Your Favorite Garden

“When weeding, destroy the roots.” -Chinese proverb

baby bok choy

Baby bok choy

Dandelions. I remember pulling them out in our yard as a child, trying to yank out the entire plant, so they wouldn’t infiltrate our soft grass. We used the green expanse to throw around a football or pitch a baseball. Sometimes we were too lazy to deweed properly, so we just pulled out the bright colored petals. It doesn’t matter so much for lawns, but weeding a vegetable garden is another issue entirely.

I remember the impressive garden that my grandfather planted. Unable to buy Chinese vegetables at the local store, he decided to plant his own. (I recently heard about a children’s book, The Ugly Vegetables, that uses the same motive.) In my grandfather’s backyard, there were rows of fluffy green leaves, some budding with flowers, overtaking what used to be a swimming pool. The area felt like magic to me, a veritable jungle.

Nowadays, though, I don’t have to plant Chinese vegetables to enjoy them. Major chain stores like Ralphs and Albertsons carry napa, bok choy, and baby bok choy. I can also choose from a wider selection at 99 Ranch, an Asian market. If I want even fresher fare. my local farmers’ market has a seller devoted to Chinese vegetables, too.

What’s the best garden you’ve ever seen?


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  1. Of course, here in Hawaii, Asian vegetables are the norm rather than the exception. We use slightly different terms given the pidgin nature of the culture. What is commonly known as “baby bok choy” in our markets is deemed “pak choy” in this guide to Asian greens:

    My favorite is choi (choy) sum in oyster sauce.

    My favorite garden would be my grandmother’s …long archived in my memory. Most treasured memory is of her walking the rows of her garden with her razor-sharp hoe like a Zen master with a bamboo pole. Lightning fast and skilled as any martial arts sage on Black-Belt Theatre, she sent the offending weed, roots and all, flying toward the pecking chickens that were scratching up equally offending bugs.

  2. My dad had a huge vegetable garden when I was growing up. I have a lot of memories of him digging in the dirt in his old, grubby, gardening jeans, looking perfectly content. I didn’t appreciate all of that beautiful, fresh food at the time, and I wish I had.

    • jenniferjchow says

      I wish I could plant my own vegetable garden nowadays. Instead, I rely on wonderful friends with green thumbs.

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