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Do you grow Asian vegetables?

I'm trying to improve my cooking skills with Asian recipes. Johnny's offers seeds for various oriental greens but except for bok choy, I'm not sure what to try. Even if you don't grow your own, do you have leafy green favorites? What about other Asian vegetables that can be grown in the northeast US? I grow and love the flavor of Thai basil. Do you have a favorite seed catalog for Asian vegetables?

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  1. There's always daikon, cabbage, eggplant, garlic, ginger, lemon grass

    You can try these, but I have no input and no experience with any of them. Google is a magical tool.

    1. I don't grow Asian veggies (or anything else) but I do buy a lot of Asian veggies. From experience, the veggies really range in taste and flavor depending where I buy them. Just thinking that it probably has something to do with the seeds.. you wouldn't want to get stuck buying crappy seeds. I guess it's not worth it to me to grow it b/c Asian veggies are ridiculously cheap where I am..

      11 Replies
      1. re: cheesecake17

        Actually vegetables rely on the soil for flavor FAR more than quality of seed. Either a seed is good (it grows) or it isn't (doesn't grow). From there, the soil and environmental influences impact the flavor and quality FAR more than the seed. Think Vidalia (or any sweet) onions versus regular onions. The vidalia/maui/walla walla sweet onions are that way because of a significantly lower sulfur content in the soil, not because of some fancy seed.

        1. re: HaagenDazs

          Hmm.. good to know. I always thought it depended on the quality of the seed. Thanks for the info!

          1. re: cheesecake17

            Well think about it. Do you think that a seed makes a vegetable organic? Of course not. Organic is determined by the way the plant is grown, like no artificial fertilizers/pesticides.

            And those mealy, pasty, whitish pink crappy supermarket tomatoes? It's not the seed's fault. Those tomatoes could actually be wonderful, ripe, red tomatoes served in the finest restaurants in the world. The reason they're not is because the vegetable is jacked up on artificial fertilizer, picked far too early, thrown in a storage and shipment box and then gassed with ethylene at the appropriate time to make it turn "red" (actually it only turns pink).

            The seed is just an information source. It provides the information for the plant to grow this tall, this wide, and produce this fruit/vegetable. Everything after that is environmental. Of course there are different seeds for different tomatoes, but I think you understand that. A yellow tomato seed cannot produce and red tomato just because of the environment it's in.

            Think if it this way: Do you think the seed has any impact on whether or not a gardener will water it sufficiently?

            1. re: HaagenDazs

              You're right, but if you buy a crappy seed, you're going to get a crappy product. I definitely agree about the tomatoes- that's why I stay away from tomatoes.

              I'm learning something here.. thanks for the info. I guess I'm just not a good grower. I tried growing basil last year, and it truly didn't work out.

              1. re: cheesecake17

                What's a crappy seed? There really is no such thing as long as it sprouts. There are crappy PLANTS maybe, but the result that the plant produces doesn't mean that the seed is "bad". The seed did just what it was meant to do. It grew a plant just the way it was supposed to. Whether or not that is viewed to be good or bad is up to the grower.

                There's some personal preference involved here, like you prefer red tomatoes over yellow tomatoes but that doesn't mean that one seed is any better or worse than another.

                The crappy seed is the one that doesn't grow, right? If it grows, you're then YOU are on the hook for what happens next, not the plant/seed. The best "quality" seed (if there was such a thing) doesn't automatically mean that you're going to get great plants. If you spray the plant grown from a fancy seed with lawn killer, hit it with a weed whacker, or neglect to water it in the middle of a drought, the plant will suffer... THAT'S how you get a crappy product.

                Let's say you're buying tomato seeds. One is a $100 tomato seed from an elite online supplier. The other is the same seed from your neighbor's seed collection that you found under a pile dust and screws in his basement. If both of them sprout, both of the are treated the same, and they both produce the desired result, then which one is crappy? Neither.

                  1. re: alwayscooking

                    Flavor is personal preference. Yield, and size are determined by #1 the type of plant and #2 by environmental conditions. Tomato A bred for size and yield is a different seed that Tomato B that produces less yield and smaller fruits but it doesn't mean that one is better than the other. They are different plants. That's all I'm getting at.

            2. re: cheesecake17

              I haven't bought asian vegetable seeds for several seasons now. The plants go to seed and self sow, come up like weeds. I wonder if they eat dandelions in Asia? It's one of my favorite exotic vegetables.

            3. re: HaagenDazs

              While HD is correct that the growing environment contributes significantly to the outcome of the vegetable, given equal growing conditions, quality seeds will be better than poorer seeds. Seed quality refers to both genetic quality and the quality of the seed that carries the genes. It impacts the yield, shape, size,color and lastly the overall attribute of the vegetable (eg tart, sweet, sour, heat, etc). Quality seeds also germinate better and grow more vigorously yielding better crops. Bottom line, condition the soil and use good seeds.

              Happy planting! (I'm just starting garden planning for my NE urban garden - Spring will come!)

              1. re: alwayscooking

                Correct, but to think that there are lower quality seeds produce a lower quality product isn't really correct. There may be more desirable seeds that produce more desirable results (like heirloom seeds), but it doesn't mean the plant will be better.

                1. re: HaagenDazs

                  I believe lower quality seeds do indeed produce a lower quality product, and it can be from a variety of perspectives... old seed, seed that's been in harsh conditions, etc., in addition to everything alwayscooking said. It goes beyond what variety of plant one is saying they're aiming to plant.

                  For instance, this is how one commercial seed company views seed quality issues:

          2. I grow lots of shiso, both red and green, various basils, and long beans. I've grown japanese eggplant, and garlic for the greens. Some others now used in multiple cuisines, such as snow peas.

            5 Replies
            1. re: Richard 16

              Would love to hear how you prepare the shiso... love the taste, never thought of growing my own...

              1. re: okra

                Careful what you wish for. Shiso, (assuming it grows where you live) is a member of the mint family and is notorious for finding it's way into just about everything, everywhere. A weed some might call it. ;-) It's a useful weed though!

                1. re: HaagenDazs

                  Purple shiso is an attractive ornamental, like a deep purple coleus, very hardy, lasts well into fall. I made a jar of purple shiso vinegar, I might make some purple sushi someday. So far, I've used some of the vinegary leaves chopped up and sprinkled in winter salads, a nice accent like capers.

                2. re: okra

                  I'll echo HaagenDazs: once you get it going, it's very prolific! I grow it in a container - as I do all my herbs.

                  Although not the same, I use it in almost anything in which I might use basil. Eggs, pizza (although I'm not a fan of it in tomato sauce, it works well on the pizza.). Obviously on sushi, it also works well on salmon, bivalves, shrimp - on any stronger food.

                  I infuse oil; makes a great plate sauce - but EVOO is too strong. For a pesto. Pasta. Tempura is classic. I recently had a dish from a Korean chef with a hot sweet sauce.

                  The bigger leaves get tough; I use them in the infused oil or blended in the pesto. Otherwise I finely chiffonade the big ones. The flowers and seeds apparently are also used although I never have.

                3. re: Richard 16

                  I love shiso, my mother grows the green stuff every year and it is really really prolific. However it tastes a million times better than the crap you buy from the grocery store

                4. The quality of the seed does impact the quality of the grown plant. That, plus good soil preparation and choosing plants that are suitable for your horticultural zone.... there are many variables. I live in zone 6A which is near the coast north of Boston. You can easily find out which zone your garden is in. That's key to making sure your plants do well in your invironment, especially for those plants which are perennial, like Chinese Chives. Ideally, your garden should have at least 6 hours of sunlight. However, many plants will do well with less.

                  Here in the northeast, for about 15 years, I started all my vegetable and annual plants from organic seeds sold by:
                  Seeds of Change
                  Cook's Garden
                  Johnny's Selected Seeds

                  The Asian plants I have started from seed and grown successfully are Thai basil, Thai hot pepper, Lemongrass, Mizuna, Purple Shiso, Chinese chives, Snow peas... to name a few. It's such a satisfying endeavor to grow your own food. Good luck!!

                  1. I've grown the Green Lance (I think that's the name .... a sprouting broccoli) and Napa cabbage from Johnny's, and both were excellent - sprouting broccoli, think the gai lan or 'Chinese broccoli' you can get in chinese restaurants; and napa cabbage, you probably know what that is, a tender mild-flavored cabbage.

                    Also the yard-long asparagus beans are excellent, and if you plant a few plants you'll have more than you know what to do with. This is not a bad thing.

                    1. I live in the Pacific NW. I am growing chinese cabbage, dwarf pac choi and snow peas. I have also grown tah tsai which is very easy to grow. I get my seed from http://www.territorialseed.com/ and my super market has a rack of unusual seed from http://www.newdimensionseed.com/ which I buy. I have greenhouses so I try to have something growing year round. The hardest part is keeping the varmits away.

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: BeefeaterRocks

                        Thanks for the replies! I, too, would love to know more about how others use Shiso. The sprouting broccoli is on my list. I did grow Napa cabbage and daikon last year. Sounds like yard-long beans should be on my list. It will probably be a good idea for me to continue to research recipes - the recent Asian recipes thread has some great links - to help me decide what to grow. One of last year's successes was Confection squash from Johnny's. We still have some in storage. Last week I used it in Massaman curry instead of sweet potatoes and we liked the recipe much better than way. The nearest Asian market is an hour away. On my last visit I asked questions and people were helpful.

                        1. re: dfrostnh

                          The home cooking board has several good shiso threads -- I particularly like the shiso miso veg thing from Cynsa on this thread:

                      2. I grow Asian herbs -- I have luck in Brooklyn NY with several kinds of Thai basil. purple and green shiso (a.k.a. perilla) and rau ram (a.k.a. Vietnamese coriander), garlic chives, and spearmint. Mint is the most challenging to grow from seed but is easy to find/divide plants (I've never tried rau ram from seed either - there's plants at my farmer's market.) Also a variety of chilis, which are incredibly easy. All of these are in pots. Burdock grows all over the parks here. Shiso also reseeds itself like crazy, but I like that. It's easy enough to pull out or transplant what I don't want.

                        I don't bother with coriander/cilantro because you have to keep reseeding to keep up with the bolting, and it's readily available where I live.

                        Chinese melons (like bitter melon, warty melon) grow easily in the NE too, but you have to have a little bit of room to build a trellis.

                        Seed sources: Fedco, Seeds of Change, and (my personal favorite) Le Jardin du Gourmet PO Box 75 St Johnsbury Ctr. VT 05863 https://www.artisticgardens.com/catalog/
                        My food coop gets seeds from Le Jardin in seed sample size, which is perfect for a limited container gardener like me. I use them to refresh my shiso seed if it tastes like the flavor is changing -- sometimes seed you harvest yourself is not exactly what you're expecting as things crosspollinate.

                        Asian grocery stores tend to stock some seeds in the Spring . . .

                        1. Has anyone tried to grow soy beans? (I'm in Pacific Northwest, actually British Columbia).

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: waver

                            Yes, I grew a bumper crop of soy beans a couple years ago. They're easy to grow and start from seed.
                            However, I made the mistake of planting all at the same time so they were all ready for harvest in a two-day period when I was away :(
                            I wanted fresh soy beans (edamame) to steam. I could have let dry and harvest dry beans, but I didn't.

                          2. I've had good luck with gai lan and bok choi. This year, I'll try to grow small Asian eggplants, if I can find a source for seeds or seedlings.

                            Didn't use a seed catalogue- managed to find the seeds for gai lan and bok choi at a good garden shop.

                            7 Replies
                            1. re: phoenikia

                              Funny, I tried gai lan and shanghai (mini) bok choi in my container garden (with drip irrigation) last summer. Just didn't work out. The gai lan was all central trunk -- very thick and pale green; not like the gai lan I get from the Asian market. The bok choi put out a single leaf for each seed, never developed a head. Obviously, I did something wrong.

                              1. re: sbp

                                I just grew my gai lan like any other veggies- I had 2 rows beside my carrots and peas. I just watered it every 2 or 3 days, with a hose. As my plants got taller, the trunks got wider, but they were thin and fairly tender for at least a few weeks. Maybe my seeds were a different variety? I let the plants go to seed eventually, and the plants were almost 5 feet tall, with delicate white flowers!

                                With the bok choi (I also planted baby bok choi), some plants developed heads, and some didn't. I haven't figured out if it's a spacing/thinning issue, since I have the same problem with lettuce. I still use the leaves, if they haven't developed a proper head and they still look good enough to eat.

                                1. re: phoenikia

                                  I live in San Jose. Almost all Gai-Lan seed I had bought from Chinese grocery store (often carries the brand Long-Yi) are of the "Green-delight" variety, where the stem is thin and leaves are largeand light-green in color. It is not very good. The "normal" gai-lan (like we buy from market) are of the "Blue-star" variet (stem is large and leaves are more wrinkly, deep-green in color with some while-power looking coloration. see this website:

                                  So please choose your seed with care!

                                  1. re: abrahamkou

                                    Good to know- will try to find Blue-star gai lan seed this summer!

                                    1. re: phoenikia

                                      thank you for posting the gai-lan information. That is very helpful. Now I'll have to check to see what kind of seed I have. In the meantime, I am trying recipes from a Thai cookbook. Just bought my first kaffir lime leaves and galangal and also had green curry for the first time. Very good even though it was lacking the hot red peppers. I found a recipe to make use of our very last Confection squash from Johnny's. What wonderful keepers. The only thing is that the squash is very very dry for about a month after harvest. At first we were disappointed but I could add more liquid to mashed squash but then in storage it became perfect. I plan to use it in Thai recipes that call for 'pumpkin'.

                                      1. re: dfrostnh

                                        Hey drost -- we're cooking with kaffir lime leaves and galangal on the cookbook of the month boards! Indonesian -- Cradle of Flavor, by James Oseland.
                                        Maybe you want to join in?!

                                        1. re: NYchowcook

                                          Hi NYchowcook, I was resisting that thread since I recently bought two other cookbooks (Ultimate Thai and 1000 Chinese recipes) but took a peek. The threads are interesting ... and then I got to the herbal salad in the rice and noodles thread and that sounds like a must try recipe when everything in the garden is fresh. I'll have to see if my library can get Cradle of Flavor for me.

                            2. I've had good results with the service and the seeds and both Evergreen and Kitazawa. See HaagenDaz's link in reply #1.

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: FoodFuser

                                With regards to buying asian vegetable seeds I would put in one caveat, namely it is often helpful to have a pretty good idea of what the seed for what you are buying is supposed to look like BEFORE you plant what is in the packet you buy. Some (but by no means all) of the companies who sell Asian Seed have some rather liberal ideas of what consititutes accuracy in labeling, and it is not that unusual for the seed in the packet you buy to not only not be the variety listed (if any variety is listed) but not even the same species. Most of the companies listed in the first e-mail are alright, but some of the off the rack seeds (the ones you find on sale in some of the Asian supermarkets) can require a fair amount of caveat emptor. K-Jay International, which you find fairly often in supermarkets in Chinatown seems to be particualry prone to this. For example a month, or so ago while in Chinatown I bough three packets of seed for hyacinth beans (Dolichos Lablab (old scientific name, still the one used most often), or Lablab purpureus (current)) (I tend to overbuy so that enough seedlings come up so that I can thin the sickly ones and still have enough) when I got hom,e and opened the packs I had a dismaying suprise. In terms of seed quantity and apparent health i had no complants (each packet had nine seeds (normal for seed this large) for a total of twenty seven and none were really damaged. My problem was that of these twenty seven seeds only five were actually hyachinth beans, the rest of them were seeds from a common pole bean (Phaseolus vulgaris). This can't even have been a "only an expert would catch it" mistake as the two kind of seeds look nothing like each other (the eqivalent would be buying a package labled "sweet corn" seeds opening it and finding the pacakge filled mostly with watermelon seeds with a few corn kernels on top). All I can say is if you buy these packets know your seeds!

                                That being said there are a few things this compay sells that I actually do like (though they are no less prone to problems). For example at one time a few years ago they had an absolutely incredible strain of snow pea in their line up, which produced like crazy. sadly they switched to another stain the next year (and an early frost kept me from sawing seed from my own peas). I never saw that strain again, though I would kill to find it once more ( Never figured out its identity but I suspect it was a very old variety possibly open pollianted heirloom. It flowers were bright red its seed was unwrinkled and most telling of all (for a possible heirloom) the peas seedcoats were brick red (If you don't understand why this leads me to think heirloom, try finding a NON-heirloom pea with a colored seed coat; there haven't been any commercial strains with colored caots (except the kind used as green manure) since before the turn of the NINTEENTH century.

                                Also there is a great herb the comapy sometimes sells which goues under the somewhat odd english words "Herb, Chives, Small Fennel" This in point of fact is something farily obscure, namely seed for honest to god Chinese Dill (an early introduction from Russia on the silk road, little used outside North China). If you see this try it as it is nothing like our dill.
                                In closing on final general caveat, to those who might be planning to grow winter melon as one of thier asian vegetables. For reasons I'm not quite sure of the winter melon seeds sold by most of the Asian seed sellers are not the same kind as the winter melon sold as a whole fruit in chinese groceries (the packet seeds is basically from a kind of super sized Mao Gwa (Hairy gourd) and is a much softer fruit that the real thing (so it doesnt work as well in cooking. The winter melons sold in stores are usally sold somewat underripe, like cucumbers (which his how your supposed to eat them,) so plant the seeds from the wedge you boght really doesnt work either. There IS a seed seller I bumped into once that carried the real thing but it's hard to come by (Don't remeber the name but it came in a big plastic packet (about the size of a commecial DVD case) and the companies logo was a trumpeting elephant) good luck to all!

                                1. re: jumpingmonk

                                  jumpingmonk, thanks for the great info. I had checked for seeds at the Asian grocery near us but didn't find any. A few years ago there was a small display at another grocery. I have purchased some seeds from Johnny's and two news books on Asian cooking (1,000 Chinese recipes and one on Thai cooking with excellent colored photographs). I am not sure what kind of greens we will like in addition to the pac choi and napa cabbage types. Many years ago I planted basil only to waste the wonderful crop because I didn't know what to do with it. Yes, this was before I owned an herb cookbook and before the internet was invented.

                              2. I grow asian vegetables - primarily brassicas, but have also tried snow pea shoots (from special varietars intended for shoots rather than peas), yardlong bean, luffa, and squash. Since I am in Colorado where the growing season is short, with cold night temperatures in mid summer, the real tropical stuff (like luffa) just don't work well. I have had the best success with brassicas - choy sum, semi-heading choys, gai lan, and mustard greens. I sow the seeds directly and grow them under a row cover or light fabric gauze stretched over hoops, even in July when it can be 100F here, but I would not do that in an area with higher humidities. The biggest problems that I have had are with flea beetle infestations (asian brassicas are a big favorite for flea beetles), bolting due to cold temperatures during the seedling stage, and hailstorms. The good thing with the choy types is that many of them have short times to harvest - 30-60 days - so if something goes wrong, you can replant and still get a crop. Each year I get different success rates, depending on conditions , but there are at least a few brassicas that do very well (never the same types twice, though). I could look up the ones that have worked best for me, but the climate here is very very different from the northeast, so that might not be at all helpful.

                                I am hoping that the third try will be the charm with yardlong beans - the past two years, I had total losses of the seedlings, once due to a freeze in mid June, and the other due to voracious earwig attacks.

                                I buy most of my seeds from Evergreen, and try to pick varieties that are slow-bolt or tolerant of wide temperature ranges, but that may be less of a problem in the northeast. Sometimes I see small starts of tat soi or other choy types for sale, but they are usually very expensive ($2 for a single start) and the brassicas grow well from seeds.

                                1. In addition to Fedco and Le Jardin du Gourmet

                                  Seed Savers Exchange has those tiny Thai eggplants and chilis and whatnot

                                  All very reliable in terms of getting what you have ordered...

                                  4 Replies
                                  1. re: pitu

                                    You also may want to try Baker Creek (www. rareseeds.com) not only do they have a good selection of "ordinary" asian vegetable seeds but they also appernly have a direct buyer in Thailand so there selection of Thai vegetables is proably unparalleld among seed sellers in this country. They're pretty good on the Chinese seeds too, incuding odd to find but useful ones like the Hunan strain of wing bean (one of the few wing beans strains that is actually cold tolerant enough to be growable north of Florida). and the Jade bell bitter melon (the Jade bell is to ordinary bitter melons what the Lemon,Crystal Apple and Richmond Green are to ordinary cucumbers) , though they don't have that one this year (This isn't really a problem for me, since I really don't like bitter melon (the year I needed it it was for a Chinese neigbor of mine). I'm not sure if it count as an "asian Vegeable" but this year I am growing a great Japanese Watermelon of thiers (that they just brought back after not having it for about five years) called the Cream Flesh Sukia (yes, it is a white fleshed watermelon
                                    )I's see what other seed companies I can think of overnight. I personally grown an awful lot of Asian vegetables (as you proably guessed from my previos post) but of lot of mine didn't come from seed sellers, rather they are the result of seed I selected myself from here or there. You know, you buy a bag of beans to cook with see one or two that look interesting put them to the side, and into the garden they go next spring. Last year just for fun I planted a small patch of Adzuki beans (the small red beans used for bean paste) that I had picked out of the varios bags I had bought for cooking over the years) the "fun part was that I had specifically selescted these seeds such that while all were unquestionably adzuki beans (I am a plant taxonomist by profession, so I can atually identify seeds of most domestic plants by sight pretty reguarly) none of them were red seeds (at least not all red). Rather they were made up of all the other colors adzuki beans can be genetically but which are not really commercial there were pinto (red and white spotted) red with black mottling, Tan Grey and Cream (bot with and without black mottling) all black and my personal favorite BRIGHT BLUE! (okay technically its a real deep purple, but it does look blue to the eye). A combination of damping off and an unsesonal frost did a lot of damage so I never actually got any beans that year but I was fun to try (plus I have a few I have found since then (including a few blues) so I can try again this year if I so choose.
                                    Oh, while I think of it one more peice of advice. If you are planning to try and grow snake gourd (tricosanthes) that ridiculously long pale green fruit you sometimes see (also that thing you see in some Indian groceries that lookis like a dark green cucumber with pale green stripes) my advice is, forget it. I tried for two years and while I got prolfic vines and flowers I got no fruit. The problem (and it applies to most of us here) is that Snake gourds are actually pollinated by macrobats (fruit eating bats, like flying foxes) so if you don't live somewhere where such bats live (and outside of the southwest I dont know of anywhere in the US that does have such bats) you basically "up the river of brown and smelly stuff" Hand pollinating doesn't work really well, I tried it.

                                    1. re: jumpingmonk

                                      Wow, this is all fantastic information. I'll have to start a special file. Baker Creek is already out of some things I would have liked so I will need to check earlier next year. I don't think I can resist some of those inexpensive little seed packets from Le Jardin du Gourmet. Overcast right now but good to get off the computer and into the dirt before black fly season starts. I very much appreciate all the replies and I'm so glad Chowhound started a gardening section and resurrected my question after originally pulling it. I was shocked when that happened. People can talk all they want about where they shop for vegetables but we cooks who grow our own needed a discussion area, too.

                                      1. re: dfrostnh

                                        Few more seed sites and tips I remembered.

                                        Banana tree (http://www.banana-tree.com/)-this site deals mostly with tropical seeds for those who like to grown thier own indoor rainforests, but they do have a section devoted to Asian vegetables. The fairly high mimimum order can be a bother but they do carry a few of the odder asain veggies like guar beans (source of guar gum and used as a vegetable in parts of India) and Squash melon (a small, hard, round, fairly bitter relative of the watermelon, used in some Tamil recipes Note: pay no attention to the picture by the squash melons whoever put them up got confused and put a picture of ordinary squash up by mistake.

                                        Trade winds fruits (http://www.tradewindsfruit.com/) once again these people deal mostly with tropical seeds but they do have some asian veggies. even if they didn't its worth a surf around as they have one of the most intriguing selections of seeds I've ever seen, incuding such oddites as species of rasberry from the tropics (might be useful if you want to grow rasberries in florida) and an incredible selection of heirloom tomatoes, inculding many of the wild tomato species BESIDES L. pimpernellifolium (the currant tomato) oh and some of the tropical seeds can be fin to if you like growing your own housplants (I'm planning on trying the Mexican hand trees myself, as soon as the seed comes in


                                        I also remembered two more seeds compaines I seen (or more accuratey saw) in asian goroceries which may be of interest. For a while my local asain supermarket was getting in seeds from a thai producer (dont remeber name bit it was a most whitel package with a lot of thai wrapping) The seeds may have been make you own garden packs since they were packaged oddly (I saw them open some and it appered that numerous packages of unlike seeds were shipped shrink wrapped together so someone ordering from the company was required to get a mix. mostly standard asian veggies, but they did have seed for Chin Jiu/Bai Horaphaa (a kind of basil grown in Thailand which is more simlar to our western basil that Thai basil is.) and off the rack wing bean seed (though as mentioned earlier you should probaly pass on this unless you get the hunan type as the normal one wont really grown north of florida. They also but dont any more used to get in a few mysterios seed packs (mysterios in the fact that aprt from the picture on the front, they packages were completely blank) that contained seed for of all thing ong Choi (aka water spinach, that arrow leafed vegetable that eveyone goes crazy about each summer) I'm assuning that the seed was for the dry land version but am not sure as they dont carry it anymore and I gave my last pack to one of my TA's back on colledge.

                                        1. re: jumpingmonk

                                          A quick note that might be of use to any people on this board who (like me) live in lower Westchester County, NY (or for that matter Rockland County). Just off RT58 between Nyack and Nanuet (basically right next to where you would get off of 58 to go to the Palisades Mall) there a little itty bitty Asian/Filipino supermarket (its in a lttle shopping compext right next door to a place called Romatic Depot) called something like far east food mart. I popped in yesterday (I am quite fond of thier barabecued meat skewers) and could not help noticing that amonst thier offerings were seedlings (not seeds actualy starter plants) for both bitter melon and loofah (marked "sponge gourd") just thought the info might be of use

                                  2. Do Thai chilis count? I grow lots of hot peppers and Thai are some of my favorite.

                                    1. I wonder if any one can share how/what/when you apply fertilizers, as well as any soil treatments, throughtout planting season, when growing Asian Cabbage family (Gai Lan, Choi Sum, Bok-choy,,, etc).

                                      2 Replies
                                      1. re: abrahamkou

                                        I had very nice baby bok choy and a napa type cabbage last year without any side-dressing. This was on a brand new lasagna style garden that was built in 2007 and then topped with well rotted/composted horse manure mixed with bedding. The lasagna beds are basically a layer of wet newspapers on top of existing sod, alternating layers of grass clippings, shredded leaves, and I probably added some wood ashes. When I transplant seedlings I always use fish emulsion.

                                        1. re: dfrostnh

                                          Thanks for sharing. I know Chinese greens, such as Gai-Lan, are heavy feeders. Below is my appraoch:
                                          Start the seed in seeding bed. Before transplanting seedlings, prepare soil by mixing in a lot of compost, along with balanced fertilizer (10-10-10) . This will help the seedings to develope healthy root system. When the plant is about 5~6 " tall, side dress with Nitrogen rich fertilizer such as Blood Meal (13-0-0).
                                          I also found that rotating crop is important to reduce leave rot and insects problem.

                                      2. One plant I don't think has been mentioned yet is Mizuna, a sort of asian mustard. It is super easy to grow from seed and peps up salads nicely.

                                        1. I live in N. Florida and have small (2x8) raised bed gardens that produce Thai Basil, Lemongrass, Chives, Thai chili's and a potted Kaffir Lime tree. All of them except the lime tree were cuttings from a Thai festival at a nearby temple.


                                          This may be of more help to you.

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: Chanin

                                            thanks, Chanin. I read that board, too. I salute your gardening skills in growing all those things from cuttings.