When to Harvest Pak Choi

Last year, with my first ever greenhouse and a desire to grow vegetables around the year, I was on the hunt for winter-hardy harvests I could get going in late November and keep growing until spring. I think it was Andrew over at Life on Pig Row who suggested Pak Choi; something I’d never eaten, let alone grown.

During the winter months, as you might expect, they looked a little bleak and I wondered if they’d come to anything at all. However, once I’d assembled my raised beds, I quickly got the young plants out of the greenhouse and into the ground and they whooshed away.

Now, I’m a grower, not a cook. And, unfortunately that means I often forget things need to be harvested at certain times. Pak Choi is an asian green that’s ideal for stir fry’s (I’ve been using this great recipe with soy and honey). The good think about this veggie is it’s slow to bolt…though, as you’ll see below, I didn’t harvest early enough and so have had little brassica flowers develop. Incidentally, I just keep breaking these off and throwing them into the chicken coop until I’m ready to harvest.

So, when is the perfect time to harvest Pak Choi? 

Seemingly about mid-April before the weather warms up too much and encourages the plant to bolt. You can remove single leaves if you just want to nibble or, as is normally the way, use a sharp knife and remove the entire plant at ground level. You can, of course, continue harvesting over subsequent months but as the plants bolt they’ll put more energy into flowers than leaves.

Cut through the base with a knife. Note…the stem shouldn’t be this elongated (oops!) It’s best to harvest when they’re more dense, like a cabbage head.

My Pak Choi have been left in a little too long! Still good for harvests though.

And the bugs (and chickens) enjoy the flowers and stalks.

So, next year I will endeavour to harvest sooner. They keep in the fridge for a couple of weeks without going too limp, so you can easily pluck multiple plants at once. Also, it’s best to get them out the ground earlier so you can use that space for other quick growing veggies, like radishes, carrots or lettuces, for example.

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I'm Geoff, and I'm a plant hoarder.

Like magpies collect bright shiny things, I can't resist plants. An exquisite flower, soft ferny foliage or a beautiful majestic tree - I love them all!

Here, I'll indulge in all things flora and share my passion. Join me as I develop my garden and hoard more plants without apology.