Growing Bok Choy

Bok Choy is another easy green to grow. Actually, it is a Brassica, in the cabbage family. It is a staple in Asian cooking and there are many different varieties.

It has a mild flavor and can be eaten raw in a salad or in cole slaw. It can be used to make Kimchi. Bok choy is also very popular in stir fry and soup. You can eat it like you eat celery as well.

I grew baby (dwarf) bok choy. It matures quickly and grows best in cooler weather.

Baby bok choy reaches about 6 inches tall and regular bok choy reaches about 18″.

 Planting – Bok Choy can be planted in early spring or late summer. I planted it around the same time as my lettuce and spinach. IMG_2357

The seeds are tiny. You can direct sow or transplant. I always start mine inside and transplant to the garden. Sow the seeds about 1/4″ deep. Dwarf variety plants should be 4-6 inches apart. Full size should be 12″ apart.

Plant in full sun. Will tolerate part shade.

Plant in rich, well drained soil.  Close to neutral soil.

It is best to plant where no other cabbages have grown the last two years to avoid diseases.

Growing – Bok choy withstands some frost.

It needs consistent moisture as their roots are quite shallow.

Reaches maturity in about 30-60 days depending on variety. Less time for baby, a little longer for full size.

Can be grown in containers and beds.

Fertilizing – Nitrogen helps leaves grow. Fertilize every few weeks, if necessary. The large varieties are bigger eaters. Other than at planting, my baby (dwarf) variety did not need to be fertilized.

Harvesting – Plants can be harvested when they have reached the proper size. You can either cut the whole plant at the base or pull it out. You can also cut the outside leaves before it is fully mature and it will keep growing.

IMG_2355

The plant is bolting (going to seed) when the stems start to stretch tall and form little yellow flowers. The flowers are edible in salads. Unlike lettuce that tastes bitter when it starts to bolt, bok choy does not- provided you don’t wait too long to harvest it. It’s just not as pretty to serve and the stem can be slightly tough. You may want to discard the stem at that point.

Wash leaves, sit it in water to hydrate and then store in the refrigerator.

Pests – I did not encounter too many pests other than flea beetles that chew tiny little holes in the leaves. They are still edible, it just doesn’t look as pretty.

Slugs and cabbage worms are also said to be a problem.

Bok Choy can be susceptible to mildew and rot.

bok choy

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