This time of year is when I do a lot of thinking about how I can improve my garden next season. One strategy I always want to improve upon is growing vegetables in succession. The goal is to always have something growing so there is no downtime from food harvests and also so that there are few or no periods of time when the garden is fallow, which is better for the garden.
My father is an excellent garden planner and as you see from the photo, is a very tidy gardener as well! These bunching onions are grown in succession. Shortly after the rows in the back became established, he started the rows in the front. This makes for a very long period of harvesting for these delicious, go-with-anything onions! Learn more about planting in succession and other gardening techniques in The Chinese Kitchen Garden!
Oh, how delicious kabocha is… nutty and tasty, easy to grow, perfect size, dry and firm, stores well, and beautiful to look at too! Really…what more could you want in a winter squash? Kabocha is so good in both sweet and savory dishes. Here, it tops my Irish oatmeal along with golden raisins, pecans, brown sugar and a drizzle of coconut milk. A hearty and scrumptious breakfast.
Sweet Potato Leaves
While I really enjoy sweet potatoes (especially in the form of fries), sweet potato leaves are equally delicious. Here are some cooked greens, so easy and healthful in my mom’s go-to recipe that works well with most mild Asian greens. This recipe, and many other traditional, authentically-Chinese recipes can be found in my book. Sweet potato leaves can be hard to find, but so easy to grow yourself. And here’s the kicker – you get to harvest greens throughout the summer, AND have your fresh sweet potato fries in the fall!
Old Cover vs. New Cover
Some of you may be familiar with the colorful cover of The Chinese Kitchen Garden. The beautiful main photo, by Sarah Culver, is of stem lettuce, also known as celtuce. Stem lettuce is a really interesting vegetable - a leafy top (not so delicious) on crisp and juicy stems (very delicious) that thicken as the plant grows.
But anyway, turns out, the publisher felt the original cover was too dark and decided to make a lighter one. Check out the new cover! This is what you’ll see everywhere on February 8th. I would agree that if you imagine the two covers on a stack of books in the bookstore, the lighter cover on the right is more eye-catching from a distance. Don’t you agree?
I'm Wendy Kiang-Spray, gardener, home cook, and author of The Chinese Kitchen Garden. Learn more about the book here. Enjoy the blog and be sure to like The Chinese Kitchen Garden Facebook page for notifications when there are new posts.