Asian Greens: Tips for growing in GreenSmart pots
Asian greens introduction; When we lived in Shanghai we used to love exploring the wet markets to discover new vegetables to cook. However, we had no way of growing them ourselves as our apartment was a long way from the ground and we didn’t have any GreenSmart pots at that time.
Here are some basic tips for growing your own Asian greens in a couple of GreenSmartTM Pots. I have broadly lumped together a whole variety of greens that are originally from Asia but can easily be grown here in New Zealand. Here are ten of them.
Bok Choi /Pak Choy
Some call it Chinese cabbage. Quick growing with sweet loose leaves. The juicy stems are the most appealing parts. Plant a succession as they don’t like to wait to be picked. They go limp very quickly after harvesting so are often expensive in the supermarket.
Coriander or Chinese parsley or cilantro
An aromatic Asian green that is best grown from seed in a well drained sunny spot. It is another “cut and grow again” herb. Coriander has a habit of bolting away to seed when the weather changes from cold to hot and vice versa. More growing tips on Coriander>
Daikon or Japanese Radish.
Daikon has a long white root and is mainly grown for the root but the whole plant can be eaten. It has a distinctly different flavour to European radish without being insipid in the way that many shop radishes are. Daikan can be eaten raw but is usually cooked. This vegetable has a juicy, slightly peppery flavour. Thinly sliced, it stir-fries well, its white circles an attractive element alongside other vegetables.
is best planted in warmer months. This aromatic, citrusy herb is originally from India but is now more closely associated with Thai and Vietnamese cuisine. They love plenty of water and sun. More growing tips on Lemon grass>
Other names include Chinese lettuce or Japanese lettuce. It is related to the turnip. Slightly bitter or peppery flavour with deeply serrated leaves. Mizuna is very easy to grow and is fast growing. Mizuna is a key ingredient in supermarket mesclun salad bags. This Asian green prefers partial shade or 3-5 hours of sun per day. Bolts quickly in hot weather or dry soil conditions. Plant every couple of months. Best used as a ‘cut and grow again’ green. It likes rich, well drained soil
(also called gai choy and Indian mustard. They have large leaves ranging in colour from light green to dark green to purple. Harvest them young before the flavour becomes too strong. More growing tips on mustard green>
thrive in cooler weather. Here are some good tips: http://www.vegetable-gardening-online.com/growing-snow-peas.html
can be grown all year round. As the seeds are very slow to germinate it is better to plant as seedlings. More growing tips on Spring onions>
This is a Chinese cabbage or non heading mustard with shiny glossy dark green leaves that does best with 3-5 hours of sun per day. Will tolerate more sun if well watered. Cold tolerant but will bolt to seed if too cold. It has pale green crisp stalks. Can either harvest the entire plant or slice off about 2 cm above ground level. Stands erect in warmer months and lies flatter to the ground in winter. Well suited to autumn planting. Tatsoi can also be grown as a micro-green.
Uses: salad leaf, stir fry, soup.
is also called hot mint. It has an Oriental spicy flavour and is not related to regular mint. The flavour is very intense. The plant needs plenty of water. They grow like crazy up to half a metre high in a GreenSmart Pot. Give them a partially shaded spot, plenty of nitrogen and trim them back hard to avoid the plants getting too big.Harvest all year round. It is perennial. Vietnamese mint is a great ingredient in laksa, Thai salad, Vietnamese rolls.
Growing Conditions for Asian Greens
The main tip is that the plants all require plenty of water. If you let the soil dry out the plants will be bitter.
Choose a sunny site and begin planting from mid-summer on-wards (ie shortening days) as this reduces the risk of them bolting to seed.
Plenty of organic fertiliser high in nitrogen and potassium because leafy greens do best with high nitrogen.
These greens like plenty of magnesium. Try dissolving a teaspoon of Epsom salts into the water sight glass or apply directly onto the surface when planting seeds.
Pests and Diseases
Generally you won’t have to worry about diseases. Keep an eye out for slugs when the plants are young.