Baby Bok Choy

Sob! Very disappointed in my baby bok choy planting.
I put the seeds in I think around December -- maybe late November, just before I left for 2 weeks in Morocco. Dammit - next time I will keep better records.
Anyway, they grew fine, except that I didn't thin soon enough -- a continuing fault in my gardening.
They were still small when they suddenly went to seed. This, in the middle of "winter" here in So. Calif.
This when my mesclun, planted months earlier, was still doing fine.
(Our "winter" has been unusually weird. Usually the weather here is very stable, but due to YOU KNOW WHAT there have been spells of heat followed by spells of cold, and finally some rain).
Here are my q. to this Honorable Body:
Do any of you have experience with baby bok choy? Especially people with similar climates.
Are you supposed to actually pick the little plants when they are still so small?
What could have caused them to bolt so suddenly?
Is "baby bok choy" really different from the veggies one buys at the farmers markets? If so, how?
Any wisdom appreciated.
Persephone
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snipped-for-privacy@NoSpam.com said:

It is likely that the stress of being too closely planted combined with the fluctuating temperatures caused them to bolt. Cool followed by hot can trigger bolting.
Cabbage-y greens tend to be vulnerable to bolting after temperature fluctuations, with some stages of growth being particularly susceptible ("seven leaf stage" pops into my head, but I couldn't quickly verify that).
The mesclun mix (depending on what what in it) might be more day-length sensitive when it comes to bolting.

Not a similar climate, but I only grow this as a fall crop. And I never grow it sown directly in the ground, but always start it as transplants. I set the plants into a 4x8 foot bed no closer than 10" in each direction.
(If I tried to grow this as a spring crop it would inevitably bolt. And attract flea beetles in masses and swarms of cabbage butterflies bent on reproduction.)

No, they will form substantial plants, though smaller than bok choy, with flatter, greener stems and more oval leaves. As in this picture:
http://preview.tinyurl.com/bgfvy2
Which links to: http://www.dallasnews.com/sharedcontent/dws/img/v3/02-06 - 2008.NF_06BokChoy1.G322B5BMG.1.jpg

Stress from crowding.. Cool weather followed by hot weather. Add in water stress, too.

Baby bok choy I rarely see at markets here. It is not the same as the large, white-stemmed bok choy. The shape, texture, and color of the leaves and stems are distinctly different. Bok choy has a sharper flavor, and baby bok choy more delicate and slightly sweeter. (At least, the varieties I grow do.)
Baby bok choy I might steam whole leaves and small heads and serve with oyster sauce.
I usually slice the stems of bok choy for stir-fry and add the chopped greens to the dish at the last minute, or use the green parts in soup.
--
Pat in Plymouth MI

"So, it was all a dream."
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My mesclun is in my kitchen greenhouse window. I planted it heavily in a window box; but I'm wondering if I should just leave them and take snips when they're about 4" high or should I thin them out? I never grown them this way. They look very heavily; but definitely cramped!
June
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wrote:

Very educational. I didn't have a clue.

Why start as transplants only? Due to your weather, or ...?

Dammit, I'm going to try again, now that the big rains (big for LA <g> might be over.

How gorgeous!

GREAT IDEA! I'm always forgetting that the stems take more cook time.
Thanks for all help.
Persephone
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snipped-for-privacy@NoSpam.com said:

Transplants are just far more successful. The seeds sprout in optimal conditions (no competition from weeds and no pests). I've actually compared direct seeding to seeding in pots at the same time. For anything in the cabbage family, transplanting works better.

pale green stems and burgundy leaves.
http://www.johnnyseeds.com/images/catalog/product/2736_MED.jpg

Very happy to oblige.
--
Pat in Plymouth MI

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wrote:

Kitizawa in CA. They germinate so quickly and get to full growth so fast, that I don't think it'd be worth the transplanting. I had pots and pots of it growing at various stages all season long. It became out favorite stir-fry green.
Still, it's an interesting idea and I'll give transplants a try with larger varieties.
This is where I got the seeds for the itty-bitty ones.
http://www.kitazawaseed.com/seed_274-78.html
Boron
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