How to Grow & Cook Bok Choy


When you enjoy stir fries and other Asian dishes, you may quickly become familiar with the versatile bok choy vegetable. Although similar to Chinese cabbage, bok choy is longer and narrower with thick, smooth leaves. Grow bok choy during the cool temperatures of spring or autumn and it will thrive to produce big and beautiful heads with tasty green leaves. After harvesting bok choy, use it in vegetable medleys and soups.

Step 1

Prepare the garden area when the soil temperature is approximately 50 degrees F. Cultivate the soil with the garden spade to a depth of 3 to 4 inches. Add 1 to 2 inches of compost over the top of the soil and work this in well with the garden spade to incorporate it completely. Smooth the growing area with the rake to finish preparing it.

Step 2

Create rows for the bok choy that are 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 feet apart. Plant each bok choy seed in the rows, spacing the seeds 1 inch apart and covering them with ½ inch of soil. Water the soil well immediately after planting the bok choy.

Step 3

Keep the bok choy seeds evenly watered during germination and watch for the seeds to sprout within one week. Keep the soil evenly moist for best growing results.

Step 4

Thin the bok choy seedlings to approximately 9 inches apart when they are 4 inches tall. Pull up the weakest plants and discard them.

Step 5

Harvest bok choy when the leaves grow large and before the plants develop seeds. Cut the bok choy down just above the soil level with the sharp knife. As the weather warms in the spring, the plant will tend to "bolt" (send up seeds). If you wait to harvest the bok choy until the plant bolts, it will taste bitter.

Step 6

Wash the fresh bok choy under cool water and place it onto a cutting board.

Step 7

Cut the bok choy in half lengthwise with a chef's knife and discard the outer leaves. Cut the bok choy into bite-sized pieces for a stir fry or soup. Alternatively, leave the bok choy in larger leaf pieces for a salad and toss it with lettuce or spinach for a salad with a variety of greens.

Things You'll Need

  • Garden spade
  • Compost
  • Rake
  • Bok choy seeds
  • Sharp knife
  • Cutting board
  • Chef's knife


  • Cornell University: Pak Choy
  • Garden Mosaics: Chinese Cabbage and Bok Choy
Keywords: bok choy, harvesting bok choy, bok choy seed

About this Author

Kathryn Hatter is a 42-year-old veteran homeschool educator and regular contributor to Natural News. She is an accomplished gardener, seamstress, quilter, painter, cook, decorator, digital graphics creator and she enjoys technical and computer gadgets. She began writing for Internet publications in 2007. She is interested in natural health and hopes to continue her formal education in the health field (nursing) when family commitments will allow.