Have you been looking to add a new nutritious and easy-to-grow veggie to your garden? Consider bok choy! Bok choy is a quick-growing, leafy vegetable often used in Asian cuisine. You might be familiar seeing it paired with mushrooms in oyster sauce at a Chinese restaurant or as a ramen topping at your local ramen shop. With its sweet and tender white stalks and slightly peppery-tasting green leaves, bok choy is an incredibly versatile culinary ingredient and a prime choice for your garden.
Bok choy offers many health benefits. It has nutrients proven to have anti-cancerous properties like folate, selenium, vitamin C, vitamin E, and beta-carotene. It also contains nutrients that target bone health, heart health, blood pressure, inflammation, immunity and more (Ware, 2018)!
If you’re looking to introduce this fast, and easy-to-grow veggie into your garden, make sure your garden has a sunny spot (partial shade is okay too!) with fertile, well-watered, and well-draining soil. They can be planted in either the early spring or late summer, but they grow best in the cooler months. If you plant them in the summer, you’ll want to be extra diligent about watering and shading them during the hottest times of the day (SF Gate). When planting, if you plant small batches every 2 weeks, you can maintain a good supply throughout the season. Some companion plants to consider adding to your garden alongside your bok choy include beets, carrots, celery, thyme, onions, and nasturtiums. Companion plants are great because they offer benefits like pest management and nutrient enhancement. In addition, intercropping with these companion plants is a great way to maximize your gardening space. Once the plants are ready to harvest, you can go ahead and cut them off right above the soil line. Make sure to harvest during the cooler part of the day to reduce the potential for moisture loss (Groom, 2019).
After you’ve harvested your bok choy, there’s an endless number of recipes to try out. One simple recipe to try is the bok choy and oyster sauce dish mentioned earlier at home! You can find a recipe HERE. You can also stir fry bok choy and have it as a side dish using the methods and tips provided by the Woks of Life. It also goes well in soups like wonton noodle soup which is perfect for a cozy meal when the weather starts to cool down.
Here at Each Green Corner, we strive to include culturally diverse produce at our garden sites to donate to our non-profit partners to distribute to the community. Bok choy has been one of the main vegetables we’ve used thus far in order to create more diversity in produce for our partners like Second Harvest of Silicon Valley. Through growing vegetables like bok choy, we hope to continue to increase the pipeline of fresh, healthy, and culturally diverse foods from our garden sites to our non-profit partners.
Written by Nicole Shimizu, Communications and Outreach Coordinator