Thursday, July 31, 2008

Asian Greens

Today's chore is succession cropping again. Since I picked so many Asian greens recently, I had plenty of space to put my seedlings in. I planted two Chinese cabbage... err yes more Chinese cabbage. Optimism reigns supreme here in the dandelion patch. I might be able to defend the cabbage. I'm thinking rolled up newspapers as decoys for the earwigs this time. Then I can always throw the newspapers in a bucket of water and drown the little suckers. As an added bonus I can throw their dead bodies on the compost pile with the newspapers. Pay no attention to the wild look in my eye.

Hmm where was I. Oh yeah, what I planted. In addition to the Chinese cabbage, I planted one of each of the following: giant red mustard, Fun Jen, mizuna, tatsoi, and two boc choi. The boc choi seedlings don't look all that good. They got too close to the fluorescent light during their youth and got burned. I may have to pull them up if they don't recover. I remembered to give the Chinese cabbage space this time. They can easily take up four square feet of space. These get huge. So I planted them toward the edge. One I put in between some tatsoi and Fun Jen, but they will be pulled within a couple of weeks so should be fine. I actually think the foot spacing I'm giving the rest of the Asian greens is too large. They are all small plants 9" would be fine. I'll have to remember for next year.

The one thing the bed is missing is more compost. I've used all my finished compost up, so am out. With the constant planting of this bed (it turns over about every 40-45 days, except for the Chinese cabbage and mizuna), the nutrients are really getting sucked from the soil, and the crops are all the same ones, so not any rotation, which means I really need to feed them more. I put about a tablespoon of balanced organic fertilizer in each hole along with the same of worm castings. I'm hoping it is enough to keep them growing for their lifetime.

Though I put another mizuna plant in, I'm not sure I need it. The old plants are still growing like crazy. Not a flower is in sight. I'm really shocked. I've never grown it before, but figured it would want to bolt like all my other Asian greens. The plant is a purple mizuna and it is absolutely lovely. The stems and edges of the leaves are purple. When the leaves get old, they also turn purple. Though I don't eat them as a meal to themselves, they get put in every salad I eat. They taste wonderful. Nothing eats the plant (well except me of course). Even the slugs leave it alone. It is my little workhorse that I can always count on. I'm definitely growing this every year.


  1. LOL Daphne, you kill me with "Pay no attention to the wild look in my eye." I love your passion for you veggie garden. And that mizuna plant has fantastic color, what a treat to add that to a salad!

  2. Our Chinese cabbage was actually one of the first things we harvested this year. It was a strange variety that you harvest like spinach so we had quite a bit of it and used it in a lot of stir fry. YUMMY!

    Like you, we will be planting more of it later. Ours will have to go under cloches even later in the year so we'll keep an eye on your progress and see what works best and what doesn't.

    What varieties are you planting? LOVE the Mizuna, by the way. Might have to add that to a spring planter next year... note to self...

  3. Perennial Gardener: yup I do get a little crazy over my garden. I like your word though. I'm not crazy, just passionate.

    shibaguyz: I planted the following varieties of Asian greens:
    Asian Green Lettuce (never germinated)
    Brisk Green Pac Choi (mini choi, very mustardy in the summer heat)
    Chinese Cabbage Rubicon (yummy but way too big for me)
    Fun Jen (love it, frilly boc choi, sort of, bad for cooking, great raw)
    Purple Mizuna (wonderful)
    Red Giant India Mustard (likes to wilt and die on me for no reason)
    Tatsoi (nice, but not a great producer given the space since it grows flat and not upright)

    I got them either from Johnny's or Pinetree.

    And of course you love the Purple Mizuna. It is purple. Aren't half the plants in your garden purple? I think that is how you pick plants. You ask is it purple. If the answer is yes you grow it. I have to confess that is how I picked the mizuna. I had a choice of green or purple. Of course the purple! No agonizing over what it tasted like. Who cares, its purple.

  4. Oh, wow you have a busy bee with all your new crops. I hope they are successful for you and are delicious! you make me crave salad. lots of salad.

  5. I don't think there is a day that goes by without salad. I love it so much. Right now it is the best. I grow everything in it except the red peppers. I'm going to be sad in a week when I'm out of lettuce. I have plenty of other greens that go into the salad (tatsoi, Fun Jen, mizuna), but I love lettuce as a base. I may have to break down and by lettuce at my farmers market.