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Tips for growing bok choi in Zone 6?

 
Rob Sigg
Posts: 714
Location: PA-Zone 6
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So I have had zero luck with bok choi. I tried some last spring, direct sow around Late March/Early April. They only got 5-8 inches tall with only a few leaves and then bolted once summer got here. Same thing happened with seeds sown in late august, only I covered them with plastic to protect them from the snow etc. I checked yesterday and they are very small, and are sending up flower stalks! What gives? Any advice?
 
Craig Dobbelyu
pollinator
Posts: 1208
Location: Maine (zone 5)
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forest garden hugelkultur
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Try planting them for a fall harvest. I start mine in July and usually start harvest late September into late fall. I'm in zine 5. Hope that helps a bit. Keep them covered with a row cover to keep the flea beetles.
 
Rob Sigg
Posts: 714
Location: PA-Zone 6
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Thanks for the reply. I didnt have any pest issues and I did start them in the summer for fall/winter harvest. They are actually bolting right now since I had them under a plastic tent. The biggest issue is size. They still only got 4-5 leaves and are a few inches tall. I don't understand why that is happening. Its full sun exposure on the south side and the soil is pretty good.
 
Betsy Ho
Posts: 1
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Hi,
Sorry I didn't see this posting earlier. For 3 years, I would only have luck with planting one round of bok choy from seedlings started inside under grow lamps. When I would try to start another round, it would bolt. Especially the white stem variety.

This year, things are turning around for me. I'm in zone 6. I think the main change was to plant seeds early in cold frames before the last frost. We had a dry winter, so I began in March. I found that when you start in the cold frame, the plants come up when they are ready and there is less transplant shock than when you start indoors. Also, I realized that bok choy has the ability to grow fast. If it doesn't the seedlings get eaten up by bugs. So it's best that it grows under these conditions:
sun but with day temps no higher than 70 (after a stretch of rainy days, it will take off quickly when the sun is out if well fertilized)
cool night temps no lower than 35 (i used row cover when it when below freezing and they stayed alive!)
very fertile soil or repeated applications of compost tea

My next round was direct seeded because of the warmer weather. I have thinned and transplanted the thinings in a separate bed. We have been having a lot of rain lately, but I think they are going to do well once the sun comes up and I shade with row cover. I put down some crushed eggshell to deter the slugs which are chomping on everything now.

I'll keep you posted as to how they do. I'm getting greedy now and want to start a whole nother bed in the shadier spots of the garden.
 
Rob Sigg
Posts: 714
Location: PA-Zone 6
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Thanks for your reply. I actually direct sowed some in March as well and grew some under lights starting in Feb. Both did really well but have already flowered. I harvested some good sized heads for kim chi and was overall happier than last year!
 
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