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Bok choy, pak choy, pak choi, pok choy - however you spell it, it makes a great stir fry! This non-heading Chinese cabbage grows in a beautiful vase-shaped rosette, with juicy and crunchy white stems and slightly peppery, glossy green leaves. There could hardly be an easier vegetable to grow. It matures quickly, is slow to bolt in hot weather, and cold-hardy too. It can be used raw, but is more often eaten cooked, benefitting from a sear and just a few minutes in the pan to soften the stems. Also makes great kimchi.
Bok choi is a great crop to direct-sow in the garden in late summer for fall greens. It can also be started indoors in spring, four weeks before your final frost date. Only plant out spring crops after all danger of cold weather has passed, as plants can be triggered to bolt (go to seed) when exposed to temperatures below 50 degrees F for an extended period. Bok choy prefers full sun and well-drained soil. It takes about 45 days to reach full size (about 12” tall and wide), but can be harvested earlier as baby greens if desired.
|Avg. Seeds / Packet||Packet Weight||Planting Season||Planting Method|
|765||1.5 g||spring or fall|
transplant for spring,
direct sow for fall
|Seed Depth||Direct Seed Spacing||Soil Temp. Range||Days to Sprout|
|Mature Spacing||Sun Requirement||Frost Tolerance||Days to harvest|
Greens come in different varieties ranging in color, texture, and shape of leaves. These varying types of greens come from different regions of the world, including Asia, Africa, and the Southeastern US. Most greens grow best in moist, rich soil. To prepare the soil for planting, spread compost over the planting area, about 3” thick. Carefully turn the compost into the ground with a digging fork, loosening the soil.
With a few exceptions like molokhia, amaranth, and summer spinach, all other varieties of greens (sold by Sow True Seed) thrive in cooler temperatures and do not grow well in summer. Aim to start seeds about four weeks before the last frost. Fall plantings can tolerate frost, which actually contributes to a sweeter flavor to the greens.
Plant seeds just under the soil, about a half an inch apart. Once the seedlings sprout and grow their first leaves, thin them to about 8-12” apart. Your baby greens are delicious, eat your thinnings!
Keep soil moist as they grow, at least an inch of water per week. Greens can be eaten at any stage, for cut and come again harvesting, pull a few leaves at a time from the outside of your plants and allow the main plants to continue to grow. When the plants are fully mature, you should cut the whole head at the base with a sharp knife.
Your spring plantings will likely get bitter and/or bolt in the heat of summer, so harvest before that time and use the garden space for something else.
Pollination, insect; Life Cycle, annual; Isolation Distance, ½ mile
Pak Choi will not cross with other Brassicae besides Brassica rapa. The seed pods mature from the bottom upwards and shatter easily, so it's best to cut the whole plant just before maturity and hand to dry in a cool, dry place. When whole plant is crispy-dry, thresh the seeds and winnow to clean.