Time for Asian Greens

    • Chrysanthemums come in bright fall colors to give you instant color in flower beds and containers.
    • Cover newly planted vegetable starts to protect them from birds. Spray cabbage and broccoli plants with BT to control cabbage worms which make holes in the leaves.
    • Replace tired petunias with bright pansies, snapdragons, calendulas and stock for garden color this fall and winter.
    • If you have dogwood, walnut, birches and maple trees, these should be pruned in late summer or fall because these will bleed sap when pruned in early spring or late winter.
    • Lettuce can be planted from starts for a quick fall crop.

Enjoy a Taste Treat with Asian Greens

Chinese cabbage is the common name given to many different kinds of leafy Asian vegetables. They are grouped based on size, shape, heading and non-heading.

If you have a little extra space in your fall garden, try growing some Chinese cabbages. Although related to cabbage, they don’t taste much like cabbage. They are more sweetly flavored, with large, crisp, lettuce-like leaves. They are used in salads, sautéed, or pickled in Korean kimchee.

Chinese cabbage requires cool weather for most of its growing season, so fall planting works best. Spring planting usually results in the plants bolting and going to flower before they make edible heads.

Plants do best in a rich, light loamy soil. Apply plenty of compost or well-rotted manure before planting. It is important for the plants to grow quickly, so keep the soil moist and cultivate frequently to keep down weeds and save moisture. Set plants out about 10 inches apart. They will be ready to harvest in about two months.

Pak choy is a popular Asian vegetable which belongs to the loose-leaf cabbage family and resembles Swiss chard. It develops large, glossy dark green leaves with wide white celery-like midribs. It is tender and delicious either cooked or quick fried in oil. It is used extensively in Chinese restaurants in Chow Mein, Chop Suey and soups.

Baby Bok Choy has become the most used vegetables in various Asian dishes due to its excellent flavor, texture and size. This fast-growing vegetable can be ready for harvest in 3-4 weeks. Young leaves and petioles are very tender and crisp, and they are good for stir-fry cooking.

Nappa cabbage, or Wong Bok, makes large, tight, cylindrical heads with broad round smooth leaves. It is very tender with a mild flavor. In much of the world, this is the vegetable referred to as “Chinese cabbage.” It is used in stir fries, soups and kimchee.

To harvest Chinese cabbage, cut the entire plant at ground level when the heads are compact and firm. A light frost is fine, but they should be harvested by Thanksgiving.

There are many other interesting Asian greens. Mizuna is a Japanese non-heading leaf type with narrow, dark-green, feathery leaves. It is very decorative in salads and popular in stir-fry. Tatsoi is a loose -headed variety similar to Pak choy, with a large, bulbous celery-like base. It holds well into winter. Tendergreen mustard-spinach is a leaf type with flat glossy dark-green leaves that grow fast and hold well into the winter months.

Try adding some Asian greens to your garden and your diet, and treat your taste buds to some interesting new flavors this fall and winter.

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