Know about 'bok choy', the new leafy green which is trending
Due to lack of availability, we consume very less quantity of leafy greens than required. Most commonly found leafy green in our place is spinach. However, bok choy or pak choi, a new variety introduced in the market has become popular. This leafy green is commonly used in Gulf and Asian-European countries.
Bok choy is a rich source of nutrients. The plant belongs to the family of cabbage and cauliflower. Its leaves are similar to that of mustard plant. Dark green in colour, the leaves are in the shape of spoons. The stem and leaves are edible. Bok choy contains iron, calcium, manganese, phosphorous, fibres, anti-oxidants and vitamins A and B1.
Bok choy can be easily cultivated in Kerala. Water permeable soil and humid weather are suitable for this. Though it is not a winter vegetable, temperature above 36 degree Celsius during day time is not ideal for the plant. Both seeds and saplings can be used for propagation. Bok choy will be ready to harvest within 45 days.
December and January months are suitable for starting bok choy farming as the night temperature is nearly 25 degree Celsius during this time. Plants can be cultivated in grow bags too. Seeds are available via online.
Fertilizer need to be applies only once. Organic manure can be provided as base fertiliser. Cow dung powder or groundnut cake can be used as fertiliser. Worm compost also is good. Only moderate watering is required. Pest menace is rather low.
If fertiliser is given in liquid or slurry form, it can be applied twice a week. In Kerala, bok choy grows in plains and high ranges. It is the major ingredient in many delicious dishes like soup, salad, curry and the like.
(Author is an agricultural officer at Soil Survey Department in Thrissur. Contact at - Phone: 9447529904, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org)