Chinese Cabbage

In many Asian cultures, people believe that food should be their medicine. This idea is gaining popularity in the west. So if you are looking for an excellent source of vitamin C A and calcium, some some iron, dietary fibre and folate, no fat and few calories (only 10 per 1/2 cup) then consider growing some Chinese cabbage. There are two kinds of Chinese cabbage, bok choy which is loose-leaved and wong bok, which forms long, narrow heads. Also known as bak choi, paak choi, Chinese chard cabbage and Chinese mustard cabbage, it is a vegetable that resembles celery although it is actually a member of the cabbage family. Essentially a cool season crop and it grows best in the spring and autumn. This distant relative of broccoli, cabbage and cauliflower has been grown in China since the 5th century and from there, spread throughout the remainder of Asia. It is becoming popular in the U.S. to use for cooking because it has a mild taste, similar to cabbage, and can be used in many recipes, either raw, as in salads, or cooked for use in soups and in stir-fries. Sow seeds directly into rich organic soil spaced 18 to 24 inches apart, thin to 6 inches as plants start to emerge. They start to germinate 5 to 10 days later and are ready to harvest 6 to 7 weeks after sowing. Feed young plants with a high nitrogen fertilizer every ten days to two weeks until just before harvest. Keep your plants as moist as possible for best growth. Harvest by hand in the morning (or in cool weather) to prevent the leaves from wilting. Keep them in the refrigerator in the vegetable crisper or in a paper bag. Use within 2 days. Because bok choy is a member of the cabbage family, you can cook it as you would a cabbage. When cooked, it has a sweet flavor and its stalks are firm.


Whatever your garden's size or style, good plant health is your first line of defense against potential problems of any kind. Strong, vigorous plants are better able to resist pests that fly or crawl into the garden and disease spores that drift in on the wind. Make it a priority to give each plant the water, fertilizer, and light it needs to thrive.



1/4 C. chopped garlic

2 tsp. mineral oil

2 C. water

1 oz. oil-based soap (liquid or chopped-up Palmolive is good)

Purée garlic in blender, peels and all. Add 1/4 cup of the water and scrape down the sides. Continue blending until the mixture is a fine mush. Strain through cheesecloth or an old nylon stocking. In a large, clean glass jar, mix the mineral oil and soap. Add the garlic-water mixture and stir thoroughly; then add the remaining water. Store in a cool, dry place for up to 1 month. To use, pour into a sprayer and spray on the upper and lower surfaces of the plant's foliage. It is best to spray in the morning before the sun is too hot or in the late afternoon. Do not water immediately after spraying.


Tomato cages may be made from concrete-reinforcing wire, woven-wire stock fencing or various wooden designs. Choose wire or wooden designs that have holes large enough to allow fruit to be picked and removed without bruising. The short, small, narrow type often sold at garden centers is all but  useless for anything but the smallest of the dwarf types. Most modern determinate tomatoes easily grow 3 to 4 feet tall and ideterminates continue to get taller until frozen in the fall, easily reaching at least 6 feet in height. Use cages that match in height the variety to be caged and firmly anchor them to the ground with stakes or steel posts to keep the fruit-laden plants from uprooting themselves in late summer windstorms.



"The Garden is a love song, a duet between a human being and mother nature" 





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