Pechay (Brassica pekinensis L.) also known as bok choy, Pak choi or Chinese white cabbage is an annual vegetable crop grown for its foliage for used in soup, salad, solo vegetable dish and many other oriental cooking. It can be eaten as cooked or delicious raw as a single dish or mix with other vegetables.
It is rich with Vitamins and minerals which is ideal for body conditioning and supply of needed minerals in our body. Vitamins found in pechay are the following; Ascorbic acid, Vitamin C, Riboflavin, Vitamin B2, Niacin, Vitamin B3, Vitamin A, Vitamin A, and also beta-carotene, and Vitamin A.
Each plant produces a minimum of 10-14 erect stalks, measuring at least 8-10 inches long. For best result, Pechay should be grown during the cold climate. They can also be grown as a spring or fall crop if no other crops are planted for the season.
Ways to grow Pechay
Soil Requirements. The best soil medium for pechay is rich with organic materials mix with animal manures and rice hull charcoal or sand. The soil mixture ratio should be; 1 part rich garden soil, 1 part dried animal manure, and 1 part rice hull charcoal or sand.
Make your mixture enough to cover for your seed box, germinating tray and for the containers used for permanent planting.
Sowing seeds. Sow the seeds in a seed box filled with your soil mix evenly in straight line and press a little but don’t cover. Moisten the soil just enough to wet them. Don’t over water, for the seeds might be drained out. Place in a shaded area, in your nursery until the seedling comes out.
Transfer seedlings to a germinating tray. When the seedlings developed two true leaves, thin them and transfer to your prepared germinating tray filled with the soil mix previously used in your seed box. Gradually expose your seedlings to direct sunlight to acclimatize them with the sun rays, until they are already hardened to withstand the outside environment.
Transfer to prepared containers. Once your seedlings have already developed four true leaves, transplant them to your prepared containers filled with the soil mixture. Select the containers you can use form plastic glasses, small thin cans, spare tires, or anything you can get from waste garbage. Make sure there is a drainage hole below the containers to drain out excess water.
Water management. Water them just enough to wet the soil. Don’t over water the plants to avoid rotting of the roots caused by to much water accumulation in the containers.
Pest and disease management. Pechay is a hardy plant because they are a short season crop, sometimes some pests are confused when to attack. But, there are cases when pin worms and cutworms manage to see them. If you see their presence, control them by making your homemade insecticides. Here is my formulation; 2 tablespoons vegetable oil, 2 tablespoons baking soda, and 2 tablespoons powdered laundry soap to 1 gallon water. Mix thoroughly the solution, and spray directly to the affected plants. Continue spraying until the pests are controlled.
Harvesting. Pechay is ready for harvest 30 – 35 days from sowing. If you’re using them for home cooking alone, you can trim only some number of stalks from the standing crop leaving for future use. If you have some extra which you think worth sharing, you can give your neighbors and friends some extra plant.