Bok Choy and Tatsoi Heaven

Bok Choy and Tatsoi Heaven

Bok Choy and Tatsoi are two green veges that are really easy to grow and are very versatile for many dishes. Great as a side dish, boiled or steamed and can be added to stir fries, soups or stews. The new sweet green leaves can go into salads and I have added leaves to quiches and made rice or potato patties with chopped Bok Choy and spring onions that go down a treat!

The best time to sow Bok Choy and tatsoi is at the end of winter, but you can continually sow until early autumn. The seeds are fine which makes them tricky to sow. To make it easier,  mix them with a bit of sand and soil and sprinkle them on a prepared seed tray or pot, as described for lettuces. This way you’ll have a better chance of evenly spreading the seeds out and not clumping them. It will hopefully save you some separation work later on.

Water them in with a spray bottle and keep them moist but not wet.  Once the seedlings reach about 3-4 cms and have 3-5 leaves, you can transplant them carefully to your vege patch. I intersperse them with the eggplants, capsicum and lettuces, about 20 cm apart, as they enjoy the compost rich soil and moisture. After they are more established, you can add Seasol to the watering can, so the Bok Choy and Tatsoi leaves will grow faster and more robustly.

The leaves can be picked after 30 days and used as you need them when they are fresh and crunchy. You can also wait a bit longer and harvest the whole plant, once it forms a heart at around 45 days. You can you keep sowing more seeds every 2-4 weeks, so you have new seedlings to plant out. I tend to pick the leaves continuously, planting the new seedlings around the mature plants, so we extend the harvest time and always have some fresh leaves on hand all through spring to autumn.

I save my coffee grounds and make ‘walls’ around each plant to deter the snails as they too love these juicy leaves. Small swimming pools (bowls) of undrunk beer also work well, as the snails dive in and drown ….Good bi-product from our parties!

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Kale Curly Paradise

Kale Curly Paradise

I love kale! What is there not to love? They are an all round leafy plant – there when you need a perfect snack with a glass of wine or as a delicious additive to a stew, or salad.

There are 5 main groups of kale named for the type of leaves – green or red curly (pictured below), plain leaved, Cavolo Nero or black kale, leaf and spear (a hybrid of curly leaved and plain leaved Kale) and the ubiquitously named Hungry Gap kale. Presumably this vege was the only thing growing through a hard winter. There is also the Red Russian which is sweeter.

Kale is a beautiful addition to your garden all year round. The dark green or purple curly leaves add interest and contrast to other plants and flowers. You can plant kale out in between other herbs like oregano and thyme and flowers like calendula or native daisies.

They are easy to grow. Follow the steps on growing kale from seed and plant out to a garden bed or pots once they reach about 5 cms high. Depending on the varietal, it will take between 45 and 60 days to mature and you can start harvesting the lower outer leaves. Kale is a biennial and although very hardy it is sweetest when grown through winter. If you are planting out to grow it through summer, place it where it will get some shade. Kale does not like to be planted near tomatoes, beans or strawberries.

Keep your kale well composted every 4-6 weeks and mulched as it prefers the soil damp but not wet. The leaves will then be sweeter and more prolific.

Curly Green Kale

I mainly grow black kale as I love making kale chips. Just carefully strip the leafy bits from the crunchy stem and wash them. (Stems can go to your wormfarm) Pat dry and sprinkle some olive oil over them. Rub into the leaves all over, but not dripping. Pre-heat an oven to 160C, place the oily leaves on some aluminium foil on a baking tray. Bake for 10 mins, flip and move them around a bit and then bake for another 10 mins. You will have perfect kale chips to offer your friends or scoff them all by yourself!

Green or red curly kale are great for chips as well, but are usually used for adding to soups or stews. When the leaves are young they can be added to salads too. Red Russian is delicious sauted with tomatoes, peppers, onion and garlic.

Let us know how you go and maybe share your favourite recipes with us as well!

Add them to your patch