Old guy needs advice

bigoledude(SE Louisiana)March 18, 2012

My diabetes has worsened. The kidneys are failing. It is definitely possible for me to stop any further damage. I must eat better.

I live just south of New Orleans. Amaranth, Malabar Spinach and Bitter Melon will grow here in the this humid and hot climate.

Are there any other Asian vegetables (like Chinese Broccoli "Kailaan") that can withstand our heat and humidity? There was a post here a while back that said the Chinese broccoli could withstand the summer conditions here in SE Louisiana. Then, someone wrote that the best time to plant would be for a fall crop. Saying the summer was too harsh in this zone.

My guess is that the gardeners from north Florida to South Texas should have similar conditions to what I have here. Please post what you are able to grow during the summer?

I am trying to update my "trade list" and haven't a clue how. Can someone please explain the process in such a way that an old guy can understand? I am looking to trade for some Amaranth and bitter melon seeds.

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bigoledude(SE Louisiana)

My trade list is updated. I would really like to trade for some amaranth for greens.

    Bookmark   March 18, 2012 at 11:00PM
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You have waited 5 days for a response from folks in the deep South. I probably couldn't live in a climate more different and I don't have seed to trade, especially not for what you have suggested. Still, I wanted to let you know what my summer experience is with growing Asian greens, 'dude.

First off, get the seed for the fall: I have little doubt that nearly all of the greens should work well for you at that time. Missing those planting dates because you don't have seed just wouldn't do.

Second, hard for me to know about humid conditions because this is an arid part of the world. Still, I have always felt that the heat and dryness is what prompts the greens to bolt to seed. It could just be stress, however. Either way, a bolting bok choy is tender and sweet. No, it may be of very little size but you are only out 1 seed/plant. If a few of the oldest leaves are tough, just harvest that stalk and if a few flowers are starting to open - that's fine! Very tasty!

The green that gets furthest into the summer in my garden is Senposai. It is a Komatsuma and cabbage hybrid and will grow very large. Komatsuma itself seems to do fairly well late. It also gets quite large.

If I lived somewhere with a milder climate, I'm fairly sure that I could grow Chinese cabbage in the open. As it is, I have to grow it under plastic in the spring. Once that plastic comes off with the heat of summer, the Chinese cabbage has to come into the kitchen. I'm not suggesting it for summer growing but I think that the choice of fall & spring varieties would mean you should be able to have 2 seasons of Chinese cabbage from your garden.

By the way -- I have grown both bitter melon and Malabar spinach. In both cases, the plants had to spend many weeks under plastic before the weather was sufficiently warm so that they could continue growing in the open. That's here.

Of course, you have your collards down South. You know, I didn't have any luck growing broccoli raab and I blamed the dry conditions. It is from Italy but sure is similar to kai-lan. This year, I'm growing Portuguese kale partly because I don't have the summer conditions that would allow me to grow collards - tried a couple of times.

Keep in mind that many of our Asian vegetables are from the south of China and Southeast Asia. These places are hot and humid. They should really extend your gardening season at both ends.

I have found that Kitazawa Seed packets are fairly generous.

Best of Luck to You. I hope I've been a little help.


Here is a link that might be useful: Kitazawa Seed Co

    Bookmark   March 23, 2012 at 9:30PM
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Hi there, I think you'll do better planting Chinese broccoli (kailan) and other brassicas like bok choy in the cooler months because it's more likely to bolt and be bitter in your climate. In the summer, you can try the tropical vegetables that you mentioned like amaranth etc. Hope that helps!

    Bookmark   April 1, 2012 at 12:45AM
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yukkuri_kame(Sunset 19 / USDA 9)

Bitter melon is a great choice... it actually has a natural insulin-like substance that lowers blood sugar. Swiss chard has a similar substance.

You might also try finding Okinawan Spinach, which is a perennial groundcover, though it is usually propagated only from cuttings.

The summer heat and humidity can be a tough time. As mentioned above, make good use of your spring/fall/winter seasons.

Also you could try a little shade cloth, or growing some stuff in the shadow of the house. Lettuce can be grown indoors if it would bolt outside.

    Bookmark   April 6, 2012 at 10:50AM
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bobolink(z6 MA)

If you have the space, grow fig leaf squash(Cucurbita ficifolia). They are prolific, love the heat, and hypoglycemic(some believe it can treat diabetes). The squash will keep for months. I grew 4 plants last year in the northeast and got a couple dozen squash, still have 4. Search this forum for more info. You can also find some data here:


    Bookmark   May 2, 2012 at 4:06PM
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Hey Dude! Jerusalem artichokes should do well in your area. They love our hot, humid summers here in Kansas. The tuber is similar to a potato but they contain inulin which is easier for diabetics to metabolize. The one thing about Jerusalem artichokes is that some people find that they cause flatulence (gassiness). Anyway, they can be a great potato substitute and the plants will increase like crazy. Talk to your doctor about them and then grow some. Try some to see what kind of gastro-intestinal reaction you get and if they make you gassy, try some Beano with them to help reduce the flatulence. I hope this helps. Also, Evergreen Seed sells several types of seed for summer greens. Check them out. I like their stuff.

Here is a link that might be useful: Evergreen Seeds

    Bookmark   May 3, 2012 at 11:10AM
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I live in Hawaii, which is not quite your same climate, but I have found kale and chard to be the very easiest things to grow. It rarely gets above 90 degrees here, so higher summer temps might bother them a bit, but I think it's just as humid here as where you are, and I think they would probably survive though summer and winter there, just like here. I'm no expert on climate though, so don't take my word for that :) They both live a few years too, without re-planting, so you have a constant supply of healthy, tasty greens. I really think they are some of the best-tasting greens too. Collards should also do well there, and can be prepared by sauteeing with a little oil and topping with some lemon juice... yum! I grow yard-long beans here, which are supposed to be more tolerant of heat and humidity than regular "mainland" beans. Not sure if you are still checking this thread (after typing this, I looked at the dates and the thread is actually rather old) but if you are, good luck on your quest to get healthy! I recently watched 2 very good, inspiring documentaries about reversing health conditions through good diet: "Forks over Knives" and "Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead". I highly recommend them both.

    Bookmark   October 12, 2012 at 7:44PM
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Sweet potato is agreat choice too, I ate the leaves the whole summer last year, it help me to control my blood osugar with less medicine.

    Bookmark   February 6, 2013 at 7:29PM
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I've not tried sweet potato leaves yet-- did you grow a particular variety of sweet potatoes for the leaves?

Swiss chard handles the summer pretty well here in dfw. Afternoon and evening shade are good. Imo it works well for salads as well as for greens. Sweet violets and salad burnet make good salad greens in the summer. They like part to all day shade in the summer. Salad burnet and sweet violets do tend to go dormant in the heat, so can't be picked all that often. (I have big beds, and don't take that good care of plants with the fertilizer in the summer. Good care might help prevent dormancy.) Salad burnet has lasted several years under the north facing eaves in the summer, too. I tend to grow these plants in yard tubs-- about 25 gallon size, so they can be moved as needed. They will need water, water, water in the summer heat. Those more experienced recommend mulch.

North central Texas isn't the deep South, but it does have summer heat usually. You might read on the Texas forum and the Oklahoma forum. The Oklahoma forum has very knowledgeable vegetable gardeners, many of whom have gardened in places other than Oklahoma.

Good luck with your plantings, bigoledude!

    Bookmark   February 7, 2013 at 4:01PM
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In Jacksonville, FL area, you can go to the flea market or farmers market to buy the sweeet potato leaves to eat or grow. I grew white, red and orange skin sweet potato, I do not know which one is sold for leaves eating.

    Bookmark   February 10, 2013 at 5:30PM
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Thank you very much. You've grown way more sweet potatoes than I have!

    Bookmark   February 12, 2013 at 7:49PM
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The sweet potato we bought from the flea market to grow for leaves eating is white skin, I heard the purple flesh sweet potato is good for health too, I may try to grow this kind of sweet potato.

    Bookmark   February 17, 2013 at 6:51PM
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I am able to grow several different varieties of Ampalaya (bitter melon) Opo (Upo) Sitaw (yard long beans) Patani, Lab Lab, Fuzzy Gourd, Kang Kung (water spinach), Sweet Potato, Patola, Kalabasa Squash, Gabi (Taro Root) Okra, Cucumbers, Sili (peppers) egg plant, all in the West Texas Desert, just add a lot of water and it all grows in this heat.

    Bookmark   March 2, 2013 at 6:48PM
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Grow Aloe Vera, drink Aloe Vera juice to help control sugar levels.

Here is the link for

Aloe Vera Juice And Everything You Need To Know About It


    Bookmark   December 1, 2013 at 1:51PM
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