Canton or Dwarf Bok Choy is short and squat and often known as Baby or Squat Pak Choi, with a dwarf compact habit producing short, broad, thick, pure white petioles and dark green, glossy, slightly savoyed leaves. Good heat tolerance with sowing from late spring.
This fast growing vegetable can be harvested at any growth stage, for eating as 'baby leaf, or left to mature to thick succulent white stems. It is a non-heading variety that produces clusters of 8 to 12 crisp white stalks with large nearly round smooth glossy green leaves.
Dense planting and high yield can be obtained. Seedlings picked in the thinning plants during growth are good for cooking too. This easy to grow vegetable, suitable for spring to late autumn crops, is a very good variety for home garden and fresh market growing. It is tender and delicious, good for stir-fry and soup.
Pak Choi grows best in a sunny position in a fertile soil. It can be sown directly into open ground or can be planted into grow bags. If grown for babyleaf it can be sown into small containers or even windowboxes.
Sowing: Can be grown all year
Pak choi is a cool-season crop typically grown in autumn and early winter, though in warmer climates harvest can continue well into winter. It will germinate at temperatures between 13 to 24°C (55 to 70°F).
These green stemmed varieties withstand adverse conditions than white stemmed forms. Some protection is required for winter harvesting. Phasing the sowing will extend the cropping period.
Sow thinly, direct into finely raked, moist, weed free soil 6mm (0.25in) deep in rows 30cm (12in) apart. Thin the resulting seedlings, leaving the strongest, by degrees to a final spacing of 20cm (8in) apart.
It is important to water well in dry weather and to keep well weeded. Provide a weak liquid feed once a week.
It needs to be grown quickly and the roots must be kept moist. Checks to growth, brought on by overcrowding or drought, will cause plants to bolt. They are snail magnets, so plants need protection in the open garden.
Plants reach a stage for ’baby leaf’ harvest in 28 days and mature plants take around 50 days. Chop off enough of the base of the bok choy plant before washing so that stalks can be cleaned individually.
Pak choi generally keeps well and will stay fresh for more than a week, but should be used in four to five days for best flavour.
Pak choi stalks can be consumed raw, or cooked. It has a high water content and becomes limp very quickly so should be cooked very quickly over high temperature so that the leaves become tender and the stalks stay crisp.
In Chinese stir-fried dishes and soups, it is added toward the end of the cooking process. Since the leaves cook much more quickly than the stalks, it’s a good idea to add the stalks first and then the leaves about a minute later. Cut the stalks into 1/2-inch (1.25cm) pieces before cooking.
- Additional Information
Seed Form Natural Seeds per gram 500 Seeds seeds per gram Common Name Baby Bok Choi, Pak Choy,
Spoon cabbage, Taisai, Chinese mustard.
Other Common Names Oriental Brassica, Celery mustard Family Brassicaceae Genus rapa var. chinensis Species Taiteki, Dwarf White Stem Hardiness Hardy Biennial Height 25 to 30cm (10 to 12in). Spread 30cm (12in). Position Full sun in moist fertile soil. Time to Sow Can be sown all year round. Germination 6 to 10 days at 13 to 24°C (55 to 70°F) Harvest Cut and Come again variety Time to Harvest Harvest in three to four weeks Coverage Baby leaf - 28 days. Mature plants - 30 to 45 days