Throughout the fall, we lightly pruned and harvested our bok choy crop. By mid-December, the bok choy had started to grow tall stems with flowers in the center of bunches of leaves. When bok choy flowers like this, it is called bolting. It’s a sign that the plant is in shock due to temperature, water availability, or transplanting. Bok choy plants will start to bolt if exposed to temperatures under 55 degrees Fahrenheit or warm weather above 70 degrees Fahrenheit. Fall has been exceptionally warm here in Philadelphia, which may have caused these cool weather crops to bolt.
The stems and leaves of the plant are edible both before and after the plant bolts, but their flavor may change. If the flowers are left on the plant, they will eventually turn into seed pods.
First, we cut the flowers off the stem to place in a vase. Then, we harvested all of the bok choy plants by cutting it at the base close to the soil. Leaves can also be harvested individually.
Some of the bok choy leaves had turned yellow. Once the leaves start to turn yellow or brown, they are no longer good to eat. We gathered these yellow leaves, and put them in our compost bin.