Bok Choy Benefits in the Garden
Unlike your traditional red or green cabbage that forms big heads and is used in soups and salads, an uncommon and different type of cabbage is Bok Choy. Also, known as Pak Choy or Pok Choy depending on what area of the world it is being grown. Bok Choy falls under the Chinese cabbage category but does not taste like regular cabbage. This type of crop is also categorized under cruciferous vegetable meaning that it provides many valuable nutrients. Bok Choy provides many nutrients such as vitamin C, protein, calcium, iron, dietary fiber, etc. Like most other vegetables it ensures a good source of fiber. This crop tastes more like a mustard green but with a milder flavor profile. The texture is a little crisp but much more tender than regular white and red cabbage. With crops like mustard, turnips, or collards we usually remove the stem before cooking them because the stem is tough and not palatable. However, with this type of cabbage variety, you can eat the whole plant. The white stems on the plant are tender and great to use for cooking. Bok Choy can be eaten in many different ways such as salads, coleslaw, soups, stir-fried, grilled, or as a garnish. To fill your garden with a variety of nutrient and fibrous plants try growing Bok Choy in the next early spring and fall season.
Growing Bok Choy
On this week’s episode, Travis talks all about growing Bok Choy in the vegetable garden. As for growing Bok Choy, they can be grown two different ways in the vegetable garden. You can harvest them as baby greens or let them continue to grow to full size. When growing the baby greens they should be direct-seeded really densely on a bed that’s around two or two and a half foot wide. Once the leaves start to form then the leaves are simply cut off to harvest. This type of crop allows for a continuous harvest all throughout the growing season. If you prefer to grow the full-size florets they need a little bit more space in the garden area. Travis likes to transplant these in the seed starting trays. The seed starting trays have a verticle root training ribs that help with aeration and root ball draining of plant roots. We prefer to transplant seeds because we can get a jumpstart on the growing season and it improves the production of healthier plants for the vegetable garden. When transplanting them in the trays they only take about 3 to 4 weeks to emerge and be ready to go in the ground. Once the transplants are placed in the garden we put them on a double row with drip irrigation buried in the middle. The drip tape should be used to accurately apply water and nutrients directly to the plant roots. Placing the plants about 8 inches apart along the row will allow for plenty of room to grow. Bok Choy tends to grow quickly and only takes 50 days to mature in the vegetable garden. The Bok Choy that we grow is Joi Choi which is a hybrid variety with an excellent mild flavor and great production. Producing 10 to 14 stalks per plant and each stalk reaching 8 to 10 inches long. If you are looking to grow a different type of green that is easy to grow and cold hardy, the Boy Choy is a great choice for the vegetable garden. Compared to other greens, it is heat-tolerant and slow to bolt in the spring season with warmer temperatures.