Chinese cabbages have a long history of being grown in several Asian countries.
They are now becoming more frequently grown in the UK, and there are two basic forms. One type is shaped like a very large cos lettuce, with tightly packed yellow leaves with a sweet taste. Useful in stir fries and salads.They are rather prone to bolting in dry weather.
Pak Choi (Brassica rapa var. Chinensis) is the other type with thick crunchy spoon shaped leaves, suitable for steaming or for stir fry. To me they taste a bit like spinach being slightly bitter.
Fertile, moist ground in a sunny position is best for growing Chinese cabbages. They require warmer temperatures than the European types of cabbages. Therefore, delay sowing the seeds in situ until mid June, which will also reduce the danger of them bolting. Try and avoid transplanting them.
Sow the seeds in situ in June, 1 cm deep at 25 cm spacing with rows 30 cm apart. Keep them well watered and weed free.
Harvest them when they reach a useful size in about 2 months. You can either harvest the whole head or individual leaves.
Storage. They are best used fresh, as they do not store for long.
Pests and diseases. It is the usual ones of slugs, snails, caterpillars. They can also be attacked by the usual cabbage diseases.
Suggested varieties of cos type of Chinese cabbage.
Bues F1. Quick growing, dense, barrel shaped heads that are slow to bolt.
Suggested varieties of Pak choi.
Pak choi. They are usually listed thus, but there are some new F1 coloured varieties.