Bok Choy, the Chinese cabbage, is a member of the Asian green family. Literally (from Cantonese), it means ‘white vegetable’, and is also spelled Bok Choi, Pak Choi, and Pak Choy.
These quick and easy to grow vegetables can be grown all year round in gardens throughout the country.
There are many varieties, but the most common in New Zealand is the white bok choy, which has a thick white, succulent stem with smooth, round and dark green leaves.
When, where and how to plant:
Sow direct or purchase seedlings from a garden centre.
Grow in a raised bed. Dig in plenty of organic matter and dress the soil lightly with lime. Space plants 20-30cm apart. Soil needs to be well dug over prior to planting.
Plant in full sun for maximum flavour and growth. Plants will grow in shady areas but can become leggy and bitter when they don’t get enough sunlight.
In very cold areas avoid planting in mid winter. Keep well watered through the dry periods.
Once planted, protect from slugs and snails.
Bok Choy can mature in as little as six weeks Harvest once plants are big enough. In some cases you can trim the plant 5 cms above the base and more heads will grow.
How to use:
The stems are crisp and juicy and the leaves are a bit like cabbage or silver beet.
All types of bok choy are suitable for quick cooking methods such as steaming and stir-frying. Use in the same way as you would cabbage or spinach.
Bok choy is a good source of Vitamin A. Its over-consumption may cause milder symptoms, such as nausea, dizziness and indigestion in people with weaker digestive systems.