Located in California's Central Valley south of the San Francisco Bay area and east of Monterey, Fresno is in USDA Plant Hardiness Zone 9 where winter temperatures may reach a low of 20 degrees F and summers are warm. Fresno is surrounded by orchards with stone fruits growing to the west and citrus to the west. The climate is particularly suited to growing vegetables popular in Asian cooking, and a wide variety of vegetables grow well.
Bok choy (Brassica rapa) is a mild green that is found in many Asian dishes. It is a member of the Brassicaceae family, which also includes mustard and cress. Fresno is a leading producer of bok choy, which is a fall crop. Plant bok choy in spring, but harvest before the heat of summer. Bok choy resembles Swiss chard, though the petiole is wide and white while the leaves are green with white veins. Plant bok choy in partial shade in organically rich soil and give it regular water. Plants are sensitive to heat and cold, so plant when temperatures will be consistently between 50 to 80 degrees F.
A spring crop, Eggplant (Solanum) should be planted in time to take advantage of warm summer nights. Eggplant requires two to three months of days and nights above 65 degrees F to produce the best crop. Plant it in full sun and keep soil evenly moist. Eggplants are annuals that add interest to a vegetable garden, as the leaves are large, green and lobed, and the plant produces drooping purple flowers before the fruit sets. Bushes may grow to 3 feet and resemble miniature trees.
Snow peas (Pisum sativum macrocarpon) are sweet peas in a flat, edible pod. Often found in stir-fried dishes, they may be eaten raw. A cool-weather crop, plant snow peas in early spring or very early fall. Snow peas cannot tolerate temperatures more than 70 degrees F and should be harvested before the heat of summer. Plant snow peas in full sun to part shade and keep soil evenly moist. Overwatering will result in root rot. Snow pea plants will grow to about 2 feet, and pods should be harvested when they are about 3 inches long.
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