottles (preferably clear or translucent)
  2. Potting soil or a suitable potting mix
  3. Napa cabbage seeds or seedlings
  4. A cutting tool (scissors or a utility knife)
  5. A marker
  6. Watering can or spray bottle
  7. Fertilizer (optional)
  8. Direct sunlight or a grow light source

Steps to Grow Napa Cabbage in Plastic Bottles

1. Preparation

  • Wash the plastic bottle thoroughly and remove any labels.
  • Using a cutting tool, carefully cut the top part of the bottle (about 1/3 of the way down) to create a planting container. Ensure that you leave the bottom part intact as the base.

2. Drainage

  • To prevent waterlogging, make small holes at the bottom of the bottle for drainage. This ensures that excess water can escape, preventing root rot.

3. Fill with Soil

  • Add potting soil or a suitable potting mix into the bottom part of the bottle. Fill it to within an inch or two from the top.

4. Planting

  • Plant napa cabbage seeds or seedlings in the soil, following the recommended spacing for your chosen variety. If using seeds, plant them according to the packet instructions.

5. Labeling

  • Mark the bottle with the date of planting and the cabbage variety to keep track of your plants.

6. Watering

  • Water your napa cabbage regularly, keeping the soil consistently moist but not waterlogged. Use a watering can or a spray bottle to avoid disturbing the delicate seedlings.

7. Sunlight

  • Place your plastic bottle planters in a sunny location, as napa cabbage requires at least 6-8 hours of direct sunlight each day. If you lack access to direct sunlight, consider using a grow light.

8. Maintenance

  • Check the soil moisture regularly and water as needed. You can also add a diluted liquid fertilizer once a month to promote healthy growth.

9. Harvesting

  • Napa cabbage is typically ready to harvest in about 70-80 days after planting. Harvest the entire head by cutting it at the base when it reaches the desired size.


Growing napa cabbage in plastic bottles is a practical and sustainable solution for urban gardeners and those with limited outdoor space. This method not only allows you to enjoy fresh, homegrown produce but also contributes to reducing plastic waste through upcycling. With proper care and attention to sunlight and watering, you can enjoy a bountiful harvest of this versatile and delicious vegetable right from your balcony or windowsill. Happy gardening!

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