When it comes to leafy greens, it seems it’s either feast or famine at our place. As annual crops mature, there’s always a bounty of leaves to throw in salads and stir-fries. Then there are those times between plantings when we keep falling short.
I figured we needed some perennial greens in the garden to tie us over. I headed to a local farmers market in search of kangkong. It’s an Asian style vegetable that’s ideal for steaming, tossing into stir-fries, soups and salads. Kangkong is a very important vegetable in many parts of Asia and at times has served communities as a staple.
It’s incredibly easy to grow, perhaps too easy! I’ve seen it escape in some gardens, much in the way that it’s cousin sweet potato can to do (they are both in the ‘morning glory’ group of plants Ipomea spp.). It’s been declared a noxious weed in some parts of the world. This is a plant you need to take some care with!
There is no way I would consider planting kangkong in ground. For one, I don’t have the space for a rampant vine and two, I don’t need to be living on it! So I have decided to grow it in a big pot to keep it contained. Turns out, this approach has solved another issue. Kangkong, (Ipomea aquatica) also known as Water Spinach needs a lot of moisture to perform well. By growing it in a pot, I can keep a dish at the base, which helps to keep the moisture up to it for an extended period.
So far, it’s been working a treat. The Kangkong harvest tastes great and I have enjoyed multiple harvests already in just six weeks after planting … and it doesn’t stop growing!
This is a great one for the patio or balcony. Click here to check out my video on how I’m growing it. There are some tips for propagation as well. And please, make some comments below to share your suggestions and experiences for other perennial leafy greens that you have tried. Good Health!
First published: March 2010