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A Guide to growing bok choy or pak choi in containers

Written by Nicola Wallis

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Posted on 14 June 2022

The standard Pak Choi (sometimes known as Bok Choy) is juicy, crisp, and fast maturing. It has a good, strong flavour, good resistance to bolting and fast growth and is a welcome green leaf in any winter kitchen garden. The green-stemmed cultivars tend to have a better flavour than white-stemmed varieties. It is a vegetable which can be eaten raw, stir fried or lightly steamed. In Asian cuisine it is generally served with soy sauce. 

Does pak choi grow well in containers?

As it is shallow-rooting Pak Choi is ideal for container growing.  Choose acontainer for planting your pak choi that is at least 8 to 10 inches wide which has

sufficient drainage holes to prevent soil becoming waterlogged.  Pak Choi can be grown inside, on a patio or balcony in either Vigoroot or Vegetable Planters.

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

When is the best time of year to plant pak choi?

You can grow pak choi either in Spring or in Autumn.  It is best sown before or after the hottest part of the year, either around April, as soon as you have passed the last frost date for your area or in late summer, early autumn 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.

So, sow pak choi seeds 1 1/2cm (1/2”) deep in your bed or the centre of your container. 

Whether growing pak choi in containers or outside it is best to sow seeds at regular intervals throughout the season to avoid a glut.   Start this sowing 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.

Water well to settle the soil around the seeds.

What aftercare does pak choi planting require?

Pak choi has shallow roots and so only 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. 

How do you harvest and store pak choi?

A 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.

Is pak choi susceptible to pest and diseases?

Pak Choi is susceptible to all brassica growing problems including 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!

Whether you call it pak choi or bok choy we hope you enjoy growing it1 do let us know how you get on.

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