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Red pak choy

Full greens ahead

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Packed with flavour and nutrients, leafy Asian greens can be easily grown in all climates.

Whether you live in the tropics or in the coldest parts of southern Australia, autumn is the perfect time to start growing Asian greens. I love this diverse group of plants because they are not only easy to grow but also add interesting flavours and important vitamins and minerals to my family’s daily diet. They are also quick growing and, by and large, need similar conditions.

The Asian greens described in the following pages do best in well-drained, rich loamy soils with lots of organic matter. Dig compost and well-rotted cow, sheep or horse manure into the soil before planting, then water well and feed every few weeks with a liquid organic fertiliser like fish emulsion, worm juice or compost tea, alternating with seaweed extract.

Regular watering is very important as plants that are allowed to dry out will develop bitter leaves and tough stems. The aim with Asian greens is to grow them quickly with lots of food and water so the leaves and stems are succulent and tender. These plants also grow well in pots, so are perfect for those living in flats or with limited outdoor space. They are also pretty much pest and disease resistant, but you will need to protect young seedlings from snails and slugs with traps or barriers, and stop birds from scratching them out.