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Rapsblüte - The 5th Season  
 

A long time ago out of a natural cross of Ruepsen and cabbage originated the wild plant rape. Out of this wild plant an efficient oil plant was breeded that today thrives in all moderate temperature zones. Rape belongs to the family of cross-breeders. Earlier, rape was planted mostly on the coastal regions due to the constant wind which was a natural pest control guarantee. On the island of Fehmarn winter rape is usually planted in autumn so that it can develop its deep roots (5 meters deep) before the oncoming winter.

   
     The rape loses its leaves depending upon how hard the winter is. After a new growth phase in spring the plants begin blossoming around the middle of May and continue for up to four weeks. This rape blossom time is known on the island as the fifth season. The luminous gold yellow color of the spacious fields is an impressive sight. The buzzing of the bees can be heard loud and clear while they produce the sought after rape honey.   
  Eventually around 100 pods are cultivated in which the seeds, rape corn, mature. They consist of about 40% oil. One hectare (about two and a half acres) of rape produces about 30 to 40 quintals rape seeds. In oil mills oil is produced for the manufacture of margarine and salad oil. A by-product is a protein granulate which is used for animal nutrition. The future of rape lays not only in the traditional manufacturing but also in its prospective use in the energy field.