Diversify your crop garden – explore Swiss Chard, Pak Choi and Tatsoi!

In today’s blog, I will showcase the variety of crops that you can grow – even at home. In fact, I would advocate that you diversify your growing area rather than growing only traditional veggies. Try growing of Pak choi, kale, swiss chard, bell peppers, cherry tomatoes, herbs like parsley, oregano, thyme, rosemary, basil instead of growing traditional veggies tomatoes, chilies, brinjal, spinach, lettuce, cucumbers, mint, methi, cilantro. Doing this not only adds diversity to your garden but also helps you diversify your diet in terms of nutrition!!

 

Our Journey so Far

To set some context, our CG research center is a rooftop set-up in Bangalore.

Our journey in the CG research center beginning with growing spinach, tomatoes, lettuce, coriander, methi, and some common vegetables.

As we matured, we decided to add diversity to our garden, so we started growing table radish, cherry tomatoes (both red and yellow), kale (a highly nutritious leafy vegetable), cucumber, bottle gourd, green peas, french bean (Hydroponically-Deep Water Culture)

We now explore basil (both sweet and lemon) corn, pak choy, tatsoi, swiss chard, garlic, and onion chives

Now as our journey progresses, we are growing a variety of herbs like thyme, rosemary, oregano, parsley, endive, celery, Thai basil, as well as fruiting plants like Strawberries. And for aesthetic beauty, we have marigold and lilies!!

Little Saplings growing out of the seeds planted at CG research Centre

Swiss chard

 

  • This is a pretty and eye-catching leafy vegetable with its pink stem/stalk and green, broad leaf-base. 
  • Due to its high nutrient content, it makes a popular component of healthy diets.
  • 100g of raw swiss chard leaf gives you 79 kcal of food energy and has a rich content of Vitamin A, C, E, and K as well as dietary minerals like Mg, Mn, Fe, and K.
  • It contains low levels of carbohydrates, fat, protein and dietary fibers.
  • The tender leaves are used in salads while matured leaves are usually cooked.
Growing Swiss Chard hydroponically
  • We start with planting the seeds.
  • We then transplant the seedlings when they are 2 weeks old, ensuring a spacing of about 8-10 inches.
  • When you want to grow swiss chard in a soil-less method, all you need to ensure is that you maintain its desired pH and EC levels with appropriate temperature. pH-6 to 6.5; EC- 1.8 to 2.3. Temperature- 12.5 to 23.5 degree Celsius
  • Swiss chard requires at least 5-6 hours of daily sunlight.
  • The crop is ready for harvest in about 4-5 weeks of transplanting, Harvest 70-75% percent from the plant and leave 20-25% for more harvests from the single plant.

What joy in growing Pak choy and Tatsoi

 

Pak Choy
  • Pak Choy has broad green leaves with a white stem-based plant. and is spelled in many ways – Bok choy (which means white vegetable), Bok choi, pok choy, pak choi.
  • It is a type of Chinese cabbage which do not form a head and has smooth, dark green blades.
  • Pak choy is 95% of water. 100g of raw pak choy gives 13 calories of energy and it is a rich source of Vitamin A, B6, C, and K, as well as folates and some amounts of calcium.
  • It is used raw in salads.
Tatsoi
  • Tatsoi has spoon-shaped, green leaves which give the plant a pretty good look.
  • It is referred to as Chinese flat cabbage.
  • Tatsoi contains high levels of Vitamin C, carotenoids, folic acid, calcium, potassium.
Growing criteria’s is same both pak choy and tatsoi.
  • Both Pak Choy and Tatsoi are grown from seeds.
  • They need pH in the range of 6-7 and EC of 1.5-2 with ppm range of 1,050-1,400
  • Both these plants need about 6-7 hours of light, as these are cold season vegetables, excessive sunlight will result in stress!
  • In hydroponic DWC method, aeration and good airflow are very important for proper growth.
  • With proper care and maintenance pak choy and tatsoi will be ready for harvesting within 35-40 days of sowing of seeds.

 

So go on and diversify your garden!

Happy Growing!!

 

Sushma completed her B. Sc. from College of Horticulture, Hiriyur and M. Sc. from College of Horticulture, Bengaluru. She is an avid gardener with expertise across soil based and soilless gardening techniques using substrates.

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