Mark, the vegetable-growing husband here, comments that we have been a bit slow to wise up to the fact that the Chinese know a great deal about food production and we should have been looking to their crops a long time ago. Bok Choy, also known as Pak Choi, is a case in point. In the world of leafy greens, it is a great deal faster and easier to grow than the likes of spinach. It can also be grown throughout most of the year and deserves to be a staple crop, though you are best to avoid sowing in mid summer when it is more likely to get stressed and bolt to seed rather than to leaf. It is so easy to grow from seed that there is not a lot of point in buying baby plants.
Sow into the usual vegetable garden conditions – full sun and well cultivated soil with plenty of compost or humus added. Water if it gets too dry. Within a few weeks, the seeds will have germinated and you can start thinning the row and eating those baby thinnings as micro greens, raw in salads or lightly cooked in stirfries. Bok choy only takes about six weeks to reach maturity so you can be harvesting for as much as four weeks of that time, at various stages of growth. As with many crops, sowing a few seed every three weeks ensures a steady supply but it really comes into its own as a winter green when the more common crops basically stop growing and fresh veg are expensive to buy. There is a lot to be said for a quick maturing green vegetable which grows all year round and is not silver beet.
First published in the Waikato Times and reproduced here with their permission.