Choy sum, also spelled as Choi sum, is a leafy vegetable popular for it’s use in Chinese cuisines.
The vegetable contains important metabolites, amino acids, essential minerals, and vitamins.
Growing Choy sum from seeds is not difficult, and you can do it in a few easy steps.
If you want to add Choy sum to your garden, here are a few tips on how to grow Choy sum from seeds.
- Choy sum is grown primarily during the cool days of late spring and early fall in temperate regions.
- However, it can be successfully harvested in all four seasons with protection from heat and frost.
- These cool-season tasty vegetables are incredibly easy to grow and require regular watering and a watchful grower.
For anyone interested in knowing more about this unique vegetable, read below for a quick guide on how to grow Choy sum from seeds.
- What Is Choy Sum?
- How to Grow Choy Sum From Seeds?
- Harvesting Choy Sum!
- How to Grow Choy Sum From Seeds Indoors?
What Is Choy Sum?
Yu Choy sum, Chinese flowering cabbage, or Bok choy are all names given to “Choy sum,” a popular vegetable in Chinese cuisine.
It is a type of cabbage with long, narrow leaves and white flower buds. This vegetable can be eaten raw in salads or cooked in stir-fries and soups. Some people like to eat it with oyster or soy sauce for extra flavor.
The word “Choy” means “vegetable” in the Cantonese language, while “sum” means “to flower.”
Choy sum is a nutritious leafy vegetable that belongs to the Brassica family.
This vegetable is getting popular in Asian cuisines for its distinct taste as it adds flavor to soups and steamed dishes.
You can enjoy Choy sum in a variety of ways, i.e.
- Chopped and served raw with the stems left on to provide texture—the crunchy texture is a perfect complement to the rich cheese.
- For a quick side dish, stir-fried in a bit of olive oil with garlic and soy sauce.
- You can make a refreshing salad, steamed and tossed with soy sauce, rice vinegar, toasted sesame oil, ginger, salt, and pepper.
With all that aside, let’s return to our primary concern and see how to grow Choy sum from seeds.
How to Grow Choy Sum From Seeds?
Cool-season vegetables like Choy sum can be grown right in your backyard.
They are so easy to grow that you can harvest them on the same day they germinate. The key to successfully growing Choy sum from seeds is mentioned in this article.
Continue reading below to learn how to grow Choy sum from seeds.
1. Best Time to Plant
You must plant the seeds when the danger of frost has passed.
- It is best to sow Choy sum seeds during the last two weeks of spring.
- Choy sum seeds need at least 18°C of temperature, though 32°C could also work. Any temperature above and below this point will cause your plant to bolt. (Bolting means the plant will start making flower stalks too quickly, and it would cease vegetable growth.)
- If you live in areas where there are sudden fluctuations between cold and warm weather, then it is best to plant the Choy sum seeds indoors. Later, you can transplant the baby plants outdoors when the temperature becomes ideal for their growth.
- Late summer and early fall is also the time that can guarantee the success of your Choy sum seeds.
Now, it’s time to choose the location where you want to grow your vegetable.
2. Choose the Perfect Location
The best place to plant vegetable seeds depends on the type of vegetable you want to grow.
- Choi sum is a sensitive plant that doesn’t stand out in much heat, so you should plant it outside only when the weather is not too hot.
- Choose a location where the temperature is ideal for this vegetable.
- You can also plant Choy sum in pots, but growing outside is best to get a vast field of your new vegetable.
However, ensure the planting site has the following features:
- Good drainage
- Fertile soil
- Surrounded by sunlight and a little shade
Now, let’s start the process.
3. Soak Choy Sum Seedlings
So now, when you are ready to plant the Choy sum seeds at the perfect time and location, you have to soak Choy seeds.
- To grow Choy sum from seeds, take a successful Choy sum harvest, and remove the seeds from fleshy stems with your fingers.
- Start by soaking the seeds in water for 24 hours.
- Then, drain the seeds and place them on a damp paper towel.
- Fold the towel over the seeds, so they’re covered, and put them in a warm place.
Use these seeds right after draining their water—refrigerating them might affect their growth efficiency.
4. Sow and Plant
Now, it’s time to sow:
- Sow about 2–3 seeds per floret of the harvest leaves, lightly pressing the seeds into the soil surface or lightly sprinkling them over it.
- The Choy sum seeds should have an ideal distance of 1/2 inch and be buried 1/4 inch deep down the soil.
- In case of multiple Choy sum rows, maintain a distance of 18–30 inches among the seeds.
- Choy sum plants grow about 1 foot wide, so enough space between each plant is essential for air circulation.
You may continue increasing this growth by planting new seeds gradually.
Wait for the seedlings to sprout!
5. Irrigate Choy sum
To irrigate Choy sum, water the soil thoroughly using a watering can or hose with a sprinkler attachment. Be sure to wet all the leaves evenly. Water early in the day so the leaves have time to dry before nightfall.
A consistent watering routine is required for this plant for the best growth.
6. Fertilize Choy Sum Plants
Choy sum plants must be fertilized regularly to ensure strong and healthy growth.
- You can apply a good quality all-purpose fertilizer according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
- A balanced fertilizer rich in potassium, nitrogen, and phosphorus is recommended as the Choy sum is a heavy feeder.
- Choy sum also benefits from a top dressing of compost or manure in early spring.
Keep your feeding as organic as possible; chemical feeders are not recommended.
7. Weed the Garden
Weeding the garden is an integral part of gardening, as it helps to keep your plants healthy and free from competing weeds. Choy sum is a fast-growing vegetable, so keeping up with weeding is essential to prevent the plants from being overwhelmed.
- To weed your Choy sum garden, start by removing any dead leaves or stems from the plants.
- Then, use a hoe or spade to loosen the soil around the base of each plant.
- Be careful not to damage the roots as you work.
- Once the soil is loose, pull out any weeds that you see.
- Repeat this process every week or two throughout the growing season.
If you let the weeds get ahead, they’ll compete with your Choy sum for resources and may eventually take over the plants.
With regular weeding, you can enjoy a bountiful harvest of fresh Choy sum all season long.
8. Provide Heat Protection
Choy sum is a heat-sensitive plant, so protecting it from the sun is vital when growing outdoors.
- One way to do this is to start the seeds indoors in the shade. You can transplant the seedlings outside after they are two or three inches tall.
- Another way to protect Choy sum plants from the heat is to give them 2–3 hours of sunlight and then bring shade over them. It will prevent the leaves from getting too much sun and turning yellow.
- You can also cover the plants with a light cloth during hot weather to help keep them cool.
Once the plant is growing healthy, it is also essential to ensure proper preventive measures.
9. Prevent Pest Infestations
Pests can quickly become a problem when growing Choy sum from seeds.
- Start with clean, sterile equipment and a well-sealed grow room or greenhouse to prevent pests.
- Inspect your plants regularly for signs of pests and take action immediately if you see any.
- Be sure to watch for common pests such as aphids, whiteflies, and spider mites.
- Also, use row covers to prevent any pest infestation.
Now you know how to grow Choy sum from seeds.
Harvesting Choy Sum!
Harvesting Choy sum before it bolts or sends up a flower stalk would be best.
Noticing early signs of blossoming is vital in spring crops to avoid bolting. If you see any bolting signs, immediately harvest the entire crop to prevent a total loss.
- You’ll know it’s time to harvest when the leaves are about the size of your palm.
- The standard length of the mature Choy sum is 12 to 24 inches and is ready for harvest. However, the mature size of the Choy sum depends on its variety.
- Sometimes people pick baby plants to use in salads and stir-fries.
- You can quickly harvest by cutting off the stalk below where it meets the ground and then pulling up on the head of the Choy sum.
- If you want to harvest just one leaf, you can cut it off from the cluster. Cut it off at the base of the plant using sharp shears or garden knives.
Choy sum plants will continue to produce new leaves throughout the growing season.
Storing the Harvest
Here’s how to store the Choy sum harvest:
- Don’t wash the harvest crops; damp plants tend to rot more quickly.
- Make even sections of the Choy sum crop and place each leafy section in a zip bag.
- Make holes in the bag for air circulation and place the bag in the refrigerator’s crisper to prolong the freshness. The fresh Choy sum yield can sit in the fridge for 4–5 days.
- Another way to store the leaves is by placing them in a jar of cold water to retain Choy sum’s crispness.
- Place the jar in the fridge and enjoy its freshness for up to two days.
- However, if you have to store it longer than this duration, then freeze it.
- Freezing can be the best option to maximize the shelf life of your Choy sum.
- For this, rinse the leaves properly under tap water.
- Then blanch by adding them to boiling water.
- After two minutes, transfer the Choy sum leaves to cold water.
- Dry them with a paper towel and place them in freezing bags ensuring no air is trapped inside.
- Store it properly inside the freezer.
- If you keep Choy sum constantly frozen at 0°F, it can easily remain fresh and tasty for 2–3 months.
- You may also try pressure caning to store on the shelf for up to a year.
- Last but not least, you can try dehydration or pickling to enjoy Choy sum all year long.
Here’s a video guide on how to grow Choy sum from seeds:
How to Grow Choy Sum From Seeds Indoors?
As this sensitive plant can’t tolerate much heat or cold, it becomes crucial to plant it indoors.
So, here’s the method to grow Choy sum seeds indoors.
- After soaking the seeds, fill a tray with moistened potting mix and sow the seeds thinly.
- Cover the tray with plastic wrap or a lid to maintain humidity and place it in a warm spot.
- Keep the soil moist but not soggy, and wait for the seeds to germinate, which should take 7–10 days.
- When they are 4–6 inches tall, transplant them into individual pots or outdoors into your garden beds.
- Fertilize every two weeks with a suitable fertilizer.
- Choose a sunny spot in your garden with well-drained soil for transplanting outdoors.
That’s all for today!
Let’s head toward the conclusion.
We hope this guide on how to grow Choy sum from seeds has been helpful.
With a bit of patience and care, it is effortless to grow Choy sum from seeds.
By following the simple steps outlined in this article, you can successfully grow this delicious and healthy vegetable.
Choy sum is an excellent addition to any meal, so why not try growing your own?
Let us know how your experience went in the comments below.
We’re here for you if you have any questions or want more information! Be sure to contact us with your questions or concerns.