Chinese vegetables, sometimes called Oriental vegetables, favored in Chinese and Asian cooking are easy to grow. They are tasty, vigorous, and highly adaptable. Most are fast growing and suitable for small gardens and containers.
Chinese vegetables can generally be broken into three groups: those easy to grow in temperate regions with cool and cold winters, those that require higher temperatures and long-growing seasons--sub-tropical plants, and, finally, a small group of water vegetables, tubers, and herbs.
Like other vegetable crops, Chinese vegetables can be divided into warm-season and cool-season growing crops. Here are common warm-season Chinese vegetables. For cool-season varieties see the article: Chinese Vegetables: Cool-Season Varieties
Warm-season Chinese vegetables:
Vegetable amaranth (Amaranthus hypochondriacus for seed/ Amaranthus tricolor for leaf). Amaranthus tricolor also known as Chinese spinach, edible amaranth, hiyu, and callaloo. Cook greens like spinach. Sow in spring; can be grown in summer. Sensitive to frost; germinates best in warm soil. Sow ¼ inch, row 18 inches apart. Greens ready in 50 days; 100 days for seed. Try varieties: Red Stripe Leaf, Tender Leaf, All Red.
Arrowhead (Sagittaria sagittifolia). Also called Chinese arrowhead, swamp potato, and kuwai. The tubers of arrowhead are eaten; bitter when raw but full-flavored like a nutty sweet potato when cooked. Roast, or boil like a potato. Best grown in boggy soil set about 3 to 6 inches below the surface of the water; leave room for root to grow. Harvest tubers all season long. Store for winter in water garden that will not freeze.
Adzuki bean (Vigna angularis). Also know as aduki bean or red beans and in Japan as azuki. A sweeter flavor than most beans. Young beans can be served like snow peas after brief cooking. Puree after simmering dry beans. Cook dried beans like navy beans--just simmer about 40 minutes until tender. Sow ½ inch deep; sow 2 to 3 inches apart in rows 24 inches apart; no need to thin. For green beans harvest when beans just begin to show in pod; for dried beans allow to mature, about 120 days.
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