Help with what to grow

ruthzFebruary 7, 2011

I'm just starting to grow some vegetables and would like help choosing some greens that will tolerant heat and cold.

I ordered from Evergreen Seeds, but I'm now wondering if I could have made better choices. I have two small raised beds , so space is limited.

I don't like a bitter taste.

I want greens for salads, to sautee and stir fry.

I know I want Bok Choy/Pak Choi, Barrell head type Chinese Cabbage, Chinese Broccoli and salad greens.

I would prefer non hybrids.

What's your favorite?

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sorellina(z5/6 Toronto)

Ciao Ruth-

You're in Texas, so a hugely different zone from me. I won't be able to tell you when to start things. Last year was my first time growing Asian vegetables and from that experience, I really loved Giant Red Mustard for its spicy flavour in salads and stir fries, also Rubi Pak Choi for braising, soups, and stir fries, also for making quick kimchi, and Tatsoi was the real stand-out for me last season. You'll want to start that one now because it likes cool weather, but it's a fantastic spinachy-mustardy green that does equally well in stir fries and salads.

From the Asian market, I've fallen in love with Gai Lan, a Chinese sprouting broccoli and I'm going to grow that, Hon Tsai Tai, and Komatsuna this year. I'm thinking that because these are all brassicas, that I should start them soon, but hopefully someone with more experience in my zone will see this thread and pipe up.

Rubi Pak Choi is a hybrid, but I really wouldn't let that get in your way. It's fantastic. Mizuna is another green that's used quite often in salads and a component of a lot of mesclun mixes. I'm growing that one as well this year.

    Bookmark   February 9, 2011 at 10:02PM
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I'm west of Austin & can tell you that "Bok Choy/Pak Choi, Barrell head type Chinese Cabbage, Chinese Broccoli and salad greens" is best grown as a fall crop because it gets hot too fast in Texas. The heat will cause those types of crops to bolt before you can get much of a harvest. It is wise that you are looking for non-hybrid seed. All gardeners like to share, so if you know any Asian gardeners, they will share their heirloom seeds with you so that you can start saving your own seeds for replanting. They will also share their knowledge with you. A few suggestions for survivors in Texas heat: Chinese amaranth, water spinach, black-seeded long beans, Chinese okra squash, fuzzy melon. Other forum members will chime in with more information. It's too bad that you don't like bitter. Bitter squash loves Texas heat, grows up a trellis so requires little space, and has many health benefits. Good luck on the upcoming season, & post another inquiry towards the end of summer in regards to ideas for your fall/winter garden.

    Bookmark   February 11, 2011 at 1:10PM
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I'm in San Diego and although our climate is fairly predictable we have had some surprises. For spring planting(Jan-May) into fairly warm weather, middle of July I have had very good luck with Mei-Qing a ching-chiang type small bok choy from Evergreen. It is a hybrid though. Also most of bok choy, gai laan grown in south China and Hong Kong have worked for me.

    Bookmark   February 11, 2011 at 8:03PM
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I garden where the summers are fairly hot but it is arid. I can grow bok choy fairly late by making my last planting where there is afternoon shade. And, I can't hurry things out too early as hard frosts will encourage the bok choy to bolt as soon as it warms up. Still, I grow quite a lot, especially of Mei Qing.

Last year, I grew Lulan from New Dimension Seed. It was especially tender and Lulan may not be a hybrid - it isn't identified as one on the seed packet. I haven't liked a non-hybrid Ching-Chiang when I've tried it in the past.

Fedco carries Maruba Santoh which is a very mild, mustard-family Asian green. It is very suitable for eating fresh. They also have Senposai which can be allowed to develop flower buds for a veggie very like broccoli or gai lon. I have only had the hybrid that they sell but they sell a non-hybrid.

Komatsunam, a parent of Senposai, is a wonderful green with a flavor more like cabbage than many of the others. Once again, I have only grown the hybrid but there is an open-pollinated type.

As far as Sorellina there in z5/6 Toronto - We may have similar winter cold but, of course, the growing seasons could be quite different.

I was just thinking about 1993 when I began starting plants on February 17th . . . on a day that it was in single digits, below zero (!) at my home. I should have known better but I wanted to get an early start with peppers and Asian greens. It was really too early to set the greens out 4 - 6 weeks later and it was too early to set out the peppers 10 weeks later!

I didn't have a plastic tunnel at that time. These days, I can start Asian greens in a heated greenhouse and then move them into the unheated tunnel. Still, they grow so quickly that it hardly matters to start them amazingly early. Also, the bok choy was once burned by frost in the plastic tunnel (show eyes rolling towards the sky).

If you can grow them under plastic, starting the Asian greens in February makes some sense. Otherwise, wait about 3 weeks into March to sow seed indoors and set out plants about the first of April there in zone 5/6. Continue sowing seeds outdoors until about the 1st of June. Then start again in late August.

Just my 2 cents with a hope that they are helpful.


    Bookmark   February 14, 2011 at 8:12PM
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