Bok Choy 'Pechay'
Scientific Name: Brassica rapa subsp. chinensis
Common Name: Bok Choy 'Pechay'
Family: Brassicaceae (Mustard & Cabbage)
Brassica: Cabbage; Latin
chinensis: From China
Bok Choy varieties were first cultivated in China during the 15th Century.
Bok Choy 'Pechay' is a loose leaf variety of Asian leaf vegetable. It is fast growing and resistant to bolting. Plants are small but produce broad leaves with a white stem.
Can be steamed and eaten as a green vegetable or added to stir fries. Harvest only a few leaves at a time from each plant but pick regularly to encourage new growth.
Sow seed 6mm deep directly where they are to grow. Space plants 25cm apart. Sow from April to August in the tropics, March to September in the subtropics, September to March in temperate regions and from September to November in cold regions. Bok Choy seeds take between 7 and 10 days to germinate.
Takes 8 to 9 weeks from the time the seeds are sown until harvest. Resistant to mild frosts. Requires a rich soil and regular watering. Heavy feeder. Leaves will be very bitter if growth is slow so add lots of manure to the soil to get them growing fast. Bok Choy prefers a soil pH between 6 and 7.5, add garden lime if soil is acidic.
Young pechay bok choy plants, you can tell these ones are organic as they've been nibbled at by hungry grasshoppers (which despite their name always seem to prefer eating your vegetables over actual grass). If you have a lot of bok choy plants planted you can begin harvesting them at this stage as baby bok choy, they'll be really tender and less bitter than fully developed plants.
Healthy Bok Choy 'Pechay' plants, ready to harvest.
Bok Choy starting to go to flower. Beneficial insects such as bees and hover-flies are attracted to Bok Choy flowers, old plants when they become too bitter to eat can be left as a source of nectar for these beneficial insects.