The Asian Salad Kitchen Garden
The most complicated ethnic vegetables to understand and get straight are the Asian varieties. Thanks to Kitazawa Seed Co. of Oakland, California, I think I can guide you through the maze of Oriental vegetables. I’d like to start small, using one themed garden at a time, so I’ll begin with an Asian Salad Kitchen Garden. While an Asian salad may not include the same ingredients that a regular green salad has, you might enjoy trying something new. You can also toss the Asian baby greens into your regular salad to add interest and taste.
Some, if not most, Asian vegetables are considered cool crops. However, if you are growing the varieties for the baby leaf to toss into salads, they shouldn’t be affected too much in spring and into some summer. Then too, you can always grow a winter Asian salad garden and instead of adding the greens to salads, use them in soups and stir-fries.
For a complete list of Asian
vegetables and their sources visit
CABBAGE (Loose head)
Beka Santoh 25 days. A loose-head type cabbage widely grown in Japan. The leaves are light green, slightly serrated, and frilly white stalks are 8” tall. Sow in spring. Source: KIT
Beka Santoh loose head cabbage Photo courtesy Kitazawa Seed Co.
Maruba Santoh Round Leaves 30-40 days. Mild flavored, heat tolerant and suitable for year-round growing. Tender, smooth, round, light green leaves and stalks. Harvest at any stage. Source: KIT
Kentsai-Dark Green 30-50 days. Grows small dark green leaves with green aromatic stalks. Source: KIT
Kentsai-Dark Green celery Photo courtesy Kitazawa Seed Co.
CORN (su type) 45-75 days. A hybrid baby corn that is used in Chinese cuisine. Each stalk of this variety grows 5’ tall and produces 4 mini cobs 2-4” long. Fresh cobs are delicious in salads and are perfect for pickling or stir-fries. Can be frozen too. Source: KIT
Orient Express 64 days. Asian type dark green cucumber. Burpless, 12-14” long and 1 ½” in diameter. Source: BURP COO STO
Suyo Long 61 days. Traditional Chinese long fruited variety that grows up to 15” long and is ribbed. Widely adapted. Bitter free. This cucumber needs to be trellised. Source: ANN BOT JOH
Taiwan Sword Leaf (Pointed Leaf Lettuce) 85 days. This variety is from Taiwan. This Asian lettuce has long pointed bright green leaves. You can harvest at an early stage when the leaves and stems are young and tasty. This variety is used in Cantonese cuisine. Source: KIT
Wild Garden Pungent Mix 30-40 days. Mix of unusual spicy mustard greens. Colors include gold, green, striped-red and solid purple. Leaves can be smooth, glossy, or savoyed, while edges range from plain to toothed and frilly. Flavors from sweet to pungent, even hot. Source: TER TERR
MUSTARD (Broad leaved)
Giant Red 40-50 days. Vigorous growing mustard is cold tolerant and slow to bolt. It has a mild mustard flavor. This is an edible landscape favorite. Harvest at any stage, micro greens to baby leaf for salads. Source: JOHN KIT STO
Giant Red broad leaved mustard Photo courtesy Kitazawa Seed Co.
MUSTARD (Oriental, Green stem)
Tatsoi 20-25 days. Forms a flat rosette close to the ground with tender dark green, spoon-shaped leaves and short light green stalks. A vigorous grower it is cold tolerant and has mild mustard flavor. Tatsoi is popular as a salad green. Can be harvested at any stage. Source: BAK BOT JOHN KIT SOU STO TERR
Green Boy 30-50 days. Popular traditional Japanese green has tender deep green leaves. Sturdy stems and a mild flavor that tastes like a combination of spinach and Asian mustard. Cold tolerant. Source: KIT
Komatsuna 30-50 days. Traditional Japanese green has tender deep green leaves and mild flavor that resembles spinach. Quick growing, upright type plant. Heat and cold tolerance. Delicious eaten at any stage. Rich in calcium. Add to your salads. Source: BAK KIT
Mizuna Early (Kyona Kyoto) 40-50 days. Japanese mustard has long slender stems and dark green leaves. Both cold and heat tolerant and slow to bolt. This is a cut-and-come-again variety. Source: JOH JOHN KIT SOU STO TER TERR
MUSTARD (Chrysanthemum Greens)
Komi Shungiku Salada 30-50 days. The leaves are thin and finely serrated with an almost lace-like appearance. The stem grow upright and the bright green leaves cascade from the top of the stalk. Fast growing plant that produces many side shoots as it matures. Mild chrysanthemum flavor and aroma. Nice addition to salads. Source: KIT
Komi Shungiku Salada chrysantheumum greens Photo courtesy Kitazawa Seed Co.
MUSTARD (Baby Leaf)
Crimson Red 20-45 days. Red mustard green from Japan. Harvest when young for salads. Very dark red, attractive leaf shape and mildly spicy baby mustard. Source: JOH KIT
Crimson Red baby leaf mustard Photo courtesy Kitazawa Seed Co.
He Shi Ho (Heskiko) 60-80 days. Japanese heirloom perennial bunching onion. Stalks grow and divide from the base. Non-bulbing white type. Mild flavor. Source: ANN BAK KIT TERR
Red Beard (OP) 40-50 days. Red stalks. Mild flavored and tender leaves. 27” tall at maturity with the red stalks about 12” long. Source: KIT TER
Red Beard onions Photo courtesy Kitazawa Seed Co.
Taichung II 60-70 days. Chinese edible podded pea. Well-branched compact plant. 3-4” long flat pods. 1-2 pods on each node. Has pink flowers. Source: KIT
RADISH (Sprouts and micros)
All Purple 7-10 days. Sprouting radish that yields a harvest of approximately 3-4” seedlings, which are uniform eggplant-purple color and becomes more intense in cooler weather. Perfect for salads. Source: KIT
ANN Annie’s Heirloom Seeds AnniesHeirloomSeeds.com
BOT Botanical Interests botanicalinterest.com
COO The Cook’s Garden cooksgarden.com
JOH Johnny’s Selected Seeds Johnnyseeds.com
JOHN John Scheepers Kitchen Garden Seeds kitchengardenseeds.com
KIT Kitazawa Seed Co. kitazawaseed.com
SOU Southern Exposure Seed Exchange Gardens@SouthernExposure.com
STO Stokes Seeds StokeSeeds.com
TER Territorial Seed Company territorialseed.com
TERR Terroir Seeds underwoodgardens.com
© Copyright by Karen Newcomb