Bok Choy

Bok Choy or pak choy is also known as Chinese cabbage; however, it’s being given its own separate page because the process of and requirements for grow- ing it are different from other forms of cabbage.

(And, not to be confusing, but Napa cabbage is also called Chinese cabbage.)


Benefits and nutritional information:

  • Bok choy contains over 70 antioxidant substances and has been included in many studies to understand how antioxidants reduce the risk of cancer. It was used in traditional Chinese medicine.
  • It is a good source of Vitamin C, Omega-3, fiber, calcium and folate.


  • Bok choy is started from seeds. If starting indoors it is recommended using containers at least 8 to 10 inches deep. Plant seeds 1/4” deep. Germinate in 7 to 10 days. Ready to transplant when about 2” high.

When to plant:

  • Seedlings can be transplanted into the garden when nighttime soil temperatures are holding above 50 degrees.
  • Bok choy is a cool season vegetable, thriving in temperatures between 55 and 70 degrees. Since they tend to bolt in warmer temperatures, it’s best to plant them so they mature (45 to 70 days after germination, depending on the variety) either before warm weather or afterwards — to produce a fall crop.

Thinning, training

  • Seedlings should be planted 3 to 5 inches apart.

Signs of over-watering, nutrient deficiency

  • Slow growth or pale leaves may be a sign of nitrogen deficiency. A shot of high-nitrogen liquid fertilizer can fix this quickly.
  • Plants, especially when young, can rot when soil is too wet.

Pests and pest controls

  • Seedlings and young plants can have their stems at the soil line attacked by the fungus disease damping off.
  • Insect pests include aphids, cabbage loopers, and flea beetles
  • Leaves can be infested with downy mildew which coats the leaves with a white, powdery layer. Left untreated this can quickly decimate a crop.


  • Different varieties of bok choy are ready to harvest at their particular heights.  They vary in height from 6 to 18 inches.
  • Some gardeners choose to harvest a few leaves at a time in order to extend the productive life of an individual bok choy plant.
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