MUSTARD GREENS for eating COOKED:
These are very easily-grown greens for cooking (like chard, spinach etc) from the mustard family.
Raw they are spicy - so although it is nice to put small quantities raw in salads, they're mostly used cooked.
Apart from the great taste, an advantage of these is that
they are left alone by many pests
- they're only attractive to animals that know how to cook!
"Nine Birds" Mustard Greens for cooking
The name in Chinese is written , or 'Jiu Tou Niao', which means "Nine Birds Mustard Green". It is an old heirloom variety of mustard leaf from South China, with green serrated leaves, & is prized locally for the texture and flavour of the greens.
Hot and spicy raw, tasty and mild cooked.There are many local varieties of this sort of green yet to be discovered in the West.
Order OVNi - 200 seed £
"Green Wave" Mustard Greens for cooking
Big green leaves with frilly edges - Green Wave is great because it not only thrives in cool weather, but is also relatively tolerant of heat, so can be sown both in spring & after midsummer.
It is really, really impressively cold-hardy. Not only can you extend the season in a polytunnel, but also we find that plants left outdoors often overwinter perfectly well, making a good crop of leaves in spring.
All in all, a hardy and easily grown plant, making masses of cooking greens. When it finally does run to seed, the flower shoots are very nice cooked like sprouting broccoli, too!
Hot and spicy raw, tasty and mild cooked.
Order OVGW approx 200 seed £
When? You can sow it most times of the year. Normally though, sow in spring (earliest under cover) & again after midsummer.
Purple " Mustard Greens for cooking
This is a deep purple mustard green, with amazingly huge oval leaves that are purple and green with white veins. They make a big rosette and eventually a heart as well.
We like this because it is cold-hardy - sow it after midsummer for use overwinter.
This nice seed from Frank & Karen Morton was specifically bred for home gardeners. It is a particularly vigorous variety, growing on well even in less than ideal weather, and very cold-hardy, standing on into winter.
Hot and spicy raw, tasty and mild cooked.
Order OVOP approx 200 seed £
When? For sowing just after midsummer, and harvest overwinter. Osaka Purple should only be sown after mid-summer; it will bolt if sown in spring.
Dragons Tongue MILD
A great new mustard green. It has huge leaves with amazing wiggly white ribs and purple highlights.
It is mild when young and ideal for salads. As it gets bigger it gets hotter raw, and then is really nice cooked, leaving just a slight spicy tingly richness in the flavour.
We grow this every year using it young in winter salads then as it matures cooking it in stirfries, curries and as a side-dish.
Sweet when young, very big and productive. Probably our best new salad/cooking green.
Order OVHo approx 200 seed £
When? For sowing just after midsummer, and harvest overwinter. But we have found it does well in spring too, so give it a go then too.
Zha Cai Stem Vegetable (a.k.a. "The Thing")
So, definitely our strangest new vegetable. Zha Cai is a unique sort of plant from Szechuan in China, where it is famous. How on earth to describe it?
The stem is swells up like a kohl-rabi but making lots of bumps rather than one big one. The stem and leaves can be used sliced in salads, cooked, pickled or stirfried. The flavour is like the centre of a head of broccoli.
However, slightly tricky timing-wise: If sown in normal Spring sowings it will just bolt – instead, sow in September for overwintering, or sow VERY early right at the start of Spring under cover. The tips of the bumpy bits of stem can get quite spicy-hot, so peel them if this is the case.
It makes leaves quite quickly, say 4 or five weeks to a reasonable plant size; then it makes the swollen stem which should be ready roughly 3 months later.
We have only been able to grow it well under cover, although it is perfectly cold-hardy - when we grow it outdoors it doesn't make the knobbly bits. So for now we recommend a greenhouse or polytunnel only, ideally grown overwinter.
Order OVZC - approx 200 seed £