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Connecticut Garden Journal: Grow a variety of fast-maturing Asian greens for salads

Bok choy vegetable
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Most gardeners think of Asian greens as Chinese cabbage or bok choy (or pak choi).

Most gardeners think of Asian greens as Chinese cabbage or bok choy (or pak choi). But these traditional veggies have gotten a face lift with new colorful and different sized varieties for salads and cooking.

Asian greens are fast maturing, have beautiful leaves, are easy to grow and are tasty in many foods beyond traditional Asian recipes. Asian greens are often in those baby greens salad mixes we buy.

Some new varieties include 'Rosie' bok choy. It has strawberry colored leaves that can be harvested in 20 days as a baby green or allowed to mature into a full sized, bok choy in 45 days. Tat Soi has dark green colored, spoon shaped leaves. 'Red Cloud' is a burgundy leaf selection that adds color and a little peppery flavor to salads. 'Tokyo Bekana' is a non-heading Chinese cabbage with blonde colored leaves that are ready to eat in 18 days as baby greens. These are fast maturing greens.

Asian greens like cool soil and air temperatures. Sow seeds now indoors to transplant as seedlings into the garden at the end of this month. Once the soil warms and dries, sow seeds of Asian greens in the garden. The combination will give you a longer season of greens as the transplants will yield sooner than the seeded plants. Harvest individual leaves for salads and leave some plants to mature. To ward off flea beetles, plant radishes close by a week or two before planting the Asian greens. The flea beetles will flock to the radish greens where you can spray them with diatomaceous earth.

Charlie Nardozzi is a regional Emmy® Award winning garden writer, speaker, radio, and television personality. He has worked for more than 30 years bringing expert information to home gardeners.
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