Asian vegetables have gained in popularity for home cooking. Bok choy is one of the more popular, It is also known as wong bok, but, more commonly as Chinese cabbage.
Chinese cabbage is probably the best known and widely grown oriental vegetable, although it is not a true cabbage. In fact, it belongs to the mustard group of vegetables and is a cross between pak choi and turnips. It is the Chinese green vegetable that is closest to the traditional cabbage shape, although its tightly packed leaves are crinkly and lighter green than ordinary cabbage leaves.
Chinese cabbage should be planted after the danger of frosts has passed as the plants will form seeds, rather than the fleshy leaves, if plants are grown in cold weather.
Planting Chinese cabbage into fertile soil is preferred, with the addition of some lime to the soil prior to planting. Better results are obtained by growing from seeds as seedlings do not always transplant well.
Alternatively, seeds can be grown in peat pots in the initial stages, and the pots can then be placed whole into the vegetable garden.
Pot plants should receive some attention this month. The plant can be removed from its pot by tapping it gently, in an inverted position, easing it from the pot.
If the root system has become entangled and congested, some of the roots should be removed, using a sharp knife. The plant can then be placed into a slightly larger pot to which has been added a good quality potting mix. Water the pot well by placing it into a bucket of water. The application of a very weak soluble fertiliser or seaweed based solution will assist the plant to make new roots and grow successfully.
Geraldton Wax plants are displaying attractive blooms now. Plants that have white, pink or purple flowers are available. Cutting the flowers for indoor decoration will provide a form of pruning for the plant, helping it to avoid the development of bare, woody growth. Stems of flowers that have been picked will last for quite a considerable time in a vase, provided the water in the vase is replenished with fresh water on a regular basis.
Geraldton Wax plants are a useful addition to the garden as they provide flowers from early winter through to late spring. Some gardeners experience difficulties in establishing a Geraldton Wax plant. However, if their main requirement of good drainage is met, they usually grow quite successfully.
A number of native plants are coming into full bloom now, both in the garden and in the bush that surrounds our residential areas.
Hardenbergia, also known as False Sarsparilla or Purple Coral Pea, is a member of the pea family and produces masses of dark purple pea flowers to accompany the dark green leathery leaves. It flowers best when planted in well-drained soil in a sunny position. Regular pruning will help to keep the plant, which is a natural climber, more compact. Hardenbergia “Happy Wanderer” is the variety most commonly grown, although other varieties, with colour variations are available. It is well suited to cover a fence or bank.
Grevilleas are also beginning to display their attractive flowers. Those growing in bush areas are more often the “spider” type of flower, so called because of the nature of the individual blooms. While these types of plants are also available for growing in home gardens, hybrid varieties, with large flowers are more commonly selected.
When selecting plants for the garden, in addition to selecting the colour, consider the height that the plant will reach, as well as growth habit and leaf style. With the increasing number of varieties available, the gardener will be able to select plants that suit their particular requirements.
The result will be an abundance of colourful flowers that are very attractive to native birds.