How to Grow Pak Choi in a Container

comments (3) May 29th, 2012

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WesternGardener Jodi Torpey, contributor
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Baby pak choi transplants can grow in a narrow, but deep container.
Garden-grown pak choi makes a good addition to stir fry recipes.
Baby pak choi transplants can grow in a narrow, but deep container.Click To Enlarge

Baby pak choi transplants can grow in a narrow, but deep container.

Photo: Jodi Torpey

A four-pack of pak choi (also called bok choy) transplants have turned out to be a delicious addition to my spring container garden. I purchased the plants in early April, planted them in a patio container, and started cooking with the tender leaves in just a few short weeks.

Pak choi is a type of Chinese cabbage that’s a must-have for the stir fry garden. Its crunchy white stalks and bright green leaves add a mild flavor and nice crunch to many Asian fusion recipes. The leaves can be used when stems are still small or the entire plant can be harvested when mature.

Baby varieties, like Baby Green Fortune, mature in about 45 days and grow to just 6 inches tall. These smaller varieties grow well in a container garden if planted before the weather gets too warm.

Direct seed into containers or transplant when the threat of frost has passed. If you've missed the window for spring planting, make a note to plant a crop in fall 4-6 weeks before the first frost. Plant in a container that has well-drained soil and keep soil moist. Plants may wilt if the soil is allowed to dry between waterings. 

For my pak choi container I used row cover to protect the leaves from sunburn and to keep away insects who like the tender leaves as much as I do. 

The pak choi stem and leaves are edible, but the stems take a bit longer to cook. Add the sliced stems early in the stir fry process and the leaves at the end. Mix together with your other favorite vegetables and a package of sliced, extra-firm tofu for a complete meal.

Stir Fry Sauce Recipe

Here’s a recipe for a simple stir fry sauce that makes about ½ cup. Mix the ingredients in a small bowl before preparing the vegetables. This allows time for the flavors to mingle.

¼ cup tamari or soy sauce
2 tablespoons dry sherry (optional)
1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
2 or more cloves garlic, minced
1 ½ teaspoons sesame oil
4 teaspoons grated ginger
2 teaspoons sugar (add more or less to taste)

Add ¼ cup sauce half-way through cooking the vegetables. Add the remaining sauce a few minutes before the vegetables are ready to serve.


posted in: bok choi, stir fry recipes, Pak choi, pak choy, bok choy

Comments (3)

WesternGardener writes: Thanks for the comments. This is my first time growing pak choi and now it's going to be a regular in my garden. I'm going to try a fall crop, too.
Posted: 11:14 am on May 30th
bonniegroundcovers writes: Aha!

Thank you so much. Never thought of bok choy. Sounds easy to do.
Posted: 9:39 am on May 30th
Ruth writes: Just last night I harvested the last of my bok choy and served it in a stir-fry, along with snow peas and garlic scapes from the garden. Whether you grow it in pots or in the garden, it's a perfect cool-weather crop.
Posted: 7:58 am on May 30th
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