Thursday, April 1, 2010

Chinese Brassica Vegetable 'Purple Kosaitai'

I am liking this ancient Chinese veggie more and more..... it is a cold hardy winter crop here in Tampa, but would be a spring crop in a climate like Denver's where I gardened for 15 years. My friend Allen Boatman recently commented, as we ate leaves directly from the garden, that it is very "spinachy".....mild, crisp. I nibble from the plants daily as I work in the gardens, and love it in salads and stir fry. I don't think it is derived from Brassica rapa, but it is eaten like other rapes like 'broccoli-raab/ rapini', the unopened flower heads the main focus. But for me it is the leaves that make this frost hardy crop so desirable. A few weeks back I suddenly had germination in the kitchen garden of seeds a plant in a Water Wise Container Garden spread last spring after a wonderful winter El Nino rain, even though the heat season begins in about a month. I would encourage anyone who enjoys stir fry, salads, edible plate garnishes or omelets to grow this wonderful brassica. I am almost sure I got my first seeds a few years back from Kitazawa Seeds. If I still lived in Denver (heaven forbid!!!!) I'd sow the seeds in mid April, knowing the cold hardy seedlings could take late frosts and snows. John

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