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Growing Non-GMO Rapeseed Canola Seeds
Rapeseed Canola seeds should be sown 1 inch deep or broadcast and covered. Be sure to sow in a location with full sun and well-draining soil. Water immediately after planting. Throughout the season, keep the soil moist but not wet. Canola can be sensitive to overwatering. Because hot weather can stress these plants, it is important to provide enough water during the hot summer months. Rapeseed can tolerate some saline soils, making it a good option for growth across much of the United States, including coastal land. This spring type is most commonly grown in northern regions, including Canada and North Dakota.
Harvesting Canola Rapeseed
Because every part of this plant can be used, the harvesting process depends on your growing purpose. For harvesting the seed for oil, wait until the late summer after flowering. Ideally, you should start gathering seeds when 30-40 percent of the pods on the main stem have turned color, which typically happens in August. Each pod holds 20-40 seeds. For commercial production, direct-combined is used, but cutting and swathing are preferred. Generally, canola for oil production is grown in an agricultural setting because of the volume of plant material required.
To harvest the foliage, wait until the plant reaches about 2-3 feet tall. Then, using a sharp knife or scissors, cut away the leaves and stems as needed. These leaves are commonly used in stir-fries, soups, or with meat and seasonings. When cooked, the leaves will wrinkle as spinach does.
Rapeseed in the Vegetable Garden
Rape Canola can be a valuable addition to the cool-season home garden as a leafy green. Like other plants of the Brassica family, such as broccoli, cauliflower, kale, mustard, etc., rape does well during the cool spring and fall temperatures. Just be sure to get your harvest before freezing temperatures set in. I recommend also growing these nutritious greens throughout the year as sprouts and microgreens. Growing these stages is extremely easy to do indoors as they require little to no light. If you enjoy adding a little bit of a spicy kick to your foods but find mustard or kale to be a little much, rapeseed is the perfect alternative as it has just enough spice to add flavor without becoming too overpowering.
Rapeseed as a Cover Crop
In addition to its use as a sprout, microgreen, vegetable, and oil crop, rape can be used as a cover crop to improve soil conditions. Because of its natural benefits and differing root structure, it is ideal for including in small cereal grain rotations. As a cover crop, it helps to reduce soil compaction and increase tilth. Plant in the spring when the soil is workable or in the fall at least 6 weeks before your first fall frost. Cut and till back into the soil at least 2 weeks before planting another crop.
About Rapeseed Garden Seeds
Rapeseed can be categorized into two different types. First, Industrial rapeseed is high in erucic acid in the oil (45 percent) and contains notable levels of glucosinolates. Second, Canola has a low erucic acid oil content (less than 2 percent) and only traces of glucosinolates. Canola was registered in Canada in 1979 to differentiate the edible crop commonly known for its use as a heat-tolerant cooking oil from its non-edible counterpart. The name ‘Canola’ was made as an abbreviation for Canadian Oil Low Acid, also known as “double-low.” While these two types of rapeseed are used differently, their seeds appear identical. The only way to tell the seeds apart is by analyzing their oil content.
Canola Oilseed Meal (a byproduct of pressed seeds) is very nutritious! “Research has shown that adding canola meal to the ration of dairy cows can increase milk production. It can also be used as a protein source of pigs, and poultry and can be used to replace fishmeal in the production of some fish species” (AGMRC).
While Canola oil is high in unsaturated fat, it is one of the least saturated cooking oils.
Canola oil is the third most consumed oil in the world.
Tips From Our Gardeners
"Add this organic canola seed to your container garden to attract beneficial pollinators and bees. The flowers are full of nectar, making them valuable at any stage of growth."
||- Ashleigh Smith, True Leaf Market Managing Editor
What is Rapeseed vs Canola
AGMRC - Canola Profile
Canola Council of Canada - Processing Canola
PennState Extention - Canola Production
Purdue Alternative Crops Manual Canola Fact Sheet
Organic Rapeseed Canola Seeds Per Package: