Many gardeners like to try new things in their garden. Asian vegetables add nutrition and new flavors to your healthy meals. If you like to try a crop in the same family, grow some Tong Hao also know as Shungiko. It is also called edible chrysanthemum or crown daisy. Glebionis coronaria is a traditional garden species in Europe and an important vegetable Asia for over 900 years. Tong Hao is an erect and branched leafy herb and is slightly aromatic. The plants may grow to a height of 1 to 3 feet and form dense stands. Like lettuce, this species has very small seeds. There are two types of varieties on Tong Hao: broadleaf and narrow leaf. The former, with large and thick leaves, is more tolerant to hot weather. Thus, it is an excellent variety for Florida grower. It can be planted in March and harvested in 40 to 45 days after planting. The narrow leaf varieties, with small leaves that have deeply toothed divisions, are usually slightly greener than broadleaf varieties. In North Florida, it can be harvested once a week starting in November.
Healthy Food Option for new recipes
Tong Hao is rich in mineral nutrients and vitamins. Its ß-carotene content is greater than other vegetables typically 1.5 to 30-fold greater than those levels in cucumber and eggplant. This leafy vegetable also contains various antioxidants. Many cook Tong Hao by stir-frying it alone as a cooked vegetable dish. People from China prefer to combine Tong Hao with meat to create a stuffing used to make dumplings. In Cantonese cuisine, a quick Chinese hotpot, a soup mixed with shredded chicken or lean pork, is flavored by adding Tong Hao and soy sauce. Additionally, the tender leaves can be used raw in salads along with beans sprouts, other leafy greens or tomatoes and tossed with sesame seed oil dressing.
Alternately, Tong Hao can be used as a green manure. When incorporated into the soil, Tong Hao tissue can effectively control root-knot nematodes, Meloidogyne incognita and M. javanica, and thereby improve tomato yields.
How can I grow Tong Hao?
Tong Hao’s Optimum growth temperature ranges from 68 to 84°F; it grows well in partial shade conditions and prefers damp but well drained soil. In Florida, Tong Hao can be produce in both Spring and Fall seasons. However, if grown in summer, it tastes slightly bitter because of the high temperatures. This crop prefers nutrient rich or humus soil conditions. At planting, the small seeds need thinly sown a quarter to a half inch deep. Plant spacing should be 2 inches with 18-inch row spacing. When the seedlings approach a few inches tall, thinning may be needed. Fertilize it like you would lettuce.
Tong Hao has beautiful flowers so it is an excellent addition to edible landscapes by adding a food value as well as aesthetics.