Monday, July 12, 2010

A Heat and Humidity Tolerant Asian Brassica?

Saturday morning I rode my bike to the DoBond Market here in south Tampa, a wonderful Vietnamese grocer, to buy springrolls makings (I woke up with a hankering for them but had just the wrappers and the fixings for the dipping sauce) their cooloer I saw bags of a rich green brassica with FAT succulent-looking stems, and leaves that looked KIND of like collards...the bags said 'Gai lohm'. The owner told me it is called 'Chinese Broccoli' and that it is locally grown RIGHT NOW in this humid heat!!! Since it looked utterly pristine ( I did not buy it, bought Chinese cabbage instead) I Googled it once home, then went to my favorite Asian veggies seeds site, where I saw they had several strains. So I ordered the one that showed and mentioned FAT STEMS. They have a $10 minimum order so I got some other things, like a LIGHT GREEN amaranth and a tomato for the subtropics. See below the link to my order page. I got two packets of the 'Blue Star' gai lohm to try now plus of course this fall when I usually plant my brassicas, plus share with friends. Maybe the trick is to start them earlier, which is how she is being supplied by local Asian gardeners growing it now in midsummer...but I will try some seeds now anyway, then maybe NEXT year start them in March. I am psyched about this crop! I will likely buy a bag this week to taste (it was a little pricey to a tightwad like me) as it looked crisp and succulent in the bags in the cooler, plus I had a good class turnout Sunday so have some $$$. When I reflect on my fifteen years of gardening in Denver, I feel that this could well be a great summer crop for the rest of the U.S., not just Florida.


1 comment:

  1. John, Sounds like a very interesting plant for Florida if it can stand the summer heat.

    Please follow up when you've made a taste test. I'm curious how this compares to rapini (broccoli rabe) as far as the bitterness. I love rapini, but don't think it will like the heat here. It would be nice to have a substitute.

    Thanks, Michael Kohlmann