Pak Choi (also called bok choy) is a mild flavoured Oriental vegetable in the same family as Chinese cabbage, Tatsoi and Wong Bok which are all grown the same way. Pak Choi can be eaten raw, stir fried or lightly steamed and served with soy sauce.
Where to grow
Grow Pak Choi in full sun in cool regions and in partial shade in warm regions. Plant in well-worked, well-drained but moisture retentive soil rich in organic matter. Add aged compost to planting beds before planting and side dress crops with compost again at mid season.
When to grow
Pak Choi is a cool-weather plant which will bolt and go to seed quickly in warm weather and long days; grow pak choi in Spring or Autumn in temperatures ranging from 45° to 75°F. Sow seed 4 to 6 weeks before the average date of the last frost in spring. In mild winter regions, plant Chinese cabbage in late summer or autumn for a late autumn harvest.
Seedlings started indoors can be planted outside after danger of severe frost has passed.
From trays or modules harden off and plant out under fleece.
Make a hole with a dibber or suitable stick approx 9in apart (A piece of an old broom handle is ideal).
Place the seedling plug in the hole and firm gently around the roots, water well.
Keep plants cool when the weather warms; do not let Chinese cabbage sit in direct sun for more than 8 hours each day.
Pests and diseases
Chinese cabbage can be attacked by flea beetles, aphids, and cabbage worms. Aphids can be hand picked or hosed off.
Chinese cabbage is susceptible to yellow virus, clubroot, and black rot. Plant disease resistant varieties. Avoid handling plants when wet. Remove and destroy infected plants.
Cut whole heads at soil level when they are compact and firm and before seed stalks form usually 50 to 80 after sowing. Complete the harvest before the arrival of freezing weather. If the first fall frost arrives before heads form, Chinese cabbage can still be harvested for greens.
Chinese cabbage will keep in the vegetable compartment of the refrigerator for about 4 weeks. Chinese cabbage can be blanched and frozen for 3 to 4 months.