Kang Kong (Water Spinach or Ong Choy) Bamboo Leaf - 20 Seeds
Kang Kong Bamboo Leaf or Water Spinach is a Filipino staple (Ching Quat) when it comes to vegetables. Rich in vitamins and minerals and is abundant in the country. It is an aquatic tropical vine that can be successfully grown in a moist soil. This variety produces green leaves and green stems.
Commonly called Water Spinach, Kong xin cai, Kangkong or Ong Choy, Ipomoea aquatic goes by many names around the world. It has spinach-like leaves with long hollow stems. Almost all parts of the young plant are edible, but the tender shoot tips and younger leaves are preferred.
The spinach-like leaves are mild and tender and without any trace of the oxalic acid taste of regular spinach and the long hollow stalks have the advantage of holding onto all flavourings they are cooked with and stay crunchy even when wilted. No wonder it is one of the most popular greens in southeast Asia.
Direct seed or transplants may be used. In warmer locations, it can be grown as a perennial. In cool to cold locations, it can be grown as an annual or as a greenhouse plant. It does very well in hydroponic systems and is an excellent permaculture plant.
It grows so fast and easily, and tastes so good, that anyone in a temperate climate could grow this plant indoors in winter and outside in summer.
Water Spinach does not do well where average temperatures drop below 10°C, and do much better when the temperature is between 20 to 30°C. It tolerates very high rainfall, but not frost.
Soak seeds for 24 hours before sowing to encourage germination. Seeds can be sown directly or seedlings transplanted into the beds. Soil temperature requirement for germination is 20°C.
To produce strong seedlings, seed should be sown 5mm deep in trays with potting mix deep enough to allow the plants to develop a good root system. Transplant when plants are 10 to 15cm tall with four true leaves.
Plant stems are not strong, but plants grown in beds support each other and produce longer stems with less branching. Highest yields are obtained by spacing plants at 15 x 15cm. They can also be grown in rows about 30cm apart
Water spinach needs much more water than most other vegetable crops. This increased irrigation can leach out readily available nutrients, so it is recommended to use slow-release forms of fertility. Where rainfall is low, frequent heavy irrigations are necessary for high quality shoots.
The plants grow to around 30cm tall with trailing stems that can grow to 2 to 3 meters (6 to 10ft) long.
If you live in warmer locations, you may need to contain the plants or harvest often to keep it from spreading too much. It has long, jointed and hollow stems, which allow the vines to float on water or creep across muddy ground. Adventitious roots are formed at nodes which are in contact with water or moist soil. Harvesting for human consumption is the best method, by far.
Harvest 30 to 60 days after sowing, depending on climate and culture.
Water Spinach can be harvested completely or in a cut-and-come-again manner. Plants are harvested by cutting the stem close to the ground. Shoots regrow readily and growers should get two to three cuttings of water spinach before frost.
Water Spinach is always best when used very fresh. It is very perishable and deteriorates rapidly once picked, and only stores in the refrigerator for about a day or two. It can be used as fodder for animals, including pigs, chicken and ducks.
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