Bok Choy: How to Grow This Easy, Crispy Green Vegetable

bok choiVirtues: We love bok choy for its large, lush, deep green leaves that rest on top of creamy white stalks; these leafy veggies are full of mild flavor, perfect for stir-fry.

Common name: Bok choy; bok choi; pak choy

Botanical name: Brassica rapa var. chinensis

Flowers: In a process often referred to as “bolting,” bok choy can produce delicate yellow flowers, usually during spikes of warmer weather. Many growers of bok choy try to avoid bolting by harvesting before this process occurs, to avoid any chances of the edible plant turning bitter. Some actually prefer the sweet taste of the flowers, and will add them into dishes like salads.

Foliage: Long, ovate, dark green leaves flare out from crisp, white stalks; this entire plant, from the thick stalks to the large, ellipsoid leaves are full of light flavor that complement recipes, whether cooked or prepared raw.

Habit: With a rounded habit, bok choy can reach a height between 1 to 2 feet, with a similar spread.

Season: Depending on climate, these tasty veggies can bring bursts of flavor through any season; in most areas they are usually grown in early spring or late fall because they prefer cool weather.

Origin: China

How to grow bok choy: These fast-growing plants  thrive in cool weather and typically should be planted in early spring or late fall, in fertile, rich, well-drained soil. Harvest in cooler weather, to avoid wilting; warm weather can cause the plant to rot, or unwanted bolting. Thrives in full sun to part shade.

Image: Jeremy Keith
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