Saturday, March 3, 2012

Pee-wee purple pak choi

The space under my seed-starting lights is already filled up, mostly with little leafy greens.  Pretty soon I will have to move them outside to a protected spot to harden off (at length, because we don't start up in the demo garden until April), so I can use the space for something else.

Here's one of the "greens" I'm excited about growing: purple pak choi.  I've had good luck with pak choi in the last couple of years, in both spring and fall (though fall is better), and I'm also growing a green one, but purple will be fun.

A lot of brassicas have varying degrees of purple/red coloration, which is due to anthocyanin pigments, either completely natural to the species or bred in.  Anthocyanins have nutritional benefits, and may also protect the plant from sun exposure; in fruits and flowers, they attract pollinators and seed-spreading animal munchers.  And it's interesting to vary the colors in your garden beds.  Green greens just get boring after a while!

I've also got purple kohlrabi seedlings, with green leaves and bright purple stems that will later swell until they look like kohlrabi, and just getting started some Giant Red Mustard.

Another (entirely unrelated) kind of seedling I'm excited about is roselle, Hibiscus sabdariffa.  Last year we had one successful plant; this year we will have a whole hedge of them.  Lots of Red Zinger tea!  Anthocyanins in plenty there, as well.

Now if I can only get my peppers to germinate.  Despite bottom heat, they are being very slow.

2 comments:

  1. This is the first year I am starting some cabbage seedling indoors; most of my other brassicas I simply sow directly in the garden. Have the same problem with my peppers; some are up, others varieties just failed to germinate all together and the seeds are not old. Go figure.

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    1. I usually end up sowing directly in my garden too, but since I have a month and a half tops in the demo garden from planting to "please move that so I can plant my tomatoes" I have to get them going inside!

      A couple more of my peppers just came up - I guess they are just very slow this year for whatever reason. I'll wait them out a few more days...

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