Pak choi already flowering - will I be able to eat it?

fovletApril 18, 2010

This past Wednesday I bought a six pack of pak choi at the nursery and planted it in a pot. The plants were about 3" tall when I planted them. Since then they've shot up -- three of them are almost 12" tall -- and one is starting to flower. There are some larger leaves at the bottoms that were there when I bought them and smallish leaves growing at the top, but the plant is mostly stalk.

I was hoping these would continue to grow through the summer, and I'm wondering if the fact that they're getting so tall so quickly (yet are not very leafy) and that they're already flowering means that they'll bolt too quickly to eat? Last year I tried growing cilantro and basil and it went to seed after only a few weeks, which was really frustrating. I don't want the same thing to happen with the pak choi if there's something I can do to prevent it.

I'm not sure about the variety... the tag says "toy choi" if that helps. The temperatures have been in the mid-60s to low-70s and the plants get about 5 hours of sunlight a day.

Before and after pics can be seen below...

(that's Swiss chard in the middle)


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I think you should take out all the toy choy and use it, fovlet. The flower stalks will probably be sweet and tender.

Toy choy is one that goes from tiny to blooming in just a few days, as you have noticed. I grow a fair amount of Mei Qing Choy. During the cool weeks of the growing season, it can get quite large before bolting. I'm not trying to grow LARGE bok choy but I get a little more time to enjoy it when it continues to grow without going "round the bend."

I prefer flowering bok choi to just the leaves. Break off the stem and taste it.


    Bookmark   April 18, 2010 at 8:13PM
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Thanks for the response. I'm not opposed to eating it now (I love the stuff!), I just wish it had lasted more than a week!

Is there anything I can do to encourage more growth (short of pulling it out and planting new ones)? If I harvest just the stalks and leave the big leaves at the bottom, is there a possibility that more will grow?

If it's not going to last, maybe I'll replace it with another green that does better in hot climates. (More chard maybe?)

    Bookmark   April 19, 2010 at 1:26AM
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My bok choys never formed anything like I find in the Asian market. They kept growing tall (bolting) and flowered.
I used them though. They were very tasty.

    Bookmark   April 21, 2010 at 1:14AM
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Bok choy needs cool weather to grow, otherwise it will bolt. I am in zone 7 and I planted out my bok choy transplants a month ago. They are starting to flower now and it is barely in the 70s on warm days. So if you live in zone 7 or higher, they would best be grown as a fall crop. They will take very cold weather like kale.

I got some pretty good sized bok choy though since I started them from seed in January. :)

    Bookmark   April 26, 2010 at 10:16PM
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shebear(z8 NCentralTex)

I've never had much luck with any of the cabbage family in the spring. If they get temps under 50 degrees and it gets warm again, they bolt. If I wait until I know it won't get that cold, the heat comes and it bolts.

However, in the fall I grow the nicest cabbage and bok choi. So get some seed and replant toward the end of summer. I think the shortening days and cooler nights offset the warm days and help it to grow correctly during that time of year.

    Bookmark   April 27, 2010 at 4:03PM
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