Rules for a Good Garden

These gardening instructions were compiled by the summer caretaker of the Asian Garden to hand over to its fall caretaker.

Daily Commandments

I. Thou shalt water the garden deeply twice a week. Three hours shall be the time of the watering, and the time of the water shall be three, no more, no less. Thou shall carefully hand water the sections without drip-hoses (the bok choi, bean, and luffa sections).

II. Thou shalt pluck any ungodly weeds thou seest. (Grass beneath the squashes/melons/luffa is fine).

III. Thou shalt keep the sassy, stinky calabash gourd in its place. Cut its tendrils without mercy if they begin to creep onto the other vegetables or the trees.

IV. If thou seest thine bok choi struggling to survive, thou shalt rejuvenate it with Neptune’s Harvest.

V. Thou shalt mound soil around the base of the bok choi as it grows in order to “blanch” the stalks.

VI. Thou shalt not forget about Kristina’s tomatoes. Their area needs to be weeded, and the plants should be suckered.

VII. Thou shalt attend to the edamame with tender loving care. Some hungry insect is nibbling at the leaves and the Fels Naptha soap from above the potting room sink should be shaved off into a spray bottle and sprayed under the leaves if the problem persists (Use only enough soap to make the water cloudy).

When to Harvest Things

VIII. Harvest the bounty whenever thou seest it.

As for harvesting the stranger things in the garden:

Taro: It should be harvested when the leaves turn yellow. This shouldn’t happen until fall because the plants take 200 days to mature. However, the leaves can also be eaten, but then you can’t eat the bulb. Take your pick. (Also see this site for more info:

Peppers: Most of the hot peppers are ready when they are red. Hybrid golden hot peppers are ready when orange.

Bitter gourd: It looks like you can harvest the bitter gourd any time from when it is 1 inch long. Here’s a great site on the subject: Also it is really ugly! Google it to see.

Eggplants: Some of the eggplants are likely mislabeled. When the fruit comes in, you may want to move or amend the signs by consulting the seed packages in the potting room cubbies.

Cilantro: Eat the cilantro! It is a monster! Cut off the blooms if you do not want them to reseed themselves.

Spinach: Malabar spinach can be harvested as soon as the stems are growing well. Caution: it is apparently a bit of an acquired taste and is mucilaginous.

Ginger: Harvest ginger sometime in late fall. Sources say to harvest when the leaves turn brown (8-10 months?!), but this has already happened. Let’s experiment with this.

Additional Planting

IX. Sew thy kale, radishes, and snow peas in August. Depending on how large the beans get, something small could be planted in front of them. If we want some kale, we can dig up the boisterous horseradish in the corner to make room.

X. Plant thy garlic cloves in mid-to late October.

Cleaning Up the Garden

XI. In order to have a clean slate next year, the following must be taken out of the garden, most easily in mid to late fall:

Soaker hoses (They wrap around the middle two triangles and then the two walls closest to the greenhouses; at each black junction they can be detached.)


Poles (There are four supporting the pole beans and three tied to the wall with the bitter gourds.)

Little black signs, of which there are many.

The spirit rocks (Put them somewhere special lest we never have green thumbs again! If possible, find a nice weed to plant in said rocks.)

Things that are Perennial or will need to be dug up in the garden:

Horseradish, Fish Plant, Water Celery, Ginger and Taro.

Note that Eric Toensmeier says (in Perennial Vegetables) that you can overwinter taro in zone 6 if you are intentional about it. “With a well protected location and plenty of mulch it can be done. A northern growing season is still not long enough to mature taro as a root crop in a single year, but one could eat roots at the end of the second year, or just harvest the edible leaves”

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