Go Organic: Try growing some oriental vegetablesBy JamesAshford
July 06, 2012
At this point in the season you will often find gaps appearing around the vegetable garden where early crops have been harvested.
I lifted my shallots at the weekend and now have a couple of square metres of bare earth begging to be filled before the weeds take hold.
These spaces can sometimes be tricky to fill because it is too late in the season to sow many of the traditional vegetable garden staples.
Lettuce is always a good filler for these odd gaps because you can start growing them in modules on a windowsill or in the greenhouse. With a bit of forward planning you can always have a steady supply of young plants ready to go out as the gaps appear.
But if you want a bit of variety it is worth turning to the East and growing some Oriental vegetables.
Chinese cabbage and lettuce have been around for a few years now, but more and more varieties are being introduced for adventurous gardeners to try growing.
The Organic Gardening Catalogue now lists more than 30 Oriental vegetables, from fairly familiar ones like pak choi through to real oddities like red-stemmed choi sum.
Like their Western counterparts they can be started quite easily in seed trays and modules ready to drop into the gaps that appear in the garden. They are also fast-growing and can be picked young, which makes them perfect for providing a quick harvest from a small space. Most Oriental vegetables are also better adapted to growing in the second-half of the season when the days are starting to shorten. They are less prone to bolt and go to seed than their western cousins.
They also provide a welcome bit of peppery spice and crunch in the kitchen and are perfect for adding some interest to salads and stir-fries. Unfortunately they are just as tasty to slugs and snails so they will need plenty of protection when they are small.
You can order from the Organic Gardening Catalogue by calling 01932 253666 or visit www.organiccatalogue.com