Book reviews: Oriental vegetables

I borrowed the following two books on oriental vegetables out from the library. Both books have a entry for each vegetable, which includes use, characteristics, climate, site and soil, cultivation, sowing, planting, pest and diseases, storage and choice of variety.


Oriental Vegetables: The Complete Guide for the Gardening Cook by Joy Larkcom – is a comprehensive reference book. The Telegraph even calls Joy the queen of the kitchen garden. The vegetables are illustrated as line drawings. Based on 10 years of research, it features a cornucopia of crops: a whole new world of vegetables that includes hardy leafy mustards, komatsuna, Chinese yams, lablab beans, Japanese pumpkin and water bamboo. The book is written for an British climate, so the growing information charts list only temperate and warm (subtropical) climates. The book provides over 50 of her own delicious recipes. Look for the revised edition.

Oriental Vegetables: How To Identify, Grow and Use by Waters, Morgan and Geary – sorts the vegetables by classification, and includes Chinese cabbage, Chinese mustards, other brassicas, other leafy vegetables, legumes, root crops, onions, cucurbits and mushrooms. It also has illustrated line drawings and is written for an Australian climate. Snap it up if you can find one. It’s a gem.

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