Planting Guide and Seed Saving Notes for Asian Greens
Asian Greens (Brassica rapa)
Asian Greens of all kinds love cool weather, making them a great choice for greens first thing in spring and well into autumn.
How to Grow Asian Greens from Seed
Asian Greens are a lightly frost-tolerant annual that grows best in full sun, but will tolerate part shade. Pick a spot that receives at least 5 hours of sun a day. Lettuce greens grow most successfully in well-drained soil that is both rich in nutrients and moist.
Direct seed or transplant in early spring with about 2" spacing and thin to 6-8", although it tolerates closer sowing for baby choi harvest. Plant a few successions starting in mid-spring and late summer for continuous harvest during the cooler months.
To harvest, cut whole plant loose from tap root at the soil line. Light frost tolerance.
How to Save Asian Green Seeds
Pollination, insect; Life Cycle, biennial; Isolation Distance, ½ mile
Asian Greens need to undergo exposure to winter cold in order to flower and set seed, so in milder climates, fall planting for seed harvest the following summer works great. In very cold climates it might be necessary to dig the plant up, trim the leaves and store in sawdust or sad for planting out in spring after frosts have passed. For good seed genetics, allow several plants of the same variety to flower at the same time. Harvest seed pods when brown and dry.
Additional Specific Growing instructions:
*Choi: Direct seed or transplant in early spring with about 2" spacing and thin to 6-8", although it tolerates closer sowing for baby choi harvest. Plant a few successions starting in mid-spring and late summer for continuous harvest during the cooler months. To harvest, cut whole plant loose from tap root at the soil line. Light frost tolerance.
*Hong Vit: Hong Vit can be planted early and often in the spring, and are a sweet and spicy treat to saute or add to salads, but the greens become bitter in the heat of summer. Direct seed outdoors in fertile, evenly moist soil that is free of rocks up to 6 weeks before the last frost date. For a continual harvest, sow in 1-2 week succession plantings until temperatures become hot. Hong Vit can be planted again in the fall when temperatures cool.
Plant seed 1/2" deep and1/2-1" apart in rows 12" apart. Optimal soil temperature for germination is 55-85°F. Seeds will sprout in 4-11 days. Thin so that mature plants are 6" apart. An insect pollinated annual, radish can be a challenge to keep pure because in many areas there are an abundance of wild radish that will cross readily with your cultivated varieties. Seed pods will form after the flowers die back, and you should allow the pods to dry on the plants for as long as possible before gathering. Pods are thick and do not shatter easily. Winnow to separate chaff.
*Mizuna: Plant early spring or late summer. Regrows from harvest. Direct seed in early spring with about 1-2" spacing and thin to 4-6", although it tolerates closer sowing for baby leaf harvest. Plant successions starting in mid-spring through late summer for continuous harvest. Harvest above growth point for cut-and-come-again production. Light frost tolerance.
*Tatsoi: Very easy-to-grow by direct seed in full sun. Planted from early spring to early summer and again from late summer through fall. Succession plantings every 2-3 weeks are recommended for a continual harvest. Harvest above growth point for cut-and-come-again production of salad greens or thin plants to 12" apart for harvesting the whole rosette.