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Growing bok choy doesn’t need to be a difficult task. You should be able to do it at home. You just need to make sure that you are providing the right conditions. So, how much sunlight does bok choy need?
When planting during the spring or fall, bok choy will need a minimum of six hours of sunlight each day. However, if you live in a warmer climate, or are planting during the summer, they will need some shade. This prevents bolting. Because of this, you will only need to give them three to five hours of sunlight a day.
While getting the right amount of sunlight is important, it isn’t the only thing you need to know when planting bok choy. Keep reading to learn the best way to prepare a bumper bok choy harvest.
Best Conditions for Planting Bok Choy
Like all plants, whether your bok choy will thrive or die will depend on the conditions you plant it in. Here are some of the elements you should be looking for.
Amount of Sunlight
How much sunlight bok choy will require will depend on the time of year that you are planting it. It’s most common to plant your harvest during the fall months. In this case, you will need to select a plot that gets a lot of sunlight.
In most cases, you will need to choose a full-sun area. You need to make sure that the plants are getting at least six hours of sunlight each day. Ideally, it should be getting the afternoon sun, especially if you live in a hotter area.
However, some people prefer to start planting bok choy during the spring. This raises the risk that the plants will bolt, or start to create growth prematurely. One of the best ways to prevent this is by limiting the amount of sunlight that the plant is getting. Pick a spot that gets partial shade during the day. They will only need between three to five hours of sunlight during the day.
If you have your bok choy in a pot, you can easily tell when it’s time to move it into the shade. You can attach a thermometer to the pot. Once the mercury reaches 75 degrees Fahrenheit (23 degrees Celsius), it’s time to move it into the shade.
There are a few other ways that you can stop bok choy bolting. These include:
- Well-drained soil. As we’ll discuss, bok choy needs plenty of water. But that doesn’t mean that the water should be sitting on top of the soil.
- Warm weather. This is the most common reason why bok choy is bolting. This is why you should avoid planting during the middle of summer. This can also happen during the spring. There might be times when a bout of cold weather rolls in before giving way to warmer conditions.
- Transplant. Sometimes, when you plant out the bok choy seedlings, it can take them a few days to get used to their new environment. This is a condition known as transplant shock.
How you deal with a bolting bok choy depends on you. You can remove the plant. Though the leaves might be smaller, they will still taste great in a salad. Alternatively, you can wait for it to go to seed and grow your own seedlings.
Nutrients in the Soil
You should also think about the number of nutrients in the soil. Like many other vegetables, they will like well-fertilized soil. You will need to use a balanced soil fertilizer. Add some compost once you’ve finished planting the seedlings. This will improve moisture retention and slowly release nutrients.
Amount of Water
Because they will spend much of the day in full sunlight, there is a chance that the moisture will quickly evaporate from the soil. Because of this, you will need to water them every two to three days. It can help to put your fingers a few inches into the soil. This will allow you to check the amount of moisture.
Best Time to Plant Bok Choy
When you will need to start planting bok choy will depend on which part of the world you live in. Generally, though, they will do better in cooler temperatures, though they won’t be able to withstand winter frosts.
Because of this, you can start planting during spring. Though it’s most common to wait until the early fall. A good way to tell when it’s time to start planting is by looking at the soil temperatures. Ideally, it should be around 40 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit (4 to 24 degrees Celsius) before you start planting.
It should be noted that in some conditions you might even be able to plant during the winter. If you don’t get a particularly harsh winter and don’t experience too much frost, it might be an appropriate crop.
Can You Grow Bok Choy Indoors?
One of the benefits of bok choy is that there are multiple ways that you can grow it. You can plant it in the soil or you can grow it in a pot. While it’s most common to grow outside, you can have success growing them indoors. Some people prefer this approach because it gives them more control over the environment their bok choy is growing in. This helps to prevent bolting.
Planting the bok choy is easy. You just need to select nutrient-rich well-draining soil. Add some drainage holes if the pot doesn’t have them already. Then, put the seed one and a half inches deep and cover it with the soil.
There are a few simple tips you need to remember when growing bok choy. This includes:
- Get the right pot size. You need to make sure that your bok choy has plenty of space to grow. Ideally, the pot should be 20 inches deep (50cm) and 12 inches wide (30cm).
- You can start seedlings earlier. One of the benefits of planting indoors is that you will have more control over the environment. Because it’s warmer, you can start planting them around four weeks before the last frost.
- Protect from pests. Bok choy is a popular target for pests like caterpillars and beetles. When you keep your pot indoors, it will be easier to spot the damage. Often, you just need to spray an organic insecticide to kill off any of these bugs.
One of the biggest concerns is the amount of sunlight the bok choy is getting. You will need to pick a spot where the plants will get six hours of natural sunlight each day. However, when you are growing plants indoors, this can be a challenge.
There is an easy way to solve this problem, though. You can use a grow light. This replicates the effect of natural sunlight. It’s best to pick an LED model. This will provide plenty of light, without producing too much heat and burning the bok choy.
The good news is that you won’t need to wait long to be rewarded with the fruits of your labor. Bok choy will be ready to harvest around 45 days after it has been planted. Once it’s ready, you want to harvest it fairly quickly. If you wait too long, it will turn to seed, especially if the weather is starting to heat up.
Bok choy loves to be in the sun. In most cases, they will need around six hours of sunlight, though in warmer climates they might only need three. If you are giving them too much sunlight, there is a risk that the plants will start to bolt. Once you get this balance right, though, it will be easy for you to cultivate bok choy.