Year-Round Pak Choy and My First Density Experiment

One of my new favorites is a dwarf variety of Pak Choy¹ that only reaches 2-3” in size. They’re attractive in the garden and make for a great salad or stir fry. Plus I feel like a giant when I harvest them. Its quick maturity and dwarf stature make it an ideal square foot garden candidate that I will grow in my garden as often as I can. Since I’m trying to break this down to a science I will try from here on out to list the source of the seeds whenever possible; the footnotes from today’s post lists the source.

While the seed packet recommends Spring or Fall plantings, I’m pretty confident I can grow these even in the heat of Summer. When I started growing these I checked the seed packet for spacing, which was listed at 6-12”. Square foot gardeners are all about density, so I started them at 6” spacing which translates to 4 per square foot. After a couple successive plantings, as the weather warmed up, they’ve been bolting at a smaller size. Fortunately, unlike a lot of other greens, they don’t get bitter and they taste equally delicious even though they are smaller than they had been. This picture is from this morning, right before I picked 2.5 square feet. You can see the beginnings of little flowers and also more than enough space between the plants.

Dwarf Pak Choy 4 per square footDwarf Pak Choy harvest

When I replanted these slots, I upped the density from 4 to 9 to try to keep this Pak Choy train going. I know not everyone arriving at my blog is versed in square foot gardening, and I’ve yet to make a post outlining the fundamentals, so I made a quick mock up of 4 per square foot and 9 per square foot plantings.

4_per_square_foot9_per_square_foot

These dwarf Pak Choy are entirely edible, apparently even the flowers if you harvest too late. That may mean I’ll stick with the 9 per square foot even when bolting isn’t issue. That should mean more frequent harvests, with the only drawback being the cost of extra seeds, probably fractions of a penny per planting.

Check back soon to see if I’ve succeeded or failed; with our mild Southern California winters, this summer planting should be the only potential barrier to 12 month Pak Choy.

 ¹Extra Dwarf Pak Choy – Baker Creek Heirloom Seed Company