Pak choi is a crispy and popular stir fry vegetable, but can be used in salads or eaten as a side with meat dishes just like kale or chard. Pak choi is one of the fastest veggie to grow and you can sow seeds right now in August. Fresh leaves will be ready to harvest in about 30 days and after 50 – 70 days the whole plants will be ready to pull. You can sow the seeds as late as September as pak choi likes cooler weather. Pak choi is easy and fast to grow which makes it an ideal container veg. The white stemmed F1 variety is quite resistant to bolting so better if you grow them in full sun, and the red leaved variety gives an interesting colour to your meal.
You can sow the seeds in moduls to plant out later, or you can direct sow the pak choi seeds into containers, raised beds or direct in the soil. The seeds are small, like any other brassica seeds like cabbage or broccoli seeds. Cover them lightly with sieved compost. Choose a shady spot in your garden or plot if you can as pak choi doesn’t like strong sunshine, and who knows we may have some later in August – September. If you have a polytunnel or greenhouse you could sow as late as October. The temperature should be enough inside for the pack choi to grow and you would be able to harvest in December – January. An extra protection of garden fleece might be necessary in the winter but I have harvested this great veg successfully outside without any protection in December.
If you sow the seeds in moduls, transplant the seedlings when about 10 cm tall. Leave 20 – 25 cm between the plants if you want full grown pack choi. If you planted the seeds direct thin the seedlings out as necessary. The good thing is that you can eat them as a micro vegetable, so nothing is wasted. Water the plants well as if they dry out, they can bolt easily. Watch out for slugs of course as they love pak choi, I know this year they eat everything; and for flee beetles. I found that later sowings are not affected by the beetle but they sometimes ruined my April sowing completely.
Pack choi is best freshly picked straight from the plot, so make sure you cook them as soon as possible and don’t store them in the fridge unless you really have to. So go on and sow some seeds, it is never too late!