How do you grow Baby Bok Choi - a.k.a. Toy Choi?

Charlotte, NC(Zone 7b)

I purchased some Baby Bok Choi from one of those big warehouse places a couple of weeks ago. I had never tried these before, but liked them so much I want to grow them.

I have purchased seeds of something Burpee calls "Toy Choi" which looks exaclty the same as the ones I liked.

I assume these do best grown in cool weather. So I should grow them in the fall/early winter?

Thanks in advance for any advice/tips ^_^

Augusta, GA(Zone 8a)

I have not grown Toy Choy, but do grow New Nabai. It will grow in late winter, early spring. Needs about the same conditions as radishes. Bolt quickly when temps rise . Does better in fall but still has a relatively short harvest window. They take a bout a month from seeding to harvest. These are small plants only getting about 6 inches so they can be planted at 4-6 inch spacing. They will thrive in any soil that a radish or a cabbage will.

Thumbnail by Farmerdill Thumbnail by Farmerdill Thumbnail by Farmerdill
Irving, TX(Zone 8a)

I love Bok and Pac Choi. I started from seeds in early August and transplanted outside in September.
They are the first greens to grow really fast ... even faster than lettuce.

Charlotte, NC(Zone 7b)

Thanks Farmerdill and drthor.

Broccoli does well here all winter. Do I assume that bok choi will not? I was hoping to stagger sow them during the fall for winter harvest like I do broccoli.

I could grow them under row covers to keep them a little warmer.

It's good to know they grow really fast!

Grand Saline, TX(Zone 7b)

I like Farmerdill's comparison to radish. They really are that simple and quick to grow. If allowed they will reseed all over the place too. I tend to like without trying :0) I would experiment, I don't think you'd need a row cover. But since I've been growing them, the winters have been so mild, it's hard for me to say for certain.

Richland, WA(Zone 7b)

They shouldn't need cover for temps- being in the cabbage family they really do best when it is cold. Warmth will make them bolt fast. My only problem was aphids. I found some live aphids yesterday on my overwintering strawberies! I guess they just hunkered down and spent the entire winter there!

Charlotte, NC(Zone 7b)

cocoa_lulu and Jo Parrott - thank you for your info.

This is just what I needed to know. Seems like I'll be able to grow these this fall/winter. I am planning to have a new area open by then so I can grow all kinds of cold weather veggies.

Pelzer, SC(Zone 7b)

My little ones planted in January are almost ready for harvest now. The early heat hasn't seemed a problem so far, but last year I was able to harvest them for a long time, I think up until June. They were in a spot that had afternoon shade, which may have helped. I saved seed to use next fall/winter, too.

Charlotte, NC(Zone 7b)

catmad - thanks for the tip about afternoon shade. This helps me know where to place them in the garden.

Pelzer, SC(Zone 7b)

Hope so. I really like these little guys, and miss them when they're gone :)

Irving, TX(Zone 8a)

I finally found my pictures of the Pak and Bok Choi I planted last fall.
This picture was taken on November 24.
I started them from seed in August.
As you can see in the picture they have started to bolt already. The Pak Choi (the purple one) never grew really big.
The Bok Choi taste really good, but very similar to Swiss Chard, in my opinion.
The Kale I started at the same time are bolting now ... so I had a much longer season from them.

Last spring I did plant both Bok and Pak Choi in my flower bed.
Have a look at the second picture: the Bok Choi bolted rather quickly (see the small yellow flowers) while the purple Pak Choi looked great.

Thumbnail by drthor Thumbnail by drthor
Grand Saline, TX(Zone 7b)

Ooh, I like that purple, very pretty.

Irving, TX(Zone 8a)

Definetely the Purple Pak Choi is very decorative.
Also you can see that the spring Choi looks perfect, while the fall Choi has little holes in the leaves ... which is telling me that he likes to be planted in the spring here rather than in the fall.

Grand Saline, TX(Zone 7b)

I use a feather duster dipped in DE and go around 'dusting' my non-blooming greens. Looks crazy, but it works :0) I get a lot of cabbage loopers type worms in the spring and fall.

Irving, TX(Zone 8a)

I rather don't use any pesticide at all ...
I normally don't have any problem ... apart pill bugs ...
Actually I didn't mind who was eating the Choi , because they left alone all the other greens ... which I did like much more.
So it did work like a "catch crop".

Charlotte, NC(Zone 7b)

Thanks for sharing your photos, drthor. Those purple ones look very nice. I bet they contain more anthocyanins than the green ones, too. Do they taste the same as the green box choi? If so, where did you buy the seeds?

Irving, TX(Zone 8a)
I bought them from Johnny's.
I really didn't care much for the purple Choi ...
I think I will grow only the green and maybe the purple for the flower beds

Charlotte, NC(Zone 7b)

Thanks, drthor. Maybe I'll try the purple ones next year, I've already purchased the Toy Choi for this fall.

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