- Bok Choy Plant Bolt: How To Prevent Bolting In Bok Choy
- Bok Choy Plant Bolt
- How to Prevent Bolting in Bok Choy
- My Bok Choy is flowering. Let them be or snip them off?
- The health benefits of bok choy
- Bok Choy
Bok Choy Plant Bolt: How To Prevent Bolting In Bok Choy
You can always tell gardening season is in full swing when you get questions about what it means when bok choy bolts, like “Why do I have a flowering bok choy plant?” Bolt, or (bolting) is a common problem for gardeners who want to grow this tasty Asian vegetable. Unfortunately, there is no definitive answer for how to prevent bolting in bok choy, but there are things you can do to increase your chances for a successful crop.
Bok Choy Plant Bolt
Bok choy (Brassica rapa) is an Asian vegetable that also goes by the names of Chinese white cabbage or Chinese mustard. It’s a member of the mustard family, and therefore, a cool season vegetable that should be grown in the spring or fall. It is a non-heading cabbage with dark green leaves and white leaf stalks and is grown as an annual.
Horticulturally, in leafy greens such as bok choy, bolting is the premature growth of a long stalk carrying a flower head, so early flowering bok choy is a sure sign that your bok choy is bolting.
How to Prevent Bolting in Bok Choy
There are several answers to what it means when bok choy bolts and how to prevent bolting. In bok choy, the key factor is shock, which can be caused by transplant, temperature and water. It’s a sign your plant is ‘panicking’ and feels the need to propagate (make seed) as quickly as possible.
First, choose a variety that is slow to bolt, particularly if you live in an area where radical temperatures are common.
Choose your site carefully. Bok choy needs sun, but as the weather warms, all day sun will cause your garden soil temperature to rise. You’ll be planting in the spring before trees are fully leafed out. Choose a spot that will eventually have some shade. Six to eight hours of direct sun is all that’s needed. If sunny spots are all that’s available, you might consider creating shade with a tarp.
Transplanting can cause shock. For spring planting, sow your seed directly into nitrogen rich soil as soon as all danger of frost has passed. The ideal temperature for bok choy is between 55 and 70 F. (13-21 C.). Be aware that bok choy plant bolt can occur when nighttime temperatures drop below 55 F. (13 C.). Of course, Mother Nature can never be completely relied on, so one of the easiest answers for how to prevent bolting in bok choy is to grow it in a cold frame where you have more control over temperature.
Too much or too little water can also cause bok choy bolting. Your soil should drain well and your plants should receive about one inch of water per week and the soil remains damp between watering.
Successive plantings are seldom effective as a way to prevent bolting bok choy. Young bok choy plants bolt as quickly as mature ones.
Lastly, begin harvesting early. You don’t have to wait for the entire plant to mature to harvest the larger outer leaves, and as soon as you see signs of your bok choy bolting, harvest the entire plant and use the smaller leaves in salads. According to several excellent cooks I know, flowering bok choy isn’t the disaster some gardeners think. They claim that the flower stalks are tender and sweet and make a great addition to stir-fry and salads.
Bok choy is one of the more finicky choices to plant in your garden, but the rewards of a successful season can make it all worthwhile. Those of us who love this difficult-to-grow Asian vegetable know what it means when bok choy bolts. All it means to us is there’s always another gardening season on the horizon and next year, we’ll get it right.
My Bok Choy is flowering. Let them be or snip them off?
Some of my bok choy is two and three feet tall of bolted stems and flowers now with this crazy weather this year. My rhubarb which is about ten years old actually bolted with huge, thick bamboo stems and big shaggy seeds this year too. I have never seen it do anything like that. I was actually going to post some pics here of it. I treated it the same as always.
Lettuces bolt when the weather is consistently too warm for them. You can try the Evergreen hybrid variety which is more heat resistant if you need to sow it later in Spring(here where I am we get frost…frost..frost..suddenly warm! so next year I’m going to try the evergreen) There are many bok choy types: http://www.tainongseeds.com/bok-choi/
I grow it for my beardies and no complaints on the leaves’ taste so far, I haven’t tried it myself now these guys are outgrowing my corn height-wise. L
Traditionally bok choy is grow in two stages, planted early Spring, or even Winter depending on mild your climate is, and harvested very early as the baby bok choy, and transplants from Fall (you can do it starting/keeping them in bags in the Fall and keeping them inside where it is cool) replanted in the Spring for the bigger bok choy. (so basically it’s like getting two years worth of growth of the plant without growing it when it is warm enough to bolt).
Also seeding a little week by week and picking before bolting can happen helps you get lots of the tender, mild leaves and stems.
I’m right in the border of 6a/b, like one side of my city is 6a, the other side of the harbour is 6b. I’m on the 6b side.
The flowers blooming right now are truly gorgeous. I’m really enjoying my peonies and irises. Hopefully there will be some hydrangeas in the future as well. But sometimes just looking at flowers is not enough, sometimes you want more. Are you ever so overcome by the beauty of a flower that you want to consume it?
During the Victorian era, edible flowers were very popular and some say they are making a comeback today with gourmet chefs. There is also a lot of talk and interest in building edible gardens, where much of the greens grown in people’s yards are edible, as well as beautiful.
It makes sense ecologically as well as economically. Growing your own vegetables without a lot of chemical sprays is safer for consumers and the planet, plus growing your own produce is a good way for consumers to save money as well as take control of their food source.
Bok choy florettes just below the yellow flowers
But it’s not just fruits and vegetables that are edible, many flowers can also be part on the menu, including those that appear before or after a plant bolts.
I’m sure you’ve either read about or tasted pansies in salads and stir-fried squash blossoms. But other flowers you can also eat include dandelions, clover, gladiolus, peony, herb flowers, garlic blossums, fennel and bok choy. The list goes on, but you have to be careful because there are also a lot of flowers that are not edible. Some can be very poisonous, so it’s very important to read up on a plant before ever putting it in your mouth.
The other day I noticed that the bok choy we had recently planted was already bolting, after just a few weeks. Barely in the ground, they were already flowering, while others were dying due to some kind of infestation. It seemed such a shame to toss the only remaining part of the plant that still appeared healthy…the flowers and florettes.
Bok choy is the name for a Chinese cabbage. They have crisp, tender white stalks and large green leaves with a mild broccoli-like flavor that tastes wonderful stir-fried with olive oil and some fresh garlic or ginger.
Bok choy and turnips are actually from the same plant species. Along with broccoli, Chinese cabbage and radishes, they’re all members of the Brassiceae family.
In ancient China, farmers chose the seeds from the plants with biggest leaves and fleshier stems. Ancient Mediterranean, farmers also saved seeds from their biggest plants with the largest roots, making storage better during winter. Due to that selection process, overtime the plant species evolved into bok choy in China and the turnip in the Mediterranean.
Doing some research, I learned that when bok choy bolts you can still harvest the flower stalk to use in salads, soups and stir fry. So I tasted a bok choy flower and was surprised to find that it tasted a lot like broccoli rabe.
While there was not enough of the florettes to cook, I decided to try them and the flowers in a pasta salad. I cut a handful of the flowers and florettes and rinsed them off. Then I finely chopped them, along with some parsely from the garden and stirred them all in with the elbow macaroni and some mayonnaise for a macaroni salad. The florettes added a bit of crunch, while the flavor of the flowers was very subtle and mixed very nicely with the pasta, not overpowering it. I love the idea of going into the garden and improvising with what I’ve got, when I don’t have it in the kitchen. Bok choy flower pasta salad, who’da thunk it?
The health benefits of bok choy
The nutrients in bok choy may offer protection from a number of conditions.
Protection from cancer
Share on PinterestBok choy is a cruciferous vegetable that can provide valuable nutrients.
Bok choy and other cruciferous vegetables have certain anti-cancer properties.
Studies have shown that some people who eat more cruciferous vegetables have a lower risk of developing lung, prostate, and colon cancer.
Bok choy contains folate. Folate plays a role in the production and repair of DNA, so it might prevent cancer cells from forming due to mutations in the DNA.
Bok choy also contains vitamin C, vitamin E, and beta-carotene. These nutrients have powerful antioxidant properties that help protect cells against damage by free radicals.
Unlike most other fruits and vegetables, bok choy contains the mineral selenium.
Selenium helps to detoxify some cancer-causing compounds in the body. Selenium also prevents inflammation and decreases tumor growth rates.
Cruciferous and other vegetables also offer protection because they provide fiber. Fiber keeps the stool moving. This keeps the bowel healthy and reduces the risk of developing colorectal cancer.
Fibrous foods also feed healthy gut bacteria, which affects overall health, metabolism, and digestion.
The iron, phosphorous, calcium, magnesium, zinc, and vitamin K in bok choy all contribute to building and maintaining bone structure and strength.
Iron and zinc play crucial roles in the production and growth of collagen.
Phosphorus and calcium are both important in bone structure. However, proper bone growth needs a careful balance of both these nutrients. A diet that contains too much phosphorus and not enough calcium can result in bone loss.
Vitamin K helps maintain the balance of calcium in the bones, which means it might help reduce the risk of bone fractures.
Potassium, calcium, and magnesium are all present in bok choy. They can help decrease blood pressure naturally.
According to an article in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, people should increase their intake of potassium. Some evidence shows that consuming 4,700 mg of potassium daily decreases blood pressure caused by high sodium intake.
The same article notes that many people consume too much sodium, which increases the risk of developing high blood pressure. people should consume no more than 1500 milligrams (mg) of sodium per day.
Bok choy’s folate, potassium, vitamin C, and vitamin B-6 content, coupled with its lack of cholesterol, all help to maintain a healthy heart.
A National Health and Nutrition Examination Study (NHANES) published in 2011 found a “significantly higher” risk of cardiovascular disease among people who consumed too much sodium and not enough potassium.
Vitamin B-6 and folate prevent the buildup of a compound known as homocysteine. Excess homocysteine in the body can damage blood vessels and lead to heart problems.
Choline helps with sleep, muscle movement, learning, and memory. It also helps cells in the body to keep their shape and helps absorb fat and reduce chronic inflammation.
The selenium found in bok choy has been found to improve immune response to infection by stimulating the production of T-cells that identify and kill invading bacteria and viruses.
Collagen, the skin’s support system, relies on vitamin C. Vitamin C is an essential nutrient that has antioxidant properties that may help prevent damage caused by the sun, pollution, and smoke. Vitamin C also promotes collagen’s ability to smooth wrinkles and improve overall skin texture.
Type 2 diabetes
Some studies have suggested that cruciferous vegetables can help people with diabetes to maintain their blood sugar levels. However, a meta-analysis published in 2018 concluded that the evidence for such a link was “not convincing.”
The American Diabetes Association describe non-starchy vegetables, including cruciferous vegetables, as “one food group where you can satisfy your appetite.”
Sometimes the best way to cook a vegetable—the method you return to over and over again—is sitting right under your nose.
Bok choy is the poster child for that sort of thing.
Found in the produce section with its cousins broccoli, cauliflower, and Brussels sprouts, bok choy’s smooth, leafy blades pack a serious snap and a mildly bitter flavor. Even if you’re not already cooking with bok choy, you’re probably familiar with it—most people encounter the Asian green every time they eat at a Chinese restaurant. That’s because it’s great in stir-fries, its leaves wilting amid a sea of rice and garlic as soon as they hit the hot pan. Bok choy is also a great roasting candidate, its leaves crisping up and stiff stalks melting under the heat of an oven.
But the thing you might not be doing with bok choy? Leaving it alone.
That’s right—bok choy is perhaps at its most delicious when left raw and tossed into salads with other leafy greens or hearty, cooked grains. The vegetable offers two contrasting textures: tender, lettuce-like leaves and crisp, crunchy stalks. It’s light, refreshing—and lively in a way that the roasted or sautéd stuff never is.
Start with something simple: Try pairing raw bok choy with apples, carrots, nuts, and a simple dijon vinaigrette in the recipe below; add it to that batch of leftover quinoa on the bottom shelf of your fridge; or get wild and introduce it to kale and shredded brussels sprouts.
Just don’t blame us if you never cook it again.
Bok Choy is a vegetable of many names—pak choi, bok choi, pak choy, Chinese cabbage, Chinese chard, Chinese mustard, celery mustard and spoon cabbage As the latter name suggests, it originated in China, and when it migrated to Korea, it became the main vegetable in kimchi. Bok choy stems overlap each other, resembling celery in appearance (but wider and flatter), and forming a white bulbous base. The stems end in broad, upright, green leaves, and the fully grown plant will reach 12 to 18 inches. The entire plant is edible and used in cooking from many East Asian and Phillipine cultures, but in the U.S., it is most often found in Chinese dishes. The white ends have a light flavor, and the leaves are delicious wilted in a stir fry.
Fun Fact: Bok choy seedlings are frost tolerant and can actually withstand below 30 degrees. Therefore, with two plantings, they could be the first in and the last out of a garden.
Nutrition: Bok choy is high in vitamins C and K, and it has more vitamin A, carotenes and antioxidants than cabbage. It is a very low calorie food.