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Old July 22, 2018   #50
Join Date: Mar 2015
Location: Raleigh, NC
Posts: 205

Reviving this thread with my 2018 summer greens grow list. I'm still growing quite a few of the varieties I mentioned in my summer 2016 post a few pages back.

My Favorites:

-Kang Kong. White-flowered narrow leaf variety. Growing several dozen plants closely spaced in two 5-gallon sub-irrigated buckets. Leaves good raw, even better stir-fried with the crunchy stalks. Good in soups, curries. If you have to choose one plant for 100-degree weather, this is it. Fantastic producer, I can't harvest fast enough. Ants are the only pest, they chew holes in the leaves. The best summer spinach alternative.

Ashi-taba: No problems with 100-degree days. I eat the new growth raw. It does have a strong herbal/celery flavor, but I have grown to crave it. Larger leaves and stalks in smoothies or to flavor kombucha. I made a tincture from several whole plants last year. The leaves dehydrate and powder well.

The two plants pictured below are four years old and flowering.

Even after they flower and the plant dies, if you leave the root in the soil you may get lots of side shoots coming up in the spring. Nice bonus. Pictured below are at least a dozen individual plants that came up from the dead root:

-Dwarf Moringa. Growing eight plants, 4 per 15-gallon smartpot. I need to see how these do in the ground. I eat the leaves in salads, smoothies, and right in the garden. Strip a branch for a handful at a time. Zero pests.

-Roselle: Not even half as sour/lemony as sorrel. I love it, baby leaves in mixed salads, although I snack on this one in the garden more often than not. Pleasant crunchy texture. Possibly my favorite? Hard to choose!

-Sweet Potato greens. These are a Korean variety sold in Asian markets just for the greens, and supposedly produce few tubers. The stems in water showed roots in just 24 hours! Baby leaves decent raw, much better stir-fried. I eat the stems with 3-4 leaves per stem. Zero bitterness but "full-flavored". Loves the heat.

-Watercress. Once again absolutely destroyed by pests. Were doing okay in heat (shaded under fig trees) until the bugs found it. Sub-irrigated container with raised drain hole for higher water level.

-Longevity Spinach: I prefer the purple-undersided Okinawa spinach, but this stuff thrives in the heat. Fuzzy leaves, but I can eat them raw and the flavor and texture are acceptable.

-Swiss Chard: Verde de Taglio has replaced Perpetual Spinach as my favorite variety, baby leaves good raw. Grows all summer. I grow half a dozen varieties but these are the best for fresh greens. Perpetual Spinach has longer leaves, VdT thinner stems. Slugs and earwigs are the only pests I notice.

Verde de Taglio top, Perpetual Spinach bottom:

Transitional Greens:

-Tokyo Bekana. Grow it! Slightly bitter in the early summer heat, but still so close to romaine when raw. Tolerates 80s. Harvest individual leaves. I pulled mine mid-June after several weeks in the high 90s finished them off. So, not so heat tolerant that it can survive the height of my zone 7b/8a inferno, but a great choice to transition from spring spinach and lettuce before alternative leafy greens take off. Needs very short cook/steam time, say 60 seconds. Beautiful lime green foliage. Extremely bolt-resistant. Caterpillars and cabbage loopers do like it...

-Misome: If you like tatsoi but it bolts as soon as you look away, grow this! Good through early summer, slow to bolt (mine bolted mid-June). Leaves look like tatsoi but super-sized and more upright. Harvest leaves individually like kale. Main pest is whitefly.

Tokyo Bekana and Misome:

Misome bolting third week of June:

-Vitamin Greens: Another mild mustard. Bolts 3-4 weeks later than tatsoi but 6-8 weeks before misome. This year my first round of tatsoi bolted after a few warm days in February, and again in March. Vitamin Greens bolted in April, misome did not bolt until June.

-Komatsuna: Stronger mustard flavor than misome, baby greens good raw. Lasts through early summer. Kitazawa sells a red komatsuna hybrid that is supposed to be more heat tolerant.

-Kale, Collards: I have given up growing these beyond mid-summer. Once they start bolting and get bitter, fibrous, they're gone. Otherwise, they just attract pests and take up space. Same for beets. This year I started multiple varieties from January through April, White Russian is my new favorite variety and lasted the longest, not bolting when Red Russian bolted. The only kale that lasted longer was Scarlet, but that does not taste anywhere near as good in hot weather.

White Russian are the lightest-green plants, being used below for shading smartpots with seedlings:

Time Will Tell:

-Tyfon Holland Greens: These are as productive as advertised. Too much mustard oil for me to enjoy raw, even baby leaves. But my biggest producer and okay cooked. Cabbage loopers like this plant. Have yet to bolt!

-Day Lily: Yum! Flowers good raw in salads, I love the flavor. Flower buds great in stir-fries. I have not tried spring shoots or tubers yet. I want to find some great-tasting, heat-resistant varieties. The two cultivars I have handle the 80s just fine, but a week of highs in the 90s send them dormant. They come back when it cools. I have a few buds and blooms right now in late July. This is the only plant listed that I am growing in my RKN-infested ground, and they appear to be doing well. I'm going to dig up and divide this fall and will look for RKN galls.

-Jewel of Opar: If you like purslane and Malabar spinach, you will enjoy this. Attractive plant, no pest or disease problems, bigger leaves a little too slimy in texture for my preference.

-Golden Purslane: I grow this every year whether I want to or not. It self-seeds, but I'm okay with that as it is a decent living mulch in larger containers, and while tomato plants are small I can use that space for edibles. Purslane can handle the hottest 100 degree days with no problem. The mucilaginous texture is not my favorite.

-Red Shiso, Green Callaloo Amaranth, Red Aztec Spinach, Orach Mixed Colors, Ice Lettuce: I Haven't had great luck starting any of these from seed for several years running. I probably need to sow directly outdoors and ignore them. I love the flavor of shiso, but results are pending...

My Wishlist:

-Purple Tree Collards (another failure from cuttings)
-Sunset Hibiscus
-False/Red-Leaf Hibiscus
-South Sea Salad Tree (Cutting only? 3 phenotypes available)
-Red Komatsuna Hybrid
-Water Pepper
-Dazzling Blue Kale
-Yukina Savoy
-Mountain Mint
-Amara/Highland Kale
-Red Callaloo Amaranth
-Shungiku Chrysanthemum
-Red Sorrel
-Caucasian Mountain Spinach
-Akarenso Japanese Spinach
-Maruba Santoh
-Chaya/Tree Spinach (must be cooked, toxic raw)
-Reiso Red Ashi-taba

I'm always on the lookout for heat-loving greens, and I'll take any recommendations!

I will update with some photos later.

Last edited by fonseca; July 22, 2018 at 10:17 PM.
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