Wednesday, December 7, 2011

The Cold Tolerant Asian Green Experiment!

As a year-round gardener, I'm always on the lookout for cold-tolerant veggies that may be harvested from our devices - cold frames, mini hoop tunnels, etc - over the winter. Throughout the past two years, I've been experimenting with a wide assortment of Asian veggies like mustards, mizuna, tatsoi and so on. For a seed addict like me, it's a great excuse to keep ordering from seed catalogues and now that the new 2012 seed catalogues have begun to arrive, I've been busy adding new introductions to my ever-growing must try list!

Tatsoi has been a particular champ and thrives in our winter frames.. An interesting observation is that in winter it grows in a low rosette of shiny, deep green leaves - almost flat to the soil - while in spring/summer/fall, it's growth habit is more upright. I have tried it in several devices, but find it does best in a cold frame. Mind you, I've left it completely unprotected and was able to harvest through the snow and ice in mid-January last year. 

Mizuna is another essential cold season green with pretty, finely cut leaves and various shades of green and purple. It has a mild wasabi-like flavour and is great young in salads or stir-fried when mature. It also makes a nice sushi roll if you don't have any nori sheets! 

I've also had a lot of fun growing various mustards during this experiment - from the frilly, lacy foliage of Ruby Streaks, to the wide, huge leaves of Red Giant. Green Wave is also so pretty and is extremely slow-to-bolt in early to mid-summer. Flipping through my new Johnny's Selected Seed catalogue, I've added 'Scarlet Frills to my list for 2012 and Golden Frills - so delicate looking! 

I have a feeling this experiment may not have an end! 

My blend of Asian greens ready to be covered for winter.

Green Wave mustard - just look at that frilled edge!

Red Giant and Green Wave make nice planting partners - a colourful garden edge!

Tatsoi.. a lovely and super-hardy winter veggie

Late November Asian greens - getting a bit overgrown because of the mild weather!

New growth on the mizuna - where is winter!?


  1. Niki, We have a lot of the same plants and practices. My latest post is on season extending greens, and I think you might be quite interested in the Fedco Seeds reference. Sorry if you get hooked. George

  2. Looks terrific Nikki! I've been harvesting some lettuce at my place but need to do a better job getting more "winter toughies" into the garden next fall!


Please feel free to leave comments. I welcome your tips, questions, thoughts and ideas (and suggestions for new veggies to grow!)