As relatives of radishes and arugula, Asian salads have little in common with our domestic salad. They are particularly suitable for cleaning and garnishing, as they have a natural pungency due to the mustard oils they contain.
Sowing: from seed to salad
Asian lettuces can usually be cultivated up to twice a year. The first time in the spring (from April), the second time in July or August. Regardless of whether it is on the balcony, terrace or in the flower bed – 0.5-1 meter of space in a partially shaded or sunny place is enough for Asian salads to feel good. Lettuce seeds are also suitable sown in potting soil or directly in the garden. Then keep the soil moist and cover the planter with cling film or a plastic bag, for example. In this way, the seedlings cannot dry out. As soon as the plants begin to develop properly, they must be treated with carob flour, carob flour or compost to be fertilized.
Asian salads are insensitive to cold. If severe frosts come again in the spring, just cover with wool.
Harvesting: the younger the leaves, the more tender they are
Only after a few weeks you can collect the first young lettuce leaves. If you want to have some of your plants for a long time, it is best to remove only the outer leaves and leave the lettuce cores. In this way, it can be collected again and again. By the way, as the plant ages, its sharpness also decreases.
The following applies to all Asian lettuces: harvest before flowering. After that, the nutrition and taste change, so that some of them become inedible. Insects, on the contrary, rejoice at one or the other flower that is allowed to grow.
Recommended Asian salad varieties
The variety “Rouge Metis” promises a slight sharpness and red coloring of the leaves. Whereas ‘Yellow Green Curled’ boasts yellow-green curled leaves. If you want something a little edgier, Mustard Purple Wave is it. As the name suggests, this Asian lettuce is characterized by its wavy edges and green to purple leaves. If you do not want to be left without a harvest even in the cold season, the variety “Green in the Snow” is ideal for you. It is slightly sharp and can be sown not only in winter, but also in spring.
Bok choy, mizuna and namenia
Pak choy, mizuna or namea leafy vegetables are also Asian salads. However, unlike the varieties mentioned above, the whole plant is harvested here. The leaves and stems have a particularly aromatic flavor and retain their valuable nutrients if only briefly steamed until al dente.