How to Grow Bok Choy from Seed to Harvest: Check How this Guide Helps Beginners

Bok Choy, also known as Pak Choi, is grown directly from seeds sown in the ground or transplants. Bok Choy is closely related to Chinese cabbage but is much less sensitive to heat and cold. Baby Bok Choy varieties are only about 6 inches long, while other types are up to 2 feet long. Growing Bok Choy is a great way to extend the gardening season. As a cold-weather crop, planting Bok Choy in late summer allows gardeners to use garden space freed up when the first crops are harvested for the year. 

How to Grow Bok Choy from Seed to Harvest
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How to grow Bok Choy from seed to harvest

How long does it take to grow Bok Choy from seed?

  • Bok Choy is a fairly fast-growing vegetable usually planted from seeds, either directly in the garden immediately after the risk of frost or indoors about four weeks before the last frost. 
  • Most varieties mature about 4 to 5 weeks after transplantation, though it is not uncommon to harvest before that. Harvest by cutting the entire head from the soil and trimming old, dead leaves. 
  • Baby varieties are ready in about 30 days, and larger varieties are ready four to six weeks after sowing.
  • Bok Choy takes five weeks to reach maturity, so you can enjoy it relatively fast after planting your leafy greens. Harvest Bok Choy before the hot season begins because warm weather will quickly take the Bok Choy to the seed. The Bok Choy is ready to harvest when it is 12 to 18 inches long.

What is the best month to plant Bok Choy?

  • Bok Choy tends to bolt after the arrival of hot summer temperatures; plant it in early spring, close to the date of the last frost in your region. You can either sow Bok Choy seeds directly or transplant seedlings. Bok Choy can be grown in gardens or containers. 
  • Whether grown from seeds or nursery seedlings, the vegetable is fast-growing and is planted in early spring for a spring-to-early-summer harvest or in late summer and early fall for a mid-to late-fall harvest. You can make succession every two weeks for a longer crop duration. 
  • You should sow Bok Choy seed outdoors one to two weeks after the last frost date. You should plant in rich, loose soil. You must plant Bok Choy seeds 1/2 inch deep and 1 inch apart. If growing for a fall crop, start your Bok Choy in late summer.
  • Bok Choy can also be planted in late summer to early autumn when temperatures cool. If you start them at the end of summer, be aware that they will need extra care. Keep the soil moist and provide shade at the hottest time of the day.

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Bok Choy Market
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Does Bok Choy come back every year?

  • Bok Choy is a biennial plant, but it is grown only as an annual. You pick it up for a year while harvesting the leaves and eating them. After a year, when winter arrives, you can save cuttings or start indoors for the next season. Bok Choy can grow in winter and work best from fall to spring. 
  • It thrives in places with temperatures between 13°C to 21°C in cold weather. If the soil is moist enough, it doesn’t mind the odd light frost and can tolerate slightly higher temperatures.

Does Bok Choy grow back after cutting?

  • You can cut about one-third to one-half of the plant at a time, harvesting the outer leaves. New leaves will start growing right away. 
  • Cutting an entire head of vases like greens is satisfying, but if you can resist, Bok Choy makes for a great cut-and-come-again option. Cut off the whole head within the first year of development. Like chicory, you can still get another head if you leave a few leaves on the stem. 
  • After that, keep the potting soil moist but do not soak it. Your new Bok Choy plant should be large enough to use in two to three months, or maybe a little longer. 

What can you not plant next to Bok Choy?

You should not plant Bok Choy near Broccoli, Brussels Sprouts, Cauliflower, Cabbage, Dill, Strawberries, or Tomatoes. Many of these crops will attract pests the same way as Bok Choy and can cause problems with harmful pests that control your garden. The growth of other crops like Tomatoes may stop. 

How far apart should you plant Bok Choy?

  • When they are two inches long, you should thin one out of every three to five inches for the dwarf cultivar and six to twelve inches for larger varieties. Allow 18 to 30 inches between the outer rows, making it easier to walk between them for tasks such as fertilizing, harvesting, watering, and weeds.  
  • Sow Bok Choy in the spring and late summer, and harvest in the fall. Sow in double rows, space 10 inches with rows. Plant seeds at a distance of 2 inches and barely cover them with soil. 
  • If seeded directly in the garden, plant Bok Choy seeds 1/4 to 1/2 inch deep, 2 inches apart. As the plants grow, you’ll want to thin them to a distance of 6 to 10 inches. 

How cold can Bok Choy tolerate?

  • As a biennial, Bok Choy is extremely at risk of bolting. This occurs when temperatures rise after exposure to frost or extended temperatures below 10°C. Bok Choy can withstand light frost, but exposure to cold temperatures in the spring can trigger early bolting. Exposure to a lighter frost in the fall can improve the taste of Bok Choy.
  • Bok Choy is a biennial plant it thrives in temperatures between 13°C to 21°C in cold weather. It does not object to strange light frosts and can tolerate slightly higher temperatures if the soil is moist enough.

How big should Bok Choy seedlings be before transplanting?

  • You will need to plant only after careful consideration of time. In general, you’ll aim to start seeds so plants can go to the ground or in containers when they’re about two to three inches tall.
  • Plant the transplant at a distance of 6 inches for baby types and 12 inches for full-size types, leaving 18 to 30 inches between rows. Wait until all the risk of frost passes before moving the transplant out in the spring, as Bok Choy is likely to bolt in cold temperatures. Move the transplant outdoors in mid-summer for autumn crops.

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Bok Choy Leaves
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What fertilizer does Bok Choy need?

  • Bok Choy is a heavy feeder. It needs rich soil with lots of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. Be sure to add enough fertilizer and some organic fertilizer to the ground when planting. This fertilizer immediately provides larger, better Bok Choy. You can apply it with the garden feeder every two weeks. The best part is that it’s not just for vegetables.
  • You should plant Bok Choy in soil that has recently been fertilized. A heavy feeder requires nitrogen for leaf growth, phosphorus, and potassium. It is better to include fertilizer in the form of compost or composted chicken manure or at the time of planting instead of its full growth.

How many times can you harvest Bok Choy?

  • If you want to eat it as a gentle baby Bok Choy, cut it around 30 or 35 days after growing or when it’s six to 10 inches long. If you’re not interested in harvesting an entire head at the same time, you can pick up several leaves at a time during the growing season, leaving others behind and growing up. 
  • The harvesting of Bok Choy is along throughout the season. For a steady supply of the plant, sow seeds every two weeks until the scorching summer heat arrives. The row cover will help provide some shelter from the scorching sun, and the crop may grow. 

Does Bok Choy need full sun?

  • Bok Choy can handle the full sun but grows best in partial shade, where it receives three to five hours of sunlight a day. Bok Choy will need consistent water, especially when growing in the fall when temperatures are slightly higher.  

Why are my Bok Choy growing flowers?

  • Excess or underwater can cause Bok Choy bolting. Your soil should be well-drained, your plants should get about an inch of water each week, and the soil should remain damp between the water. Successive plantings are rarely effective as a way to prevent bolting Bok Choy. 
  • You can also eat Bok Choy after its flowers, but the leaves will quickly become more bitter and hard as it matures, making it less appealing for the kitchen. You should harvest your Bok Choy after starting bolting, the less bitter it tastes.
  • It is important to note that Bok Choy flowers can be eaten when they are still mostly in their narrow green buds and are still emerging. One of the easiest answers to prevent bolting in Bok Choy is to grow it in a cold frame where you have more control over temperature. 

Can you grow Bok Choy in containers?

  • It is possible to grow this cold-weather vegetable, also known as Pak Choi, in a container. However, the benefits of transplanting or direct seeding Bok Choy don’t just stop with space savings. You’ll need a pot at least eight to ten inches in diameter per plant and at least six inches deep for dwarf varieties, or eight to ten inches deep if you’re planning to grow the standard cultivar to maturity. 
  • Bok Choy is a good-sized plant. To grow potted Bok Choy, start with a pot with a depth of about 20 inches and a width of at least 12 inches to grow a plant.  
  • Bok Choy is the best plant to grow in containers if you have limited space. It doesn’t need a pot with more depth, just width. You should plant only one mature seedling per pot as they tend to fan out. 

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Bok Choy Plant
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Can I plant Bok Choy in winter?

  • Bok Choy grows well anywhere in the country, but keep in mind that they are the best-growing cold-weather vegetables from autumn to early spring. Avoid the summer heat, as plants can bolt into flowers and seeds.
  • Whether growing from seeds or nursery seedlings, this vegetable is planted for harvest from late winter to late spring or in the autumn before mid to pre-fall for fall gatherings.

Why are there holes in my Bok Choy?

  • Your Bok Choy leaves have holes because a pest uses them as a food source. Most likely, the culprits are caterpillars, slugs, or snails. The most common insects that eat Bok Choy leaves are flea beetles, cabbage loopers, aphids, slugs, weevers, and cabbageworm larvae.
  • The holes in the Bok choi indicated a chewing pest. Close examination of the Bok choi plants revealed that small beetle larvae were hidden at the base of the leaves in the plant’s crown. These are larvae of vegetable weevils, a beetle that feeds numerous vegetable crops and weeds.
  • Many of these insects can be combatted with row cover and crop rotation. Another useful method is to grow Bok Choy as a fall crop when the pests have passed through their natural growing season life cycle. This is especially effective when compared to vegetable weevils. Use pesticides if natural methods fail. 

Does Bok Choy like coffee grounds?

Mixing coffee grounds into the soil before starting helps control slugs and snails. Basil, Bok Choy, Lettuce, and Chinese Cabbage, those little starts that are especially vulnerable to slugs and snails, can be secured with coffee grounds around each plant. Meanwhile, it is acidic, coffee grounds are good fertilizer for Bok Choy. 

How long does Bok Choy seeds take to germinate?

  • It is unnecessary to soak them before sowing, but it can significantly reduce germination time. On average, Bok Choy seeds take about a week to sprout. But if you soak Bok Choy seeds in water for a few hours, you can see those small seedlings come out only after 2 days of sowing.
  • You should use standard seeds starting soil mix in which Bok Choy seeds can be sown up to a depth of 1/4 to 1/2 inch. Then stop transplanting Bok Choy in the garden until all the risk of cold weather passes. Space plants 6 to 12 inches apart and mulch to keep the soil cool and moist.  
  • Bok Choy can be sown directly in the garden or started indoors for later transplantation. The germination will take place in seven to 10 days once planted. If starting indoors, start seeding before the last frost date in the spring and transplant the seedlings two weeks later.

In case you missed it: Growing Bok Choy, Planting, Care, and Harvesting

Bok Choy Seedlings
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Why are my Bok Choy leaves turning yellow?

The mosaic virus causes wrinkles and discolored leaves, and the veins of your Bok Choy leaves turn yellow. Prevention is the key to this problem. Keep plant-resistant varieties and pests, weed your garden regularly and clean your tools between uses.

Why is my Bok Choy plant dying?

  • Bok Choy requires 1 inch of water per week. Even less means that the soil will remain dry most of the time, leading to stress and bolting. Too much water can also cause the vegetable to bolt. Harvest the crop as soon as possible.
  • The seed stalk grows about twice the height of the leaves and produces a small cluster of yellow flowers. After the flowers wilt, the seeds mature into the rest of the seed beans. The Bok Choy wilts and dies after setting seeds. 

Why is my Bok Choy bitter?

  • Very small leaves of baby Bok Choy have a light, lettuce-like taste and are often sold as a salad mix with other members of the Chinese cabbage family. As the Bok Choy reaches full maturity, its bitter flavors become more pronounced and mustardy, at which time it is perfect for steaming or sauteing. 

Does Bok Choy need a lot of water?

  • Bok Choy needs a lot of moisture but never tolerates soggy soil conditions. Drought can cause it to bolt to the seed very quickly. Your plants will need consistent water, especially during the dry autumn months. The best rule of thumb is to give 1 inch of water a week to Bok Choy so that the soil remains moist between the water.
  • Excess or underwater can also cause Bok Choy bolting. Your soil should be well-drained, your plants should get about an inch of water each week, and the soil should remain moist between the watering. 

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Bok Choy Farming
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Bok Choy is a perfect, nutritious, leafy green to add to your garden. This makes for an interesting inclusion in Asian-style dishes and has a refreshing flavor. It’s a cold-weather vegetable that grows best in either spring or autumn, and its flavor works in stir-fries, soups, and salads.


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