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Getting truly fresh stir-fries with home grown veggies

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Growing your own veggies at home isn’t as difficult as you may think.  It also means you can stop worrying about the pesticides used in commercial farms and the cost of buying organic. Once you know how, it’s simply a matter of waiting a few weeks to have fresh produce for dinner.

Many of our favourites are perfect for growing in small spaces, adapting easily to being grown in containers. And if you have a surplus after harvesting them, refrigerators like the Electrolux NutriFresh range come with a Nutrilight feature that help to increase their vitamin and mineral content, in addition to keeping them fresher for longer.

Bok Choy

Bok Choy
By Ben Brown
http://www.flickr.com/photos/benbrown/3122290379
Bok Choy can be easily grown in a container near a sunlit window.

Bok choy, or Chinese cabbage just needs to be near a windowsill with sunlight to grow, and can be grown densely in tiny spaces like a container. Rectangular take-out containers will do, just punch some drainage holes at the bottom. Fill the container with moist soil and sow the bok choy seeds by scattering them evenly over the soil surface.

Keep it near the window, but don’t expose it to too much direct sunlight. Check the moisture level of the soil, which should be moist but not soaked, and water as needed. Harvest them when they reach a size that suits your needs. It takes about 10 days for the seedlings to reach a few inches in height, and you should clip them off close to the soil. Rinse and use in stir-fries, salads or as a garnish for savoury dishes.

Kai lan

Kai Lan
By Becky Striepe
http://www.flickr.com/photos/glueandglitter/5526961178
Kai Lan can be harvested within two months of planting.

Growing kai lan, or Chinese broccoli, requires well-drained soil, whose pH is neutral or slightly acidic. It grows best under a full sun in cool climates. For warmer climates, it may be best to keep it in the shade near a window.

The seeds should be planted one inch deep in the soil, with a space of one inch between each seed. Water the seeds as soon as you plant them. Keep the soil moist, and the seeds should sprout in about two weeks.

Kai lan tends to flop after reaching a height of about 6 inches, so place aged compost around them at that stage to keep them upright. If needed, remove the smaller seedlings to maintain a space of six inches between them.

Harvest the kai lan within two months after planting. You can harvest the stalks just before the flowers bloom. The kai lan can continue to grow additional stalks, just cut the stalks with a clean, sharp knife about 8 inches from the top of the plant. Use in stir-fries or lightly steam them for a delicious vegetable dish.

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