By Kathleen Mierzejewski
Bok choy (Brassica rapa) is also called Chinese cabbage. This Chinese vegetable is a cool weather vegetable. They do not do well during the heat of summer and, therefore, they do best in the spring and fall. Read on to learn more about proper bok choy care.
Growing bok choy is done from seed. Planting bok choy can be done by directly seeding the garden soil or by starting plants indoors until the weather is right for transplanting later. Either way, when planting bok choy, germination occurs within seven to ten days.
How to Grow Bok Choy
Many people wonder how to grow bok choy. As said earlier, growing bok choy is done best in cool weather. You can get two crops a year, in the spring and in the fall. If you are planting bok choy indoors, you want to start it before the last frost and then transplant your growing bok choy two weeks later. Because bok choy is a cold weather vegetable, it can withstand cooler temperatures, so you could always start them directly in the ground at this point as well.
Although you will be planting bok choy early in the season, you can start a second crop in late summer to be ready late fall. They only take 45-50 days to maturity, so this is easily done.
I have found that bok choy care is not really very tedious. Growing bok choy requires rich, loose soil. You should fertilize your bok choy early after planting. Once your seedlings are about four inches tall, you will want to thin your growing bok choy to six to ten inches apart. If you have more than one row, place the rows 18 to 30 inches apart. You should keep your garden well weeded so the weeds don’t take away the nutrients from your bok choy plants.
When to Harvest Bok Choy
When you harvest bok choy, be sure to do it before the hot weather sets in with your first crop. Hot weather tends to make the bok choy go into seed very quickly. These are the first plants in the garden each spring because they can survive temperatures below 30 degrees F. Because you will be planting bok choy early, you will be harvesting it early as well.
Bok choy is a non-heading cabbage. It grows close together with leaves and stalks much like celery. You will want to harvest bok choy when it reaches twelve to eighteen inches tall. This vegetable is great in soups, salads and stir-fries. It is very fresh, crisp and versatile. Now that you know how to go about planting your bok choy, enjoy!