Unusual Vegetable Plants


Pak Choi - Brassica Chinensis

Pak Choi is just one of a family of vegetables commonly called "Oriental Greens." There are many different varieties and as they are all related to Cabbages, they are susceptible to the normal pests of that family, such as caterpillars, cabbage root fly, cabbage flea beetle, etc. Having said that they are also closely related to members of the Mustard Family and as such their leaves have a slight taste of mustard which adds another dimension to their uses. As a member of the Cabbage family Pak Choi are shallow rooted and so need regular watering in dry weather, but unlike their relatives, the Cabbage, they are bolt resistant.

For seeds to germinate the soil needs to have warmed up, so it is best not to sow them outside too early in the season. Young plants develop quickly in the right conditions and come to harvestable size in only a few weeks. This means that Pak Choi can be used as a late crop after the harvesting of another earlier vegetable.

Plants can be cut when mature or they can be used as a "Cut and come again" crop by removing only a portion of the leaves or even leaving the cut stem in the ground to re-shoot. Pak Choi can be eaten like cabbage by cooking fresh, but in Asia leaves are dipped in boiling water and then dried in the sun to preserve them so that they can be stored for Winter use.


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