Sharon Johnson of Columbia, S.C., is a passionate gardener, a point that is made obvious by the fact that she lives on a small lot, full of concrete pads, yet she has found a way to have a beautiful garden full of flowers, fruits, vegetable and herbs. Some are in containers, some are not. Her blog will document the adventures of gardening in pots, fending off deer and small animals and the trials of organic gardening.


Bok Choi
by Sharon Johnson - posted 01/27/13

Aquaponics forces me to expand my vegetable growing repertoire, because the system requires continuous plant growth, even in the dead of winter.  The plants eat the fertilizer produced by the fish, so this year, I have several different kinds of plants growing.  One of these is bok choi.

Now many of my friends extol the virtues of bok choi and as you can see, my plants are GORGEOUS, but I just don't think this is a plant for a true southern girl. The mild taste leaves me wanting something with more bite, like the mustard greens I so love with my grandmother's cornbread dumplings or the collard greens South Carolina produces so prolifically.  Bok choi greens just don't grab me like those old southern favorites.

Now the stems are another story.  With the right sauce, they could be amazing.  They are juicy and non-stringy...kind of like giant celery.  My quick sauté in olive oil, garlic and toasted sesame seeds did not do them justice.  Perhaps next time I will grill or roast them.

And I will definitely separate the leaves from the stems, keeping each one for a different recipe...maybe even mixing the leaves with some of my beloved collards? Maybe next year I'll try beets in the aquaponics instead.  It will be interesting to see how the roots develop in the ebb and flow system of aquaponics.

What's your favorite winter green and how do you cook it? 



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