Friday, December 03, 2021

Fenton Friday: The Joy of Bok Choy

Guest Post by Charlotte Crook

I grew Bok Choy during my fall internship at Washington Gardener Magazine. I had experience raising houseplants and helping my parents with their garden, but I had never worked in an edible garden before. Though there was lots of trial and error, the experience proved to be rewarding and I can see myself growing more edibles in the future. 

Washington Gardener's editor, Kathy Jentz, two other interns, and I met on Friday afternoons throughout the season. After discussing our assignments, we went to the plot at the Fenton Community Garden in downtown Silver Spring. 

At the beginning of September, I planted Bok Choy and 'Cherry Belle' Radish seeds. I waited eagerly to see my sprouts start forming, expecting to see them by the next week or so. The seeds ended up being "stale," so they never grew. It was disappointing, but I knew this could be part of the process. 

By October, I had replanted, this time using newer 'Shanghai Baby' Bok Choy seeds and a five-color radish seed mix. These seeds germinated quickly and I was relieved. 

Once the seeds germinated, there wasn’t too much maintenance. I watered the plants on weeks when we didn’t get much rain and weeded the bed around them. I had to remove some extra seedlings because the bed got crowded, but that was a quick fix and the plants didn’t suffer any long-term damage from that issue.

I harvested my Bok Choy in mid-November. I cooked it in a stir fry later that week. It tasted noticeably different than my store-bought produce. Not only was it fresher, I felt prouder about the meal, having grown an ingredient myself. 

My radishes are almost ready to be harvested and I’m already looking up recipes for them as well. 

Growing edibles for the first time impacted me more than I thought it would. I now have a better understanding and appreciation for fresh produce. I will definitely be doing this more in the future.

About the Author:

Charlotte Crook is a senior journalism major minoring in history at the University of Maryland, College Park, MD. She is an intern this fall with Washington Gardener and is passionate about raising house plants (to varying degrees of success).

About Fenton Friday: Every Friday during the growing season, I'll be giving you an update on my community garden plot at the Fenton Street Community Garden just across the street from my house in zone 7 Mid-Atlantic MD/DC border. I'm plot #16. It is a 10 ft x 20 ft space and this is our 8th year in the garden. (It opened in May 2011.) See past posts about our edible garden by putting "Fenton" into the Search box above.

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