Posted by Wayne Robinson
Pak Choi

Pak Choi also known as Bok Choi, is a close relative to Chinese Cabbage, which looks like a squat chard with wide white or pale green chucky stalk and glossy green leaves growing from a centre to form an erect clump of leaves.

Very popular in far eastern dishes and best used raw in salads or lightly seared in stir-fries, making use of all parts leaves, stem and flowering shoots.

How, Where & When

Although Pak Choi is cool season crop, it can be grown during the summer months as long as shade and a layer of mulch around the plants is provided. In a constraint garden situation, these plants can be grown in small pots and containers. Early spring sow seeds under cover 1cm deep in seed or module trays. Seeds do not take long to germinate, 5 to 7 days and soon ready to thin out. Thin out to one per module.

Distance

Direct sown or planting out at 10cm between plants for small pickings or 15cm for larger plants.

Regular Care

Protect early outdoor sowing with horticultural fleece and set beer traps for slug pest control. Set up fine netting to protect plants against flee beetle attack which leave nibbled holes on leaves.

Harvest

As baby-leaf c.30 days from sowing, and when plants are semi-mature and stand 15cm tall with a small heart of leaves formed in the centre. Harvest a few leaves at a time or cut with sharp knife at base of plant.

Nutrition

With vitamin C, carotenoids, manganese, and zinc, pak choi provides us not only with core antioxidants, but goes beyond this to a wide range of other phytonutrient antioxidants, like quercetin, kaempferol, and isorhamnetin.

Culinary

Pak Choi is a versatile veg…it can be eaten raw as a baby-leaf in salads, either sliced or kept whole and steamed, or more traditionally stir-fried such as Teriyaki salmon with sesame Pak Choi.