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In The Vegetable Patch: Oriental Greens

by Sara Pitzer

Asian Greens, with their exotic sounding names and interesting leaf shapes, are just unusual enough in this country to attract attention and they are good enough to be worth growing, even if you never eat anything more oriental than egg rolls. They are easy to grow, easy to cook in many ways besides traditional oriental dishes, and good in salads, as well as served hot.

Oriental broccoli, sometimes called flower broccoli, is a fast growing relative of broccoli that is easier to grow. Oriental broccoli grows in cool spring and fall weather and will come back after a first cutting. It is good stir fried or lightly steamed.

Pak Choi (or bok choy) is familiar even in supermarkets these days, but what you find in a produce department will never have the crispness and flavor of what you grow yourself. To have a continuous supply of Pak Choi, make several plantings a few weeks apart (it matures in 45 days.) Pak choi is good in stir-fry but also can be sautéed in butter or simmered in broth. It has a sweet flavor, not an old-cabbage taste.

For salads, leaf type subspecies of brassica rapa are mild and tender. Such Japanese greens as Nibuna and Kyona/mizuna and Komatsuna are easy to start and mature in about 40 days.

Your Growise Center will suggest other Asian greens suited to your area.

Their culture calls for sowing anytime from early spring into the middle of the summer and, in the south, again in the fall. Seed should be covered 1/4 inch deep and plants spaced about an inch apart, then thinned to 6 inches apart.



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