Tiny Black, Jumping Leaf-chompers

Flea beetle damage on bok choy_BlkForest-CO_LAH_3411 Our family loves bok choy, so I always plant at least one block of the baby variety. And every year I harvest bok choy that looks as if it’s been peppered with buckshot. I can explain that I washed the leaves and they’re perfectly safe to eat, but really—who wants to eat leaves that were eaten by something else first? Ewww.

The culprit behind all those holes is an aggravating insect called a Flea Beetle. No, they aren’t really fleas, and they only bite plants, not people. If you look closely, you’ll see they’re shaped like beetles (fleas are vertically flattened). Still, they are very small, dark brown to black, and they can jump—just like fleas. And just like fleas, they can drive you crazy.

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My Favorite Varieties: Asian Greens

Most veggie gardeners grow lettuce, spinach, and perhaps chard, kale or collard greens. Some are familiar with bok choy (spelled a dozen different ways). It’s the adventurous gardeners, or those from overseas, who include veggies such as Mizuna, Salt Wort, Fun Jen, or  Yu Choi Sum.

Since we used to live in Cupertino, California, where my local grocery store was Tin Tin #2, and the closest restaurant served the most incredible mu shu pork and lettuce wrapped chicken, it was only natural that I included some Asian imports in my garden as well.

I admit to having western taste buds, so what I recommend might seem all wrong to someone used to more exotic flavors. However, I like what I like. Maybe you will too.

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