Asian Leaf Vegetables

Asian leaf-vegetables are a collective title for a small choice of all the vegetables grown in Asia, chiefly in China and Japan. Many of them have been cultivated for thousands of years and are very common in Asian cuisine.

Most of them belong to the cabbage-group of the Cruciferae-family and they grow very well here. Our cool springs and autumns fit them extremely well. If they are protected in hotbeds or greenhouses against too bitter cold only the weak winter-light prevents them from growing the year around, almost. They are easy to grow and often yield both the first and the last green leaves from the garden. 

But like many other species of cabbage they bloom easily during the long days of early summer and loose their tenderness and taste. They are best from late summer until late autumn and provide lots of vitamin-rich, fresh green leaves and crispy stems.

The kinds that belong to other families are not as sensitive to the sun and heat of summer. Some of them even welcome it.

The flea-beetles can cause serious problems for the cabbage-group, mostly if sown in spring and early summer. Usually the plants overcome the attack. They grow quickly if the soil is rich in nutrients and of even dampness. Sprinkle wood-ash, lime, algomin, or rock flour repeatedly on and around the plants if the flea-beetles are troublesome. This also protects against the cabbage fly which likes to lay her eggs close by the stem and let her small white larvae eat the roots. 

To further confuse the insects it is a good idea to grow them together with aromatic herbs, the onion-family, celeriac and potatoes, but not in the company of runner beans and strawberries, which the cabbage-family dislikes. Read more in the chapter on How to grow cabbage plants below. 

The sorts, which do not belong to the cabbage-group, have shown themselves to be quite untroubled by our Nordic insects.


SOWING: Sow the cabbage-seeds successively from very early spring until late summer. Sow them thinly, about 1 cm deep directly in the land or in hotbeds and greenhouses for an extra early or late harvest. Seeds sown in mid-July usually yield the best harvest. N.B. Read about the varieties which do not belong to the cabbage-group separately. 


SPACING: All sorts, except Shungiku and Mitsuba, should be thinned out to a mutual distance of 25-35 cm. The thinned out plants are edible. Keep a distance of 35-50 cm between the rows, if you sow in rows. 

HARVEST: Begin to pick the leaves early. The plants grow quickly and harvest the more or less close-knitted heads as they are ready. Several cabbage sorts begin blooming in summer, so do not delay the harvest. They tolerate quite a lot of bitter cold and can be eaten fresh far into the late autumn. Use them raw, boiled, preserved, fried in salads, soups, gratins, and stews etc.


SEEDS: 1 g of the Brassicas (cole plants) contains 300-500 seeds. A portion is enough for sowing 3-6 metres. For linear sowing 10 g is required to sow 100 metres. Shungiku requires 30 g.

Kyona/Mizuna, organic seeds
Forms a thick bouquet of deeply cut, fringed, dark-greenleaves with long thin white stems. This is a beautiful and much loved Japanese cabbage of extra mild taste. Kyona, which is unaffected by quite...

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Tatsoi, organic seeds
Has numerous dark-green, shiny, slightly crumpled, spoon-shaped leaves which are gathered in a low, dense bow. The stems are white and juicy and about 2 cm wide. It is slow to bloom and tolerates a go...

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Osaka Purple, organic seeds
Is a very beautiful so called mustard-lettuce from Japan. It decorates the garden with its big slightly wavy leaves of a bright green base colour and strong violet-wine-red highlights. The taste of th...

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Green Wave
is a tough mustard lettuce, which is unaffected by both rain and cold far into late autumn. The leaves are 20-30 cm long, a clear green and very curled at the edges and have a pleasant taste of mustar...

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Pink Lettucy
A new beauty among the Asian leaf-cabbages with deliciously pink stems and leaf-nerves. The green varies from a fresh light-green to a deeper green with lilac edges. The taste is of mild cabbage with ...

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White Celery Mustard, organic seeds
(Brassicarapa chinensis), Pac Choi is a vigorous beauty in white and dark-green with long, slender, chalk-white stems. It tastes of mild cabbage, so the name mustard is misleading. White celery s...

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Prize Choi
Pac choi. We used to have Prize Choi in our assortment in the beginning and middle of the 80s. Then it disappeared. Now it is back again and it is extra pleasurable to be able to offer the seeds ...

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Kailaan
Also called Gai Lohn. Chinese Broccoli has long thin stems, small flower heads with white flowers and a delicious somewhat different taste. The whole plant can be used except the root. Kailaan thrives...

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Oriental Saladini, organic seeds
Is a beautiful and tasty mixture of several Asian leaf vegetables, from light-green to dark-green, from small leaves to large ones. Kyona, Green Spray, Lettucy Type, Green Boy, Vitamin Green, Pac Choi...

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Shungiku, organic seeds
Also called Garland, is an edible species of Chrysanthemum (C. coronarium) of excellent, unusual taste. You can begin to harvest the deeply cut leaves when the plant is 10-15 cm tall. They are the mos...

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Kintsai
Also called Heung Kunn (Apium graveolens), is a fast-growing Chinese celery with a unique aroma of celeriac. Kintsai has thin stems and grows about 25 cm tall. It is a wild, genuine celery used raw, p...

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Mitsuba
Japanese Parsley has a taste which reminds one of a cloudberry-bog in autumn. It resembles the ordinary flat leaved parsley and grows 20-25 cm tall. Mitsuba prefers shadow or half-shadow. The whole...

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Hopi Red Dye
Bloodamarant (Amaranthus cruentus). Beautiful, deep burgundy red "salad-amarant". It's enjoyed both as colourful small leaves and larger ones in salad mixes. Large leaves are boiled for a few minutes....

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Calaloo
Red leaf-amaranth (Amaranthus tricolour) is widely grown in Asia, chiefly in China. It is very decorative with palette-like leaves in green and wine-red. Leaf Amaranth likes hot weather and is affecte...

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Red Garnet
Fast growing purple amaranth (Amaranthus cruentus) often cultivated as small leaves for salads. Very similar to the Hopi Red Dye, but has somewhat stronger violet colour on the underside of the leaves...

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Malabar Spinach, organic seeds
Is a beautiful heat-loving liana with dark-green leaves,wine-red stems and pink flowers. Malabar-spinach is an excellent alternative to ordinary spinach. It easily winds itself 2-3 m up a support...

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Celtuce
Asparagus-lettuce (Lactuca sativa var.augustana (var. asparagina)), 40-80 days is also called Chinese lettuce (Who Sun) and is a very old vegetable in Asia. In Europe it has been present since the mid...

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