Monthly Archives: December 2019

  • Grow at Home - Pak Choi

    Pak_Choi_cut_on_white_Background

    The standard Pak Choi (sometimes known as Bok Choy) is juicy, crisp and fast-maturing with a really good, strong flavour, good resistance to bolting and fast growth.  A welcome green leaf in any winter kitchen garden.

    The green-stemmed cultivars tend to have a better flavour than white-stemmed varieties.  They can  also be eaten raw, stir fried or lightly steamed and served with soy sauce.

    Soil and Aspect

    Grow Pak Choi in full sun or part shade in well-drained but moisture retentive soil rich in organic matter. Add  compost to  beds before planting and mulch with compost again at mid season to help with moisture retention.

    As it is shallow-rooting Pak Choi is ideal for container growing - try growing on a patio or balcony in Vigoroot or Patio Planters 

    Sowing Pak Choi

    Pak choi is a versatile plant that can be cultivated as a cut-and-come-again crop - ready to harvest in as little as 30 days - or harvested as a mature plant.

    It is best sown before or after the hottest part of the year, either around April, just after the last frost date in your area or in August for a late-season crop.

    Cut and come again seedlings can be sown any time from April if you use bolt-resistant varieties and offer some shade in the hottest weather -  Easy Net Tunnels will help reduce bolting.

    Sow seeds in situ as soon as the soil is workable (early crops should be sown under cloches) and continue sowing until late summer.

    Space 15cm apart for small varieties, 20cm apart for medium-size and 35cm apart for large.

    Aftercare

    Pak choi has shallow roots so needs watering little and often in dry spells rather than drenching.

    A nitrogen rich liquid feed will help produce a bumper crop and shade from Easy Net Tunnels will prevent bolting.

    Harvesting and storage

    Pak_Choi_flowersA Cut and come again crop can be harvested at any stage from 4-13cm high.

    Depending on conditions, this could be within three weeks of sowing and two or three cuts should be possible. A headed crop (ready after around six weeks) can be lifted entirely.  Alternatively, you can cut 2.5cm above ground level and leave to re-sprout.

    Less likely to go limp than lettuce, Pak Choi is best kept cool and eaten within a week.

    Pest and Diseases

    Pak Choi is susceptible to all of the brassica problems.  Flea beetle, aphids, cabbage whitefly, caterpillars, root fly, slugs, snails and birds.

    But don't be put off!  As it is so fast growing, it is perfectly possible to avoid most issues with some protective netting and regular watering. This will keep the plants in top condition.

    Companion planting with Onions or Garlic can be very effective.  A row of sacrificial radishes is also good to draw the flee beetle away!

  • Winter Plant Protection - introducing the Green Fern Fleece

    Good morning Gardeners! Are you wrapping up to go outside today? Coat, scarf, gloves, woolly hat perhaps? Well, if so, then spare a thought for your more vulnerable plants that might need something to keep the cold, damp and frostbite at bay.

    Fleece is the perfect answer.  And until now, unless you want to bandage your plants in unruly loose fleece, the Haxnicks Easy Fleece Jacket has been the only solution. This year we have added a new product to the range though.  The Green Fern Easy Fleece Jacket.  So if your plant is somewhere where you will see it, and you prefer it to look more leafy then you now have a choice.

    Both versions are a very effective way to look after larger tender or exotic plants.  In 3 sizes, small, medium & large they work for hanging baskets, and problem plants such as acers or tree ferns.  Simply slip them over the top of your plant and tighten the draw string.  If its going to be very cold then you can double or even triple them up by just adding another fleece on top.  Then if you have a mild day you can loosen the drawstring and take them off.  Exactly as you would with your own jacket when the temperature rises.

    Haxnicks small Fleece Jackets for Winter Plant ProtectionWe often receive questions about looking after container grown plants in the winter.  One of the most common being cordyline palms. I would suggest gathering all the leaves together and holding them in an upright position with some string or Soft-tie. When it is really cold though, an Easy Fleece Jacket or Green Fern Easy Fleece Jacket (or two) should help to protect the foliage.  Importantly it will stop the frost getting to the growing point of the palm. Do make sure to remove the jackets when the weather is warmer to avoid rotting though.

    If you have smaller plants in beds, or rows of veg on the go, then the Extra thick Fleece blanket is another way to protect your plants.  Simply secure with fabric pegs to keep the cold out.  Or for individual plants then Victorian Bell cloches will keep out the cold.  Watch renowned horticulturist and BBC broadcaster, Pippa Greenwood explain how Haxnicks Bells can help.

     

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