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Pak Choi is widespread in Asia and is served with various wok dishes. In Central Europe, the vegetable is becoming increasingly popular because it can be harvested after a short time and is therefore perfect as a follow-up crop on the bed that has already been harvested. The leaves grow in a loose rosette. They taste mild and are particularly digestible. With these instructions, it is not difficult to grow the cruciferous vegetable in the home garden.
Plant pak choi
There are different types of Pak Choi that are cultivated differently. Smaller varieties are offered as Baby Pak Choi and require less space in the bed than lush varieties. Most varieties are cultivated in greenhouses, as Pak Choi prefers a warm, humid climate. However, there are varieties that can also be cultivated outdoors.
- Mei Qing Choi: compact variety for tubs or balcony boxes
- Joi Choi (F1): rapidly growing variety that requires more space
- Misome: fast-growing baby pak choi variety, often cultivated in Germany
- White Celary Mustard: long-leaved variety for outdoor sowing
location and substrate
Pak Choi is one of the heavy feeders who prefer moderately heavy and nutrient-rich soil. You can grow the Chinese cabbage well in chalky soil that is loose and has good drainage. The heat requirement is not particularly high, which is why a culture in Central Europe is worthwhile. An even climate with high humidity ensures healthy and vigorous growth. The winter vegetables can be grown in the sun as well as in partial shade, although you should ensure that they are sheltered from the wind.
From April you can start sowing in the mini greenhouse. If no more frosts are to be expected, the young plants can be planted outdoors from the end of April. However, if the spring is very warm, the cruciferous plant tends to shoot. This also happens when the temperatures are too low. Therefore, the Chinese cabbage is preferably sown directly outdoors as a winter vegetable between July and August.
- Sowing depth: two centimeters
- Germination temperature - minimum: 12 °C
- Germination temperature - optimum: 18 to 22 °C
- Growing time: two to three weeks
If you have grown the vegetables in the pot and want to plant the young plants outdoors, you should damage the root ball as little as possible. It is planted in rows that are 15 to 20 centimeters apart. There should be a free area of 25 centimeters between the young plants so that they can develop optimally.
After you have harvested the winter vegetables, you should only grow them in the same bed after a three-year break. Do not sow the seeds in areas where you have cultivated other types of cabbage, turnips or cruciferous vegetables. All other types of vegetables are ideal as a preceding crop.
tip: Leeks, lettuce and carrots are good planting partners for a mixed crop. Potatoes are not suitable as bed neighbors.
During the summer months you should rake the bed regularly to keep the soil loose. When the temperatures are particularly warm, the plants need more water, so you should regularly use the watering can. On dry days you can sprinkle the leaf rosettes to increase the humidity. If you have enriched the bed with compost before sowing, further fertilization during the growth phase is not necessary.
After eight to ten weeks, the leaf rosettes are ready for harvest. You can harvest individual leaves throughout the growing season. The taste and consistency change with age, so that the mildness is lost. When harvesting whole pak choi plants, remove every other rosette. This gives the remaining specimens more space for their further development. When it gets colder, you have several options:
- Cover plants outdoors with fleece
- Dig up the pak choi with the roots and store in moist sand
- Pickle leaves
notice: The leaves are extremely sensitive to pressure. If you harvest individual leaves, you should process them quickly after harvesting.
Pak Choi proves to be robust against pathogens, because the plants have a short standing time on the bed. The cabbage white also avoids the Chinese cabbage when it finds alternative food sources. To counteract the spread of clubroot, you should not leave any stalks on the bed after harvesting.
During the summer months, small beetles occasionally infest the pak choi plants. These are mostly flea beetles. The insects eat holes in the leaves and can severely damage young plants. Their larvae live in the soil and feed on the roots. Keep the soil moist with regular watering or mulching and loosen the substrate to prevent pest infestation.