These are some of the most useful fall vegetables, providing a variety of colors, textures and flavors, just as the weather is cooling.
Fresh greens can be enjoyed from the garden for many months, providing a wonderful source of vitamins when there isn't much else available. These are useful crops for filling gaps in the vegetable year because they mature when others are either just starting to grow, or have finished for the season.
When to Start: Midsummer to early fall
At Its Best: Fall
Time to Complete: 1 hour
Komatsuna, bok choy (pak choi), mizuna, mibuna and other Asian greens are best sown in late summer, or they will quickly bolt to seed. They need a rich, fertile, moist soil. Sow in situ or in peat pots, thinning or planting to eventual spacings of around 6 inches.
Pick the leaves when young as a cut-and-come-again crop for salads and stir fries, or leave them to mature fully and harvest the entire plant. If you cut the plant 1 inch above the ground, it will produce a second crop of leaves.
Greens can be overwintered in milder climates. To harvest a succession of spring greens, start cutting in early spring, before the plants form hearts, cutting away the entire leafy part but leaving the stalk. Cut a cross in the top of the leftover stalks. This encourages the plant to sprout again and produce a second flush of leaves, which you can then harvest. Do this to alternate plants in the row, leaving the others to form cabbages with rounded hearts.
Excerpted from How to Grow Practically Everything
© Dorling Kindersley Limited 2010