asian greens

Asian greens are very versatile and healthy veggies that can be prepared in numerous ways. From bok choi to mustards and Chinese cabbage, asian greens are excellent sources of vitamins A , C and K, and provide an ample amount of calcium. Learn how to organically grow Asian greens in your fall garden with our quick guide on planting, caring for and harvesting these irresistibly delicious vegetables!

Climate and Varieties
Asian greens prefer shorter and cooler days, making them the perfect choice for fall gardens or cold frames. There are 3 main types of Asian greens:

Crispy and crunchy – This group includes plants like bok choi, Chinese cabbage and Chinese broccoli.
Leafy greens – This group includes relatives of mustard greens such as mustard spinach, tatsoi, mizuna and red-leaf mustards. 
Flowering greens – These are essentially Asian greens that belong to the brassica family, and flower into yellow or white blossoms perfect for steaming or stir-frys.

Planting
Late summer is the best time to plant Asian greens, or 12 weeks before the first estimated frost in your area. If your soil is warm and dry, you can sow seeds directly, otherwise start your plants in a greenhouse or cold frame. Asian greens do best in fertile, moist and well-drained soil with fairly neutral acidity. They love the sun, and need regular watering. Sow the seeds about 1/4 inch deep and 2 inches apart into loosened and sifted soil.

Care
Weed your Asian greens regularly, and thin them as necessary. Some pests that may attack Asian greens are flea beetles, aphids and slugs. Control flea beetles, aphids and nematodes with diluted dish soap spray, or any other organic pest control method. Slugs will likely have to be hand-picked off the plants during the night, and make sure not to leave any mulches or other daytime hiding places for slugs too close to the plants.

Harvesting & Storing
Thinned baby Asian greens can be enjoyed in salads for an added texture and flavor. Once the leaves mature, harvest them individually or harvest full grown crowns by cutting them off at the base with a sharp knife. Asian greens can survive early winters and light frosts if covered overnight, but should be harvested as soon as the first hard freezes hit. Individual leaves will keep up to a week and whole crowns and heads will keep up to a week in cool storage (or the refrigerator). Large crops can always be blanched and frozen or dehydrated.

Check out this awesome chart of Asian greens from Mother Earth News to find the perfect varieties for your fall garden!

Image: afagen

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