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Producing Asian Greens
©Pam Dawling 2017
Twin Oaks Community, Central Virginia
Author of Sustainable Market Farming
Publis...
Outline
1. Meet the Asian Greens
2. Crops I recommend for easy success
3. Crops to try later
4. Crop requirements
5. Pests...
1. Meet the Asian Greens!
• Huge range of attractive varieties
• Quick-growing, bring fast returns
• Grow when you normall...
Advantages
 A quick way to fill out your
market booth or CSA bags
 A catch crop for spaces where
other crops have failed...
Healthful Diversity!
 Flavors vary from mild to
peppery - read catalog
descriptions before growing
lots
 Colors cover th...
Who’s Who – 3 main groups
1) The turnip family, Brassica rapa,
of Asian origin
a. Some crops are Brassica rapa var.
pekine...
2. Crops I recommend
1a. Brassica rapa var. pekinensis
Wong Bok types
• Napa cabbage is a Che-foo type
of wong bok,
• Cyli...
1a. Brassica rapa var. pekinensis.
Napa cabbage
Photo Kashruth Council of Canada
• A type of wong bok
• Very tender, light...
1a. Brassica rapa var. pekinensis
Michihli (Cylindrical Wong Bok)
Chinese cabbage
• Produces 16" (40-cm) tall heads
6" (15...
1a Brassica rapa var. pekinensis
Celery cabbage (pe tsai)
Photo credit Johnnys Seeds
The second type of B. rapa:
• A fast-...
1a Brassica rapa var. pekinensis
Maruba Santoh
• A fast-growing chartreuse
(yellow-green) tender-leafed
plant
• Can be har...
1a or b Brassica rapa var. pekinensis or var. chinensis
Tokyo Bekana
• Fast-growing tender
chartreuse frilly, leafy
plant....
1b. Brassica rapa var. chinensis
Pak choy, bok choi
• Previously known as
Chinese mustard cabbage
• Sturdy white leaf stem...
Pak choy
Red Choi Photo Kitazawa Seeds.
http://www.kitazawaseed.com/seed_443
-77.html
• Can be picked as
individual leaves...
1c. Brassica rapa var. japonica
Mizuna (kyona)
• Very easy to grow,
tolerates cold wet soil
• Use for baby salads
after on...
Mizuna
• Mild flavor
• Ferny leaves - add color
and loft in salad mixes
• Regrows vigorously after
cutting
• Available in ...
1d. Brassica rapa var. narinosa
Tatsoi (tah tsoi)
• A small plant, a flat rosette
of shiny, dark green spoon-
shaped leave...
Tat soi
• Direct sow and then thin
into salad mixes, leaving
some to mature at 10" (25
cm) across for cooking
greens.
• Ca...
1e. Brassica rapa var. perviridis or
Brassica rapa var. komatsuna
Komatsuna
• Also known as mustard spinach
(so is Pak Cho...
1. Brassica rapa or 3. juncea
Yukina Savoy
• like a bigger tatsoi,
• blistered dark green leaves
and stems
• delicious fla...
Yukina Savoy
Outdoors in December, after several nights at
16-17°F (-8 to -9°C)
Hybrid of 1e. Brassica rapa var perviridis
& 2. Brassica oleracea
Senposai - Our star of Asian greens
• A cross between
ko...
Senposai
• Transplant at 12"–18"
(30–45 cm) spacing; it
really will use all this
space
• Grows fast. Only 40 days
to matur...
Senposai in November
the young hoophouse crop is almost ready to
take over from the well-used outdoor crop.
Senposai. Phot...
3. Brassica juncea
Red Splendor, Ruby Streaks,
Golden FrillJohnny’s Red Splendor Ruby Streaks
Photo Southern Exposure Seed...
Asian-type brassica salad mixes
Wild Garden Pungent Mix,
Brassica juncea, (Wild Garden
Seeds, Fedco)
A cross of pungent In...
Pseudo-Asian Greens
Pink Lettucy Mustard,
Brassica rapa japonica,
Mild-flavored at all growth
stages
Photo Wild Garden See...
3. Crops to try later
Small and/or short-lived greens
 Hon Tsai Tai, Brassica rapa, (like a purple broccoli raab).
Also k...
Crops to try later
Big and sturdy greens
 Tyfon Holland Greens - a strong
plant, a hybrid of komatsuna
with a heading bra...
More Big Greens
 Chinese Thick-Stem Mustard (SESE,
Fedco, Even' Star Organic Farm,
Maryland). Multiple cuttings of
balanc...
More Big Greens
Toraziroh
 Brassica oleracea algoblabria, a robust producer of high
yields of large leaves with a good, n...
Photo Kitazawa Seeds
http://www.kitazawaseed.com/seed_051-
68.html
• Transplants of Red Giant Mustard
Photo Southern Expos...
Chrysanthemum greens (shungiku)
• Chrysanthemum coronarium.
These have a very distinctive
aromatic flavor, which you
may o...
4. Crop requirements for Asian greens
Similar care requirements to other brassicas,
Shallow rooted - Pay extra attention...
Sow or Transplant?
We almost always transplant brassicas because we
use our growing spaces very intensively.
Transplanti...
Transplanting for fall crops
In summer, the faster growing types
(Napa cabbage, Tokyo Bekana and
Maruba Santoh) are ready...
Irrigation
 Shallow-rooted, need plenty of
water to grow pleasant-tasting
leaves.
 1” (2.5 cm) of water per week
 2” (5...
5. Pests and diseases
ProtekNet on hoops
ProtekNet Pest Control Netting is
made of clear high-density
polyethylene with U...
Pests : flea beetles
o Garlic spray, Miller’s Hot Sauce,
kaolin and white sticky traps have
been suggested.
o You can also...
o Harlequin bugs are our worst brassica pests. We usually
pppppppp pick and kill them.
o Aphids are worse in cooler weathe...
Even More Pests
o I used to think slugs were an endangered species in
Virginia. When we put up our hoophouse, I found we
w...
 Most of these greens are fast-turnaround crops, so if some
get sick, pull them out and move on in life.
 If it’s fall y...
6. Growing in Spring
In spring we sow in flats in a
greenhouse, to get an early
start.
We transplant spring Asian
greens...
7. In Summer (for Fall Outdoor Crops)
 We prefer outdoor
seedbeds for summer
sowings, because it is easier
to keep the pl...
For Fall Outdoor Crops
We start sowing our fall
Asian greens for outdoor
planting around June 26
and repeat a week later ...
Season extension
 Fast growing varieties can be
succession sowed for a continuous
supply.
 Cold-hardy types can be harve...
Cold-Hardiness
32F (0C): Some Pak Choy
25F (-4C): Chinese Napa cabbage, Maruba
Santoh, Mizuna, Tokyo Bekana, most Pak Ch...
8. Growing in the winter hoophouse
Hoophouses are the place to be in winter, if you are an Asian
green.  Night-time prote...
Persephone days and
scheduling winter
hoophouse crops
 When the daylight is shorter than 10 hours a day not much
growth h...
Fall outdoor sowings to transplant inside
• Sept 15: pak choy, Chinese cabbage, Yukina Savoy,
Tokyo Bekana, Maruba Santoh,...
Fall Hoophouse Planting - September
Early September : We clear and
add compost to one of the beds
and sow tatsoi.
Sept 1...
Fall Hoophouse Planting - October
Late October we sow more
“filler” Asian greens
In the fourth week of October,
we clear...
Hoophouse Planting –
November and December
Nov 10 we sow more mizuna
Nov 11-20 we sow tatsoi
From Nov 10 on we aim to k...
Hoophouse Planting –
December to February
 We stop filling gaps with Asian greens
(and lettuces) on Jan 25, and fill all
...
9. Winter Hoophouse Harvest
Schedule
Harvest of Asian greens starts
in November, with mizuna,
tatsoi and baby brassica mi...
Harvesting
Some of these greens are
harvested as whole heads;
others can be harvested by the
leaf and bunched or bagged.
...
After Harvest
After harvest, get the
crops into shade and a
cooler as soon as you
can.
Some of the heading
types can be ...
10. Minimizing nitrate
accumulation in winter
In winter, when light levels are low, beware of high levels of
nitrates in l...
Nitrate accumulation
• Plants make nitrates during the night, and convert them
into leaf material during the day. It takes...
To keep nitrate levels as low as possible
 Grow varieties best suited for winter;
 Avoid fertilizing with blood meal or ...
11. Seed saving
 If you plan to grow seed of more than one Asian green, carefully choose
ones that won’t cross. Be aware ...
Resources
• Grow Your Own Chinese Vegetables, Geri Harrington, 1984, Garden Way
Publishing. Includes the names for these c...
Producing Asian Greens
©Pam Dawling 2017
Twin Oaks Community, Central Virginia
Author of Sustainable Market Farming
Publis...
Producing Asian Greens 2017 Pam Dawling
Producing Asian Greens 2017 Pam Dawling
Producing Asian Greens 2017 Pam Dawling
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Producing Asian Greens 2017 Pam Dawling

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Detailed information for market and home growers. Many varieties of tasty, nutritious greens grow quickly and bring fast returns. This session covers production of Asian greens outdoors and in the hoophouse. It includes tips on variety selection of over twenty types of Asian greens; timing of plantings; pest and disease management; crop requirements and harvesting.

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Producing Asian Greens 2017 Pam Dawling

  1. 1. Producing Asian Greens ©Pam Dawling 2017 Twin Oaks Community, Central Virginia Author of Sustainable Market Farming Published by New Society Publishers SustainableMarketFarming.com facebook.com/SustainableMarketFarming
  2. 2. Outline 1. Meet the Asian Greens 2. Crops I recommend for easy success 3. Crops to try later 4. Crop requirements 5. Pests and diseases 6. Growing in spring 7. Growing outdoors in fall 8. Growing in the winter hoophouse 9. Harvesting 10.Minimizing nitrate accumulation in winter 11.Seed saving • Pak Choy. Credit Ethan Hirsh
  3. 3. 1. Meet the Asian Greens! • Huge range of attractive varieties • Quick-growing, bring fast returns • Grow when you normally grow cabbage or kale • Short spring season, bolt when it gets hot • Long fall season, no bolting. Success depends on getting them germinated and planted in June and July • Grow all winter in hoophouses in central Virginia Blues Napa Chinese cabbage shown here Credit Ethan Hirsh
  4. 4. Advantages  A quick way to fill out your market booth or CSA bags  A catch crop for spaces where other crops have failed or otherwise finished early. Keep a flat of seedlings ready, pop plugs into any empty spaces  Better able to germinate in hot weather than lettuce  Faster growing than lettuce  Faster-growing types are ready for transplanting 2 weeks after sowing (or you can direct sow)  Trial many kinds, use unwanted seed in baby salad mix! Our hoophouse in November Photo Ethan Hirsh
  5. 5. Healthful Diversity!  Flavors vary from mild to peppery - read catalog descriptions before growing lots  Colors cover the spectrum: chartreuse, bright green, dark green and purple  Nutritious as well as tasty  High in carotenoids, vitamins A and C, calcium, iron, magnesium and fiber  Help prevent high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke  They contain antioxidants which fight against cancer and protect eyes from macular degeneration Photo Credit Ethan Hirsh
  6. 6. Who’s Who – 3 main groups 1) The turnip family, Brassica rapa, of Asian origin a. Some crops are Brassica rapa var. pekinensis (napa cabbage, michihli, celery cabbage); b. Others are B. rapa var. chinensis (bok choy), c. B. rapa var. japonica (mizuna), d. B. rapa var. narinosa (tatsoi), e. B. rapa var. perviridis (komatsuna) Different sources use different names 2) The cabbage family, B. oleracea, of European origin Kai-lan, Chinese kale 3) The Chinese Mustard family, B. juncea Ruby Streaks (shown here, Photo Johnnys Seeds), Golden Frill, Red Rain If you plan to grow seed of more than one Asian green, carefully choose ones that won’t cross. Be aware of the possibility of brassica crops being wrongly classified
  7. 7. 2. Crops I recommend 1a. Brassica rapa var. pekinensis Wong Bok types • Napa cabbage is a Che-foo type of wong bok, • Cylindrical cabbages such as Michihli (below) and Jade Pagoda are Chihli types of wong bok • Photo Southern Exposure Seed Exchange Celery cabbage types • Loose-leaf, non-heading, fast- growing vegetables with light green leaves and white petioles. Maruba Santoh and Tokyo Bekana (below) • Photo Johnnys Seeds
  8. 8. 1a. Brassica rapa var. pekinensis. Napa cabbage Photo Kashruth Council of Canada • A type of wong bok • Very tender, light green leaves • Excellent for stir-fries, pickling • Hardy to about 25°F (–4°C) • We like Blues (52 days from seed to harvest) best • Kasumi has the best bolt tolerance and is larger: 5 lb (2.3 kg) compared to 4 lb (1.8 kg) • Orange Queen is a colorful but slower-growing variety (80 days) • All are hardy to about 25°F (–4°C) • Stores better than michihli types
  9. 9. 1a. Brassica rapa var. pekinensis Michihli (Cylindrical Wong Bok) Chinese cabbage • Produces 16" (40-cm) tall heads 6" (15 cm) across. • Produces more in the same space compared to Napa cabbage • Very tender, light green leaves • Excellent for stir-fries and pickling. • More stress tolerant and resistant to bolting and black speck than Napa cabbage • Cannot be stored as long. • We like Jade Pagoda (72 days) and the O-P Michihli (72 days) • Photo Southern Exposure Seed Exchange
  10. 10. 1a Brassica rapa var. pekinensis Celery cabbage (pe tsai) Photo credit Johnnys Seeds The second type of B. rapa: • A fast-growing, looseleaf, non-heading vegetable with light green leaves and white petioles. • Mild flavor, tender texture: can be substituted for lettuce • Can be ready for harvest in 3–4 weeks after sowing. • More heat tolerant than Napa. Cold tolerant to 25°F (-4°C) • Fairly bolt resistant • Maruba Santoh, Tokyo bekana – very similar
  11. 11. 1a Brassica rapa var. pekinensis Maruba Santoh • A fast-growing chartreuse (yellow-green) tender-leafed plant • Can be harvested as baby leaves • Or the leaves and wide white stems of the mature plant provide crunch for salads • Or whole plants can be chopped and lightly cooked • Only 21 days to baby leaf, 35 days to maturity, and is fairly bolt resistant • Photo Ethan Hirsh
  12. 12. 1a or b Brassica rapa var. pekinensis or var. chinensis Tokyo Bekana • Fast-growing tender chartreuse frilly, leafy plant. • 21 days to baby crop, 45 days to full maturity • Can be used for salad leaves during late-summer lettuce shortages. • Mild flavor - many people don’t even notice they are not eating lettuce! Young Tokyo Bekana seedlings in our November hoophouse. Photo Ethan Hirsh
  13. 13. 1b. Brassica rapa var. chinensis Pak choy, bok choi • Previously known as Chinese mustard cabbage • Sturdy white leaf stems, big green leaves. Usually harvested as a head 12"– 15" (30–38 cm) tall • 45–55 days to maturity • All are hardy down to 32°F (0°C), most varieties to 25°F (-4°C) Photo Johnnys Seeds
  14. 14. Pak choy Red Choi Photo Kitazawa Seeds. http://www.kitazawaseed.com/seed_443 -77.html • Can be picked as individual leaves, for bunches of mixed braising greens or stir- fry combinations • We grow Prize Choy or Joy Choi • There is also red choi (a 45-day, red-veined baby leaf or maroon-leaved full-size version)
  15. 15. 1c. Brassica rapa var. japonica Mizuna (kyona) • Very easy to grow, tolerates cold wet soil • Use for baby salads after only 21 days • Or thin to 8"–12" (20– 30 cm) apart, to grow to maturity in 40 days • Fairly heat tolerant (well, warm tolerant) • Cold tolerant to 25°F (-4°C) Photo Ethan Hirsh
  16. 16. Mizuna • Mild flavor • Ferny leaves - add color and loft in salad mixes • Regrows vigorously after cutting • Available in green or purple (but Ruby Streaks mustard is much better than Purple Mizuna!)  Mizuna  Ruby Streaks  Strap-leaved mibuna  Purple mizuna Photo Ethan Hirsh
  17. 17. 1d. Brassica rapa var. narinosa Tatsoi (tah tsoi) • A small plant, a flat rosette of shiny, dark green spoon- shaped leaves and green- white stems • 21 days for baby salads; 45 days for cooking • Mild flavor, an attractive appearance • Very cold tolerant, hardy to 10°F (–12°C) • Easy to grow - here’s how - Photo Ethan Hirsh
  18. 18. Tat soi • Direct sow and then thin into salad mixes, leaving some to mature at 10" (25 cm) across for cooking greens. • Can transplant at 6" (15 cm) • Kitazawa Seeds have a Red Violet tatsoi/pak choy hybrid, with an upright habit Photo Wren Vile Photo Kitazawa Seeds http://www.kitazawaseed.com/seed_369-77.html
  19. 19. 1e. Brassica rapa var. perviridis or Brassica rapa var. komatsuna Komatsuna • Also known as mustard spinach (so is Pak Choy!), Summer Fest • Green or red (purple) • Baby salad size in 21 days, full size in 35 days • A large plant 18" (45 cm) tall • Pick and bunch individual leaves • Or harvest the whole plant • The flavor is mildly peppery • Cold-tolerant to 15°F (-9.5°C), perhaps 10°F (-12°C) Photo credit Fothergill Seeds Photo Fothergill Seeds
  20. 20. 1. Brassica rapa or 3. juncea Yukina Savoy • like a bigger tatsoi, • blistered dark green leaves and stems • delicious flavor • about 12" (30 cm) tall • Tolerant to heat and cold – down to 10°F (-12°C) • Transplant at 12" (30 cm) • 21 days to reach baby size, 45 days to full size Photo Ethan Hirsh
  21. 21. Yukina Savoy Outdoors in December, after several nights at 16-17°F (-8 to -9°C)
  22. 22. Hybrid of 1e. Brassica rapa var perviridis & 2. Brassica oleracea Senposai - Our star of Asian greens • A cross between komatsuna and regular cabbage. • A big plant producing large, round, mid-green leaves which are usually harvested leaf by leaf. • Cooks quickly (much quicker than collards) • Delicious sweet cabbagey flavor, tender texture. • Photo Kathryn Simmons
  23. 23. Senposai • Transplant at 12"–18" (30–45 cm) spacing; it really will use all this space • Grows fast. Only 40 days to mature. • Very productive, usually harvested leaf-by-leaf • Heat and cold tolerant (down to 12°F (-11°C) A bed of senposai 15” apart in the row, 3 rows in 48” Photo Kathryn Simmons
  24. 24. Senposai in November the young hoophouse crop is almost ready to take over from the well-used outdoor crop. Senposai. Photo Ethan Hirsh
  25. 25. 3. Brassica juncea Red Splendor, Ruby Streaks, Golden FrillJohnny’s Red Splendor Ruby Streaks Photo Southern Exposure Seed Exchange Golden Frill http://www.evergreenseeds.com
  26. 26. Asian-type brassica salad mixes Wild Garden Pungent Mix, Brassica juncea, (Wild Garden Seeds, Fedco) A cross of pungent Indian mustards for those who like Big Flavor. 40 days to harvest. Photos Wild Garden Seeds Pink Petiole Mix, Brassica rapa (Wild Garden Seeds, Fedco) Fast-growing, cold tolerant, adds a touch of color to the brassica portion of winter salad mixes. A varied mix of colors and shapes. Ready in 40 days.
  27. 27. Pseudo-Asian Greens Pink Lettucy Mustard, Brassica rapa japonica, Mild-flavored at all growth stages Photo Wild Garden Seeds Ornamental and garnish kales and cabbages add color and texture. We like Nagoya Red and White and Red Chidori Photo http://www.extension.iastate.edu
  28. 28. 3. Crops to try later Small and/or short-lived greens  Hon Tsai Tai, Brassica rapa, (like a purple broccoli raab). Also known as Choy Sum. Mostly stem with small clusters of buds. In climates cooler than Zone 7 this might be productive in the fall. For spring it could be a challenge most places. It matures in only 35–40 days. Hardy to 23°F (–5°C).  Broccoli Raab, Brassica rapa ruvo. We had the same trouble with this as with Hon Tsai Tai Photo Johnnys Seeds  Mei Qing Choi, A miniature 6" (15 cm) pak choy. We don’t do well with miniature crops. These might suit your market, but we do better with larger vegetables. It matures in less than 45 days, a definite plus  Vitamin Green/Bitamin-Na/Yokatta-Na, Brassica rapa var. Narinosa. A slender, white-stemmed plant, about 12" (30 cm) tall. It can be planted 4" (10 cm) apart, or direct sown and thinned. Tolerates heat and cold. Quick- growing with good flavor, not pungent: 21 days for salad mix, 45 to full size
  29. 29. Crops to try later Big and sturdy greens  Tyfon Holland Greens - a strong plant, a hybrid of komatsuna with a heading brassica. Could be good in a survival situation, or to grow for goats, or to make green juices. Hardy down to 20°F (-7°C).  Mizspoona, Brassica rapa, a large sturdy plant, 40 days to maturity. A sweet flavor with a good balance of mild zinginess. A gene pool (variable plants). Mizuna crossed with Tatsoi. Mizspoona photo Wild Garden Seeds https://www.wildgardenseed.com
  30. 30. More Big Greens  Chinese Thick-Stem Mustard (SESE, Fedco, Even' Star Organic Farm, Maryland). Multiple cuttings of balanced-flavor salad mix crop to fill the CSA bags. Extremely cold tolerant.  Tenderleaf – a big, sturdy, OP plant. Quick-cooking, mild-flavored, despite appearances. Selected from a cross of Tendergreen and tatsoi. Very disease- resistant and cold tolerant down to 20°F (-7°C). Can be sown later in the fall than other greens - could be the solution if your original plan didn’t work. Can be a useful salad mix crop at the baby stage. Chinese Thick-Stem Mustard. Photo Southern Exposure Seed Exchange
  31. 31. More Big Greens Toraziroh  Brassica oleracea algoblabria, a robust producer of high yields of large leaves with a good, not overpowering flavor.  Related to Chinese kale or Chinese broccoli.  Ready in 45 days.  Bolts sooner than senposai or yakattana Photos: left http://www.truffulaseedproduce.com, right http://tanicreekfarm.com
  32. 32. Photo Kitazawa Seeds http://www.kitazawaseed.com/seed_051- 68.html • Transplants of Red Giant Mustard Photo Southern Exposure Seed Exchange • Mature Red Giant Mustard Mustard greens Mustards such as Red Giant, Osaka Purple, Brassica juncea, and American Mustards (eg Southern Green Wave) proved too hot for salads for us, even at 3" (8 cm) leaves. Best cooked. Hardy to light frosts. Attractive colors. 21 days to baby leaves, 40–45 days full size
  33. 33. Chrysanthemum greens (shungiku) • Chrysanthemum coronarium. These have a very distinctive aromatic flavor, which you may or may not love. • The flowers are very pretty, if you give up harvesting the leaves. • 21 days for baby greens, 45 days to full size. Photos https://plantfreak.wordpress.com
  34. 34. 4. Crop requirements for Asian greens Similar care requirements to other brassicas, Shallow rooted - Pay extra attention to providing enough water during hot weather to prevent bitter flavors and excess pungency, Do close monitoring of pests, which can build up large populations during the summer. Very fertile soils grow the best Asian greens, Turn in leguminous cover crops or compost to provide adequate nutrition.
  35. 35. Sow or Transplant? We almost always transplant brassicas because we use our growing spaces very intensively. Transplanting gives the previous crop extra time. If we have 4 weeks between the end of one crop and transplants going in, we sow buckwheat to add organic matter and smother weeds. We grow a lot of brassicas and our crop rotation is always pushed and stretched by the amount of brassicas we’d like to plant – transplanting allows the soil extra weeks without brassicas.
  36. 36. Transplanting for fall crops In summer, the faster growing types (Napa cabbage, Tokyo Bekana and Maruba Santoh) are ready to plant out 2 weeks after sowing.. Most others transplant best at 3–4 weeks of age (less time than needed in spring). We transplant outdoors July 10 - July 31 for early fall crops. Later is possible. To minimize transplant shock, water the plants well an hour before transplanting, get them in the ground as quickly as possible and water again. Shadecloth or rowcover will help keep the breezes (if any!) and strong sun off the plants. Maruba Santoh transplant. Photo Ethan Hirsh
  37. 37. Irrigation  Shallow-rooted, need plenty of water to grow pleasant-tasting leaves.  1” (2.5 cm) of water per week  2” (5 cm) during very hot weather  Drip irrigation saves water, reduces disease and weed pressure  Overhead irrigation can be cheaper and easier to set up for crops that will be harvested before much time has passed.  Overhead sprinklers can wash off aphids - could be all the control you need Ruby Streaks mustard with drip irrigation. Photo Ethan Hirsh
  38. 38. 5. Pests and diseases ProtekNet on hoops ProtekNet Pest Control Netting is made of clear high-density polyethylene with UV resistance and a lifespan of eight to ten years. Its light transmission is 90 percent. It is available from Purple Mountain Organics in Maryland. The 1.35 × 1.35 mm 60 gm/m2 mesh is one-sixth the length of a cucumber beetle. It also protects crops against weather damage. Mesh fabric with small holes is better than rowcover in hot weather - airflow is better and it heats less. Photo Dubois Agrinovation
  39. 39. Pests : flea beetles o Garlic spray, Miller’s Hot Sauce, kaolin and white sticky traps have been suggested. o You can also catch them with a vacuum cleaner, or inside a bucket coated with Tanglefoot paste (hold the inverted bucket over the plant, shake it and catch the jumping beetles in the goo). o Hb nematodes will also control them, as will neem oil or the braconid wasp Microtconus vittatoe Muesebeck. ProtekNet – get a small mesh Brassica flea beetles are a different species from the ones that plague eggplant, and they can only fly a few hundred yards (meters). o If we get flea beetles, we use Spinosad, an enzyme produced by a soil organism.
  40. 40. o Harlequin bugs are our worst brassica pests. We usually pppppppp pick and kill them. o Aphids are worse in cooler weather (early spring), before their predators have arrived in high enough numbers. Insecticidal soaps can be used. o Caterpillars can be kept off the plants with rowcover or ProtekNet. Bt (Bacillus thuringiensis) will kill caterpillars if rowcovers fail. Bt degrades rapidly in sunlight so is best applied early evening or early morning, whichever seems likely to catch most caterpillars. The beneficial fungus Beauvaria bassiana infects caterpillars, but can get costly. Caterpillars have many natural enemies. In our garden the paper wasps eat caterpillars, and we also have the parasite Cotesia glomerata More Pests
  41. 41. Even More Pests o I used to think slugs were an endangered species in Virginia. When we put up our hoophouse, I found we were farming them! Slugs can best be caught at night with a flashlight. (Well, actually with scissors, by flashlight!) o Grasshoppers - We are trying to determine when the young hatch in July, so we know when to be most attentive to keeping them off our plants. o Vegetable weevil larvae have caused trouble In our hoophouse in January. They come out of the soil at night and make holes in the leaves. We have used Spinosad against them with some success.
  42. 42.  Most of these greens are fast-turnaround crops, so if some get sick, pull them out and move on in life.  If it’s fall you can probably sow some spinach to provide greens without antagonizing the brassica disease gods.  Clubroot is perhaps the longest lasting disease, requiring land to be taken out of brassica production for ten years.  Other diseases include various molds and wilts.  See ATTRA’s Cole Crops and Other Brassicas: Organic Production Diseases
  43. 43. 6. Growing in Spring In spring we sow in flats in a greenhouse, to get an early start. We transplant spring Asian greens at 4–5 weeks of age, about a month before our last frost date, and use rowcover for a few weeks. Direct sowing has the advantage that thinnings can be used for salads. Photo Kathryn Simmons
  44. 44. 7. In Summer (for Fall Outdoor Crops)  We prefer outdoor seedbeds for summer sowings, because it is easier to keep the plants watered.  We make an outdoor nursery bed, sow at about three or four seeds per inch (5–10 mm apart), and cover with rowcover or ProtekNet.  The seedlings emerge in as little as three days in summer temperatures. Bare-root transplants. Photo credit Ethan Hirsh
  45. 45. For Fall Outdoor Crops We start sowing our fall Asian greens for outdoor planting around June 26 and repeat a week later for insurance (July 3), the same dates we sow fall broccoli and cabbage. Last date for sowing these crops is about 2 months before the first fall frost date. In our case that means August 14–20.  Photo credit Kathryn Simmons
  46. 46. Season extension  Fast growing varieties can be succession sowed for a continuous supply.  Cold-hardy types can be harvested all winter in climates milder than zone 7.  Or they could be kept alive to revive in spring and provide earlier harvests than spring-sown crops.  Wild Garden Seeds and Even’ Star Farm specialize in producing seed for very cold-tolerant varieties.  Rowcovers on hoops will help keep these crops in marketable condition, and improve the microclimate, for better growth rate. A well used bed of senposai in November. Credit Kathryn Simmons
  47. 47. Cold-Hardiness 32F (0C): Some Pak Choy 25F (-4C): Chinese Napa cabbage, Maruba Santoh, Mizuna, Tokyo Bekana, most Pak Choy 20F (-7C): Tendergreen, Tyfon Holland Greens 15F (-9.5C): perhaps Komatsuna 12F (-11C): Senposai 10F (-12C): Tatsoi, Yukina Savoy, probably Komatsuna
  48. 48. 8. Growing in the winter hoophouse Hoophouses are the place to be in winter, if you are an Asian green.  Night-time protection of two layers of plastic and an air gap – big difference!  September sowings thrive on sunny days and grow surprisingly quickly.  When the daylight falls below ten hours, growth slows down till spring.  For most of the winter, our hoophouse plants are actively growing, not merely being stored for harvest (as happens in colder climate zones and outdoors), so we can continue sowing new hoophouse crops even in December.  Brassicas are the most productive crops in these conditionsPhoto Wren Vile
  49. 49. Persephone days and scheduling winter hoophouse crops  When the daylight is shorter than 10 hours a day not much growth happens. The dates depend on your latitude.  In Central Virginia, latitude 38° North, this period lasts two months, from November 21 to January 21.  The dates are modified by the time it takes to cool the soil and the air.  The effective dates for us are closer to December 15 -February 15.  To harvest in the darkest days of winter you’ll need to plan a good supply of mature crops to take you through. What has already grown before this period will provide most of your harvests.  Be aware of the increase in days to maturity in winter.
  50. 50. Fall outdoor sowings to transplant inside • Sept 15: pak choy, Chinese cabbage, Yukina Savoy, Tokyo Bekana, Maruba Santoh, • Sept 24: Senposai, more Yukina Savoy, mizuna We use hoops and ProtekNet, and water frequently. ProtekNet and hoops. Photo Wren Vile
  51. 51. Fall Hoophouse Planting - September Early September : We clear and add compost to one of the beds and sow tatsoi. Sept 15 and Sept 24: We make outdoor sowings of crops to later transplant into the hoophouse at 2- 4 weeks old. At the end of September we clear summer crops from one more bed, add compost and work it in. We transplant Tokyo Bekana and Maruba Santoh at 2 weeks old, Chinese cabbage, pak choy, Yukina Savoy at 3 weeks. Photo November hoophouse beds. Ethan Hirsh
  52. 52. Fall Hoophouse Planting - October Late October we sow more “filler” Asian greens In the fourth week of October, we clear and prepare more beds and transplant the Senposai, mizuna, Yukina Savoy at 4 weeks old. Early October, we sow some “filler” Asian greens, to fill gaps later. We try hard to keep all the space occupied, mostly using Asian greens, lettuce and spinach. Mizuna Photo credit Ethan Hirsh For more crops, see my slideshow Hoophouse in Fall and Winter on SlideShare.net
  53. 53. Hoophouse Planting – November and December Nov 10 we sow more mizuna Nov 11-20 we sow tatsoi From Nov 10 on we aim to keep a fully planted hoophouse, and as each crop harvest winds down, we immediately replace that crop with another. During December we use the “Filler” greens plants to replace casualties and heads of Chinese cabbage, Pak choy, Yukina Savoy each day as soon as we’ve harvested them. Pak Choy replacing Yukina Savoy here. Photo Ethan Hirsh
  54. 54. Hoophouse Planting – December to February  We stop filling gaps with Asian greens (and lettuces) on Jan 25, and fill all gaps after that with spinach transplants, until 2/20. After that we only fill gaps on edges of beds, leave centers free for tomatoes, etc.  After 2/20, we harvest the winter crops from the center rows first, plant the new early summer crops down the center, then harvest the outer rows bit by bit as the new crop needs the space or the light. This overlap allows the new crops to take over gradually.  Our winter and spring crops come to an end in March or early April “Filler” transplants. Photo Ethan Hirsh
  55. 55. 9. Winter Hoophouse Harvest Schedule Harvest of Asian greens starts in November, with mizuna, tatsoi and baby brassica mix. From December we also have Tokyo Bekana, Maruba Santoh The new year starts with Yukina Savoy and the bigger greens, including Senposai, pak choy, Chinese cabbage feed us till mid-March. Michihli cabbage Photo Southern Exposure Seed Exchange.
  56. 56. Harvesting Some of these greens are harvested as whole heads; others can be harvested by the leaf and bunched or bagged. The open rosette types, such as tatsoi or the bigger Yukina Savoy, are usually gathered closed and banded with plant ties or rubber bands. Most can be grown for baby salad mix. With mizuna we do a “half buzz-cut,” snipping off leaves on one half of the plant an inch (25 mm) above the ground each time we come by. Tat soi shown here. Photo Ethan Hirsh
  57. 57. After Harvest After harvest, get the crops into shade and a cooler as soon as you can. Some of the heading types can be stored in a walk-in cooler for several weeks, almost as long as regular cabbage. Pak Choy shown here Photo Ethan Hirsh
  58. 58. 10. Minimizing nitrate accumulation in winter In winter, when light levels are low, beware of high levels of nitrates in leafy greens. A health hazard — nitrates can be converted in the body into nitrites, which reduce the blood’s capacity to carry oxygen and may be further converted into carcinogenic nitrosamines.
  59. 59. Nitrate accumulation • Plants make nitrates during the night, and convert them into leaf material during the day. It takes about six hours of sunlight to use up a night’s worth of nitrates. In winter, a small handful of leafy vegetables can exceed the acceptable daily intake level of nitrate for an adult, unless special efforts have been made to reduce the levels. • Spinach, mustard greens (Asian greens)and collards contain about twice as much as lettuce; radishes, kale and beets often have two and a half times as much. Turnip greens are especially high, at 3 times lettuce levels.
  60. 60. To keep nitrate levels as low as possible  Grow varieties best suited for winter;  Avoid fertilizing with blood meal or feather meal; use organic compost.  Ensure soil has sufficient P, K, Mg and Mo  Water enough but not excessively;  Provide fresh air as soon as temperatures reach 68°F (20°C), so that carbon dioxide levels are high enough;  Harvest after at least four (preferably six) hours of bright sunlight in winter;  Avoid harvesting on very overcast days;  Avoid over-mature crops and discard the outer leaves. Harvest crops a little under-mature, rather than over-mature;  Use crops soon after harvest;  Refrigerate immediately after harvest, store harvested greens at temperatures close to freezing;  Mix your salads; don’t just eat Asian greens!
  61. 61. 11. Seed saving  If you plan to grow seed of more than one Asian green, carefully choose ones that won’t cross. Be aware that crops might be wrongly classified.  Also beware of brassica weeds.  For yourself: at least 600 ft (200 m) isolation from other flowering brassicas.  To sell seed: ¼ mile (400 m) with barriers or ½ mile (800 m) without.  Grow at least 120-300 plants, pull out any atypical ones, let the rest bolt.  Why so many? Brassicas are outbreeding plants and if too few are grown, they are in danger of inbreeding depression (not enough genetic diversity)  Save seed from at least 60 to 75 plants, and preferably 125 to 150.  As the seedpods dry, pull up the plants, and hang them up to finish drying under cover. If you have high humidity, use a fan. Hanging plants inside paper sacks will reduce loss of seeds when the pods shatter.  Stomp on the bags to shatter the pods, and then winnow and screen the seeds. See the Saving Our Seed Project guide (in the Resources section)
  62. 62. Resources • Grow Your Own Chinese Vegetables, Geri Harrington, 1984, Garden Way Publishing. Includes the names for these crops in different cultures. • Growing Unusual Vegetables, Simon Hickmott, 2006, Eco-Logic books, UK. • Oriental Vegetables: The Complete Guide for the Garden and Kitchen, Joy Larkham, revised edition 2008, Kodansha, USA • Kitazawa Seeds kitazawaseed.com/ & Evergreen Seeds have the most choices. • Evergreen’s helpful clickable list. evergreenseeds.com/asveglis.html • Fedco Seeds fedcoseeds.com/ and Johnny’s johnnyseeds.com/ have a good range. • Wild Garden Seed has many interesting home-bred varieties. Search under Mustard. wildgardenseed.com • Even’ Star Farm Ice-bred Seeds localharvest.org/even-star-organic-farm-M9994 • Good Earth Seed Company (Tsang and Ma International) P.O. Box 5644, Redwood City, California 94063. No English website. • ATTRA Cole Crops and Other Brassicas: Organic Production attra.ncat.org/attra- pub/summaries/summary.php?pub=27 • Saving Our Seed Project carolinafarmstewards.org/wp- content/uploads/2012/05/BrassicaSeedProductionver1_1.pdf an excellent 24- page guide on organic brassica seed production
  63. 63. Producing Asian Greens ©Pam Dawling 2017 Twin Oaks Community, Central Virginia Author of Sustainable Market Farming Published by New Society Publishers SustainableMarketFarming.com facebook.com/SustainableMarketFarming

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