Looking for a way to spice up your vegetable garden? Asian greens are the perfect, easy-to-grow addition to any vegetable garden. These delicious veggies are perfect for stir-fry, soups and salads. Asian greens are best grown in cooler weather which is why the best time of the year to plant them is in August or September. Not all Asian greens can be found at your local grocery store, which is why planting them ensures you can always have easy access to these tasty vegetables.
How to Grow Asian Greens?
1. Sow Your Asian Green Seeds:
Asian greens fair better when sown in the fall or late summer. It is best to either sow directly into the ground or to start them in plug trays and plant them a few weeks later. Most Asian greens are in the brassica family meaning that they will flower or bolt earlier on in the season and sowing them later in the summer or fall will avoid this, as well, there are less pests during this time.
2. Prepare the Soil:
It is important that there is a thick layer of compost evenly spread throughout and then rake it through the soil well.
3. Transplant the Asian Greens:
During this process it is important to handle the Asian greens delicately, and to make sure the soil is moist before transplanting. To transplant, I find the best method is to dig a small hole and then put the transplant in and to cover it with soil. Be sure to space out the seedlings 15-20 cm apart.
4. Water your Greens:
Remember to water your Asian greens directly after planting, and to water them every few days as needed. As more time goes on and they start to grow, they will only need to be watered once a week, or every other week. However, underwatering these greens can cause them to bolt.
5. Harvesting Asian Greens:
Most Asian greens will be fully grown between 40-70 days after you transplant them. Depending on the type of Asian green they need to be harvested differently. Bok Choy for instance, will need to be harvested by cutting through the base of the plant. Whereas the Mizuna should be harvested little by little, taking a few leaves each time. You will know they are at their full size once you start to see a bulb on the plant. However, when you decide to harvest them is up to you, and you can let them grow for a longer or shorter amount of time. Once it flowers, these leafy greens will lose their unique, mellow taste and will go bitter. So watch out and keep a close eye on your maturing Asian greens.
How do I Care for my Asian Greens?
The best way to care for your Asian greens is to make sure to weed between the plants and to ensure that they don’t cross pollinate with other plants. As well it is important to protect your plants from slugs and flea beetles, however, if you plan on planting them near the end of summer/fall it should help you avoid flea beetles. But be aware of slugs and remove them as you see them!
Check out our guide on how to deal with garden pests for more tips.
Recommended Varieties of Asian Greens:
There are many different types of Asian Greens, however, a few of my personal favorites are:
- Bok Choy (Pak Choi), this is a more mild flavour but it is very crisp and sweet and tastes really good in stir- fry and soups.
- Chinese Broccoli (Gai Lohn), tastes very similar to traditional broccoli however, the taste is a bit stronger and has similar notes to that of mustard, and I personally love to steam this vegetable.
- Flowering Chinese Cabbage (Choy Sum), This vegetable is more tender and delicate and can be prepared similar to broccoli. All parts of the vegetable are edible including the stem and flowers.
Asian greens are low effort, high yield crops that go from seed to table in no time so you’ll be supplied with family stir-fry and potlucks to fulfill all your leafy green desires. You may have never ventured into exotic vegetables before. Sometimes it can be more comfortable to limit ourselves to what we know and have a routine of doing. We fall into a routine of eating at the same restaurants, shopping at the same stores and even gardening the same vegetables. But, there is joy and excitement in discovering something new and expanding our palettes to appreciate other cultures.