Cultivate Chinese cabbage

Last updated 11:55 14/09/2012
CHINESE CABBAGE GROWING: Former Manawatu Standard photographer Ben Curran waters pak choi in Marlborough.

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Pak choy, bok choy or pak choi. There are plenty of different names used for Chinese cabbage.

But whatever you like to call it, pak choi is a staple every vege garden needs. These stalky greens contain antioxidants and vitamins C and A and, more importantly, taste fantastic in stir-fries.

At Awapuni Nurseries, we sell pak choi in both Traditional Value and Pop'n'Grow varieties.

The seedlings are grown with strong individual root systems.

But Pop'n'Grow seedlings are perfect for beginners and kids, because they're packaged in pots that protect the roots, making them guaranteed to grow.

Traditional Value seedlings are perfect for the budget-conscious gardener.

Simply pop down to your local supermarket, Bunnings, or The Warehouse and grab a bundle. Alternatively, head to the online plant shop at

Once you've got your seedlings you need to find a sunny, well-drained spot to plant. Add some lime to sweeten the soil before you start and don't plant where you've grown brassicas before - this will help prevent club root. Pak choi are fantastic for companion planting because they're quite quick to mature. I like to plant mine in between veges such as spring onion and garlic. By the time the other plants start to mature and need the space to grow, I've already eaten my Chinese cabbage.

Once you've found the perfect spot, dig a little hole and place your seedling inside. Plant your seedlings around 20 centimetres apart.

If you're still getting frosts, cut a plastic milk bottle and place it over the top of each seedling to protect the plant while it gets established. Don't forget to watch out for slugs, snails and blackbirds if they are a problem where you live.

In about six to eight weeks your plants should be about 30cm high and ready to harvest. Simply cut the plant off at the base, or pick the leaves off as you need them. My final Tod's Top Tip is to plant one bundle at a time, every couple of weeks for ongoing supply.

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