The Chinese New Year is approaching. On February 1, 2019, China will ring in the Year of The Pig. Pigs are intelligent, talkative, and very few people realize how clean pigs truly are. The pig symbolizes wealth in China. Hopefully the year of the pig will likewise bring wealth to your garden.
In sticking with the Chinese New Year theme, let's plant some really interesting Chinese crops this January. Bok Choy, Chinese Cabbage, Chinese Celery, and Chinese Spinach are just a few crops on the must try list. There are two very interesting facts about Chinese crops. Firstly, most of their varieties make in half the time it takes our regular crops to make. Secondly, China's climate and growing conditions mimic South Carolina's, so the crops will flourish for you.
My favorite Chinese crop is Bok Choy. There are several varieties, which are broken down into two categories- baby Boy Choy, which makes in 45 days and regular Bok Choy, which takes around 60 days to harvest. The baby Purple Lady, and Prince Green are just beautiful in the garden. Bok Choy needs moderately cool weather, so plant in late January. The seeds are very, very small so you only need one grain of sand to cover the seed. Do not bury the seeds. Water them lightly until they get strong, so you don't push the seeds in too deep.
Chinese Cabbage is also beautiful to grow and makes in around 70 days. This cabbage comes in several different colors. Plant it just like the Bok Choy seeds. It resembles a antique vase- so pretty.
Now I am excited about Chinese Celery. I have not had a chance to plant this crop yet, but as many of you know, celery is hard to grow in South Carolina because it doesn't like the up and down temperatures, and also it usually needs a very long cool weather growing season. Chinese Celery is exciting because it takes less time to grow. Having said that, germination can take up to 3 weeks, so don't be discouraged if you don't see them quickly popping up to say, “ni hao”, which is Chinese for hello. Chinese Celery takes about 90 days til harvest. Plant it just like the Bok Choy seeds.
To round up our Chinese garden, we should add Chinese Spinach. This spinach is AMAZING for growing around here. The greatest thing is that it will not bolt, if we have a few days of warm weather. Bolting occurs in our winter crops when the weather gets too hot and they begin flowering out. When this happens, the plants turn bitter. Chinese Spinach can deal with a little more heat than more popular varieties, however you need to plant it during the cooler months.
I hope you will add some interesting crops this year into your garden. You will find that the Chinese crops are hardy, beautiful and easy to grow. Happy New Year and as always, Get Growing South Carolina.
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