Square Foot Gardening Forum
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Hello from Beijing

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Hello from Beijing

Post  bigcow on 2/20/2014, 10:38 pm

Hi everyone

I'm new to SFG and am looking to growing my first SFG when the weather's better in Beijing. Look forward to sharing my Chinese experience with you and being a part of this community.


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Re: Hello from Beijing

Post  Marc Iverson on 2/20/2014, 11:23 pm


I'd love to hear what you're growing, especially if they're greens or herbs you feel are a must-have. I'm trying to learn more about Asian greens and spices.
Marc Iverson

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Re: Hello from Beijing

Post  walshevak on 2/21/2014, 4:27 am

Are you the new certified instructor from China.  Read on my newsletter that we now have one.



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Re: Hello from Beijing

Post  cheyannarach on 2/21/2014, 12:49 pm

Welcome, looking forward to hearing about your progress!  You will love square foot gardening!  What is your growing season like?

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Re: Hello from Beijing

Post  bigcow on 2/23/2014, 1:02 pm

Thanks for all the welcome. 

@walshevak: Yes, I just got certified but I have to admit I haven't had the chance to actually grow anything in a true blue square foot garden. Yet.

To be honest, I'm really still figuring out Beijing in terms of growing. The environment here is unlike anywhere else I've lived in. I'm originally from Singapore where it's consistently warm, sunny and humid all year round. I've lived in many parts of the world throughout my life, including CA. I think it's akin to hardiness zones 6-7, but Beijing's climate just keeps changing unpredictably. Last winter, it was snowing like crazy. This winter was warm, only one day of snow two weeks ago. (Upside: I saved a lot from my heating bill.) Last summer, we had flash floods that killed a few people. Which has never happened before because Beijing's known for its arid climate by being next to the desert. My guess is that the government's reforestation plans to stop desertification creeping in is working. It has moved mountains to turn this desert into an oasis during summer! Not to mention, for half the year we're blanketed by heavy pollution which cuts our sunlight by a lot. In fact, I'm in the middle of a 7-day smog right now. Day 3, no sun. All my sprouts are elongated. I cannot not consider using lights.

We also have limited plant information, composting information, gardening techniques etc from gov's agricultural websites. This country was originally set up to separate rural and urban. So only farmers grew things. I know, it's pretty messed up.  thinking 

To try to answer as best as I can:

@cheyannarch: Generally speaking, growing season is late March - late October. From my own experience, because of the scorching 40°C summers, short springs and autumns, it's very necessary to have a hothouse, cloche or some kind of protection almost all year round.

@Marc Iverson: Green or spring onions are a must garnish for Chinese cooking. Bak choy is standard fare. Chives for making egg and chive dumplings. Spinach in spring and autumn. Morning glory (?), known as kang kong in Singapore and kongxincai in Chinese, caixin and jielan (Chinese kale, I think) are Southern vegetables but can be grown in summer. I'm starting a Chinese white cabbage variety by the agricultural department called #83 for my wife to make kimchi. I've successfully grown mint, basil, rosemary and dill for herbs. We have a massive online shopping mall here, kinda like ebay, which sells local and imported seeds and clones. Tomatoes, both the Chinese numeric variety as well as Western ones (besides Pomodoro, the other varieties are not named) are also grown here.

Other things that grow well locally: Sweet potatoes, pumpkins and squashes, cucumbers, peaches, strawberries, persimmon, walnuts, apples, pears, ginko nut, apricots, hawberry. Most leafy greens can be grown here in season.

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Re: Hello from Beijing

Post  sanderson on 2/23/2014, 3:24 pm

Your vegetables sound delicious! One thing about Mel's Mix is that it takes the 'soil worry" out of the picture. Now all you have to deal with are smog, unpredictable weather patterns, sun protection, in other words, the normal adventures of gardeners!!  Very Happy  Happy gardening. And post photos of your SFG journey.

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Re: Hello from Beijing

Post  FamilyGardening on 2/23/2014, 11:02 pm

Welcome to the forum and congrats  cheers on becoming certified!

would love for you to keep us updated and post pictures if you can!

we too plant a lot of green onions, in fact our children don't really think of green onions as an onion, because they are so delicious and not as strong tasting as a regular onion....we love to grow them because they do well all year around for us so we always have something fresh in our cooking.....of course though they LOVE sauté sweet onions in butter..... Razz and onion rings  Very Happy 

our oldest daughter at home is really into art, music and fashion of other cultures and both our children love our gardens.....it will be fun to share with them you garden from China!

happy gardening

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Re: Hello from Beijing

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