Tag Archives: How to Grow

Lavender Growing Tips from a Professional Lavender Farmer in the Southeast

I love lavender. It’s one of my go-to essential oils and a good lavender foot soak with salt is THE BEST! So, when my husband surprised me with a special mother/daughter lavender farm tour and workshop in Thomson, Georgia I was thrilled! Of course, it is more fun to travel as a family so I asked if he and one of our sons could tag along.

When we arrived at our hotel Friday evening, we were given two wonderful gift bags full of information on what we could do during our stay as well as treats and Thomson, GA swag (like a fun tumbler, luggage tags, vinyl stickers, and a drink cozy) and a couple of gift cards to use in the area (which we were delighted to take advantage of to stretch our dollars!

I’ve never been to Thomson before, but it’s a quaint town just outside of Augusta that is evidently known for a local music event called the Blind Willie McTell Music Festival (note: this Jazz festival is coming up Sept 23, 2023) and the Belle Meade Hunt Opening Meet which it hosts annually the first Saturday in November. There are also some large nurseries in the area that grow and ship out to the local region that used to have a large plant sale once a year, but when I checked out the event Web site, they hadn’t had the event the past three years for some reason. Bummer. Love me a good plant sale.

McDuffie Public Fishing Area near Thomson, Georgia is stocked from the nearby fish hatchery with plenty of room to fish.

Saturday morning we enjoyed a complementary breakfast at our hotel (nice spread with plenty of options) and then headed toward the fishing area where we planned to drop-off my husband and son at the lake which was five minutes away from where our tour and workshop was to take place at White Hills Farm.

Our Tour, Workshop, and Luncheon at White Hills Farm

The owner, Amy, was friendly and made us immediately feel welcome. She has a beautiful shop on site where she hangs her lavender bundles to dry. You could smell the lavender in the air and the cool A/C was a welcome already at 10 am in the morning.

She immediately took us on a tour of her gardens where we saw not only the lavender she grew, but also rosemary and other herbs, veggies, and legumes.

Varieties to plant in the Southeast and how to plant

When she showed me her newly planted lavender bed, she said that lavender likes sandy soil with good drainage. She recommended a mix of 1 part sand, 1 part potting soil, & 1 part compost. She recommended to water daily at first & then wait a day, water, & then 2 days, water, & then 3 days, water, and so forth until established continuing to spread time out between waterings while watching the young plant for any stress. In the Southeast, you will want to look for varieties that tolerate heat and humidity of course. She likes the varieties “Grosso” and “Lavendula X Intermedia” (aka: Provence) for cuttings & “Lavendula Angustifolia” aka: English Lavender for culinary use.

We grabbed a refreshing cool drink of Hibiscus Tea with lavender simple syrup and went out to harvest some lavender from her established hybrid lavender plants which were buzzing with busy bees. Amy showed us how to harvest, focusing only on stalks with larger flower bud heads and cutting the stem low, but where it was still green. If you cut down into the woody area, it will not continue to grow stalks from that area.

Workshop on how to make your own bundles to dry

We sat down to make bundles of our lavender to dry and a little vase to fill with culinary herbs Amy had collected while we walked and talked earlier on the garden tour. We were then treated to a nice lunch under two 100 year old pecans. The shade was lovely and the spread was beautiful and tasty as well!

Rosemary and lavender bundles to dry and a sweet little culinary herb bouquet to take home.
Rolls, chicken salad, pimento cheese, garden-to-table cucumber, and grape salad with yogurt, pecans and brown sugar (YUM!)
Strawberry cup cake on pretty floral plates.

My daughter and I had quite the laugh when one of the farm cats jumped up onto the table to try and sample our chicken salad. Another farm cat came along and soon the two were vying to compete for the food they knew was close by. Lunch and entertainment! LOL

Tips for Drying Lavender for Herbal Use in Tinctures, Salves, Sachets, and More

When drying herbs, you can make bunches to hang and secure them with a rubber band, but don’t make too large or you may get fungal issues in the center of the bunch. Your lavender needs warm air circulating around it to dry well. Amy also had some screens positioned to dry other herbs she was growing in her garden in her workshop and store area. If you use screens, just make sure you don’t use metal screens, but nylon. If you have a dehydrator (how I dry mine) lay out (flowers still on stem, without overlapping) & keep heat circulating 90°-100°F for 24-48 hrs until stem is crispy dry. Defoliate (strip) petals from stem and store in an amber jar with a lid that seals in a cool dry place until you are ready to use.

Can you see the bee?
Gift shop with fresh herbal teas to drink and cool off while you enjoy the farm.

Ideas for using culinary lavender

Amy also kindly shared some ideas for using lavender to enjoy with food:

  • Make a lavender simple syrup and add to most any beverage (teas, juice, cocktails, or sparkling water). If you’re wanting to try making your own lavender simple syrup, you can grab the recipe here.
  • Make infused sugar or infused salt (add several sprigs to a jar of sugar and let it sit up to six (6) weeks
  • Add lavender buds to your scrambled eggs or omelette while cooking (eggs and lavender pair well together).
  • Add to salad dressings and marinades.
  • Cook in lavender when making jams and jelly.
  • Decorate tops of cakes, cupcakes, desserts.
  • Bake with lavender (for most recipes, add about 1 Tbsp ground lavender to recipe.)
  • Roast chicken or port with a little lavender (and rosemary , too!)

Lavender Simple Syrup Flower Essence

I first enjoyed this at White Hill Farm in Dearborn, GA with Hibiscus Tea. The owner, Amy, shared this recipe with me and it was so fun to try I wanted to share with you!
Prep Time10 minutes
Cook Time10 minutes
Keyword: flower essence, lavender, simple syrup, syrup
Author: Amy from White Hills Farm


  • 1 Way to Heat Purified Water Amy recommended a Pyrex glass measuring cup
  • 1 Container with lid to store simple syrup in fridge when not using
  • 1 Mixing Spoon
  • 1 1-cup measuring cup


  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup purified filtered water
  • 8 or 10 sprigs dried lavender


  • Add boiling water to sugar in a a 2-cup Pyrex measuring cup and stir (or boil together in small saucepan on stove.)
  • When sure is dissolved, break apart lavender stems and add to sugar mixture.
  • Let steep for 30-60 minutes until desired taste, then strain out lavender.
  • Lavender syrup will keep in the refrigerator for about 3 weeks.


Lavender Lemonade:
1 cup lavender simple syrup (recipe above)
1 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice from 4-6 lemons
4 cups of filtered cold water
Combine all ingredients and taste. Add more syrup or juice if desired. Serve chilled or over ice.
Beverage ideas for herbal syrups:
  • Make a simple syrup using fresh mint, rosemary, basil, thyme, organic rose petals, hibiscus, or your favorite herb.
  • Add to unsweetened black or green tea.
  • Add fresh fruit juice and syrup to unflavored carbonated water (such as La Croix, Perrier, or soda water) to create your own bubbly sodas.

If you’re interested in visiting Amy’s lavender farm, White Hills Farm, and staying in Thomson, you can enjoy the same package we did by using this link. Be sure to let them know you heard about it from Grow Your Health Gardening! (We don’t get a kick back, but it helps them know how to best serve future interested visitors.)

Thomson, Georgia has some good local eateries

A few other highlights from the trip included eating at a barbecue place called Pigg-ah-boo’s. It was recommended by Amy whose husband liked to smoke meat as well. My husband makes amazing barbecue as well, so we love to try out other barbecue places while traveling. To be honest, when we first arrived I had my doubts. There was no one else there and the place lacked ambiance. But we sat down and soon others started to arrive to get food as well. Everything tasted fantastic!

Pigg-ah-Boos was worth the stop if you like good barbecue.

The next day we tried Fernanda’s Grill and Pizzeria because it was one of the few restaurants opened (and was also one of the recommendations Amy gave us. The food there did not disappoint either and we ate well! The above pizza pictured is called the “Fahgetaboutit” and was super filling. The service was good and we didn’t have to wait long to get our food on Father’s Day even though the place was busy.

Travel midweek and call ahead for tour of Georgia’s first all-robotic Dairy Farm

We tried to check out the first robotic dairy farm in Georgia, but you have to organize a tour in advance and minimum is $100 for them to even give a tour. They only tour through the week, so if you’re a week-end traveler, skip this option or call in advance to make arrangements.

Fun shopping, but shop before 3 pm on Saturday!

We did find some cool vintage stuff at a place called Aunt Tique and Uncle Junks. It was so nice that they stayed open until 6 pm as most of the shops in town closed at 3 pm and were closed on Sunday. I picked myself up a few vintage medicine glass pieces to put herbal tinctures in at a later date.

Aunt Tique and Uncle Junks is worth the stop (closed Sundays).
Check out E.T. hanging out in the VW in front of the store.
Vintage goods high and low, but easy to shop. We found some treasures!

All in all, a fun week-end getaway. If we were to go again, I would research places on our interest list and when they are open/closed because we missed out on some neat looking gift shops because of our Saturday morning plans and didn’t realize most of the stores shut down at 3 pm on a Saturday and then are closed on Sunday. I also wish the hotel’s pool had been open, because our kids would have really enjoyed swimming. But we were glad to know that fishing wasn’t too far away, because the guys really were able to relax lakeside for a few hours each day which was nice. I also loved the farm tour and am planning where I can plant some of the cultivars that Amy recommended. I would eat at the same places again and try to squeeze in a few more local restaurants instead of opting for familiar chain eats near the hotel our first night.

Part of the fun of traveling is trying new foods and seeing new things, so getting our game plan ahead of time would be helpful. If you want to visit Thomson, GA, check out this page they have created for out-of-towners visiting. If you live in the Atlanta area, be sure to check it out sometime! And don’t forget to plant some lavender this year!

Until later,


Grow Guide: Growing your own Arugula in a Hydroponic or Aeroponic Tower Garden

Learn how to grow your own arugula at home hydroponically / aeroponically from certified hydroponic grower, Erin Castillo of Grow Your Health Gardening and GYHG Seed Co.

Quick Links:
• Jump to Starting Arugula from Seed
• Jump to Arugula Hydroponic Growing Guide
• Jump to Arugula Nutritional Information
• Jump to How to Use Arugula
• Or continue to read the article… enjoy!

Why you should be growing your own arugula instead of buying from the grocery store or Big-Box Retailer

You know how you go to a fancy restaurant and they bring you your salad course and before they leave your table they offer fresh pepper for your salad and with your permission proceed to grind cracked pepper onto your salad? Think of arugula as your cracked pepper of the salad world.

Why Grow Arugula and How To Use It

I wanted to feature Arugula, because I just don’t think people understand how versatile this plant truly is and that it is beneficial in so many ways. It is chalk-full of beneficial nutrients (which we will cover later in case you wanted to know) while also being low in calories.

It is ideal for new home gardeners in building confidence of gardening skills as it grows quickly from seed (aptly nicknamed “Salad Rocket” in some countries) and can begun to be harvested off of and tossed into salads with other greens when the leaves are still young and small at 2″-3″ in length. (Note: If you leave the center 3-4 leaves, it will continue to produce as a cut-and-come-again plant.) Arugula is often found in the produce aisle in salad greens mix and called “mesclun”.

Mature Full-Grown Leaves and How to Use Them

I as a mother of five know that life can get busy, so if you fall behind on harvesting leaves when small and the plant gets more mature, that’s okay! It will be “spicier” or “peppery” in taste as a mature plant. Take these 6″-8″ long leaves and slice them from tip to base into 1/4″ or thinner strips and sprinkle over your salad or mix in (think of it like your freshly ground peppercorn). Diced leaves can even be added to dishes that call for cilantro or parsley, or mixed into pastas, side dishes, put on top of sandwiches, in wraps and/or added to soups. Its flavor compliments goat cheese, balsamic vinaigrette, tomatoes, olive oil and garlic, making it perfect to blend into dips or spreads.

fresh cut vegetable in bowl in kitchen
Photo by Anete Lusina on Pexels.com

Arugula can also be added to your basil pesto as added flavor or if you like the peppery flavor, you can substitute arugula in place of basil and make an entire pesto out of arugula leaves. We like this happy medium of a pesto recipe in particular over at PCOSbites. It’s great if you are looking for something that isn’t the same ol’ pesto recipe, but full of nutrients while still tasting delicious. We think of it as the new “elderberry syrup” as an immune-boosting meal for our family.

Healthy Pesto in a Mason Jar
Photo by: PCOSbites: Healthy Pesto Recipe

We also love to add arugula baby leaves to our sun-dried tomato, goat cheese, and pine nut mini pizzas! The kids don’t bat an eye-lash at the greens on their personalized pizzas because these taste so good!

Mature leaves can also be cooked or sautéed much like you would cook collards. With a TBSP of sherry, soy sauce, minced garlic, and vegetable oil + 1/2 tsp of salt and granulated sugar you can have a quick healthy side dish to accompany your sun-dried tomato mozzarella chicken. YUM!

faceless man showing appetizing pizza with arugula in restaurant
Photo by Valeria Boltneva on Pexels.com

If you don’t plan on eating a salad and just want to move it out of your system to put something else in, simply clean harvested leaves with water and pat dry with paper towels and spread out on a dehydrator. Dehydrate at 110ºF for 6 hrs until it breaks crisp (no moisture left in leaves.) Do not crush leaves, but place in a glass jar with an oxygen absorber and put in your spice and seasoning cabinet. When a recipe calls for pepper or if you’re making a soup, simply add in your dried arugula. BAM! (As Emeril would say…) or YUMMO! (As Rachel Ray would say…) You will get a hint of that pepper flavor as well as all the amazing nutrients that this little power-packed leaf holds.

Tip: After you dehydrate your arugula, don’t crush the leaves. Store the leaves as one piece as much as possible. When you “crush” or break up the leaves, it releases the flavonoids and other beneficial nutrients. We want those to stay in tack until we are ready to consume it in our cooking, so I always encourage folks to hold off crushing your leaves for this reason. This is also why you may notice your home-grown herbs and spices have so much more flavor than the crushed and processed ones from the grocery store.

—Erin Castillo, Owner Grow Your Health Gardening and GYHG Seed Co.

Nutritional Benefits You’ll Get from Eating Arugula

So, we’ve covered how to use arugula. Let’s briefly touch on why you should be eating this green. According to the USDA, a half cup (approximately 10 grams) of raw arugula has about:

  • 2.5 calories
  • 0.4 gram carbohydrates
  • 0.3 gram protein
  • 0.1 gram fat
  • 0.2 gram fiber
  • 10.9 micrograms vitamin K (14 percent DV)
  • 237 international units vitamin A (5 percent DV)
  • 1.5 milligrams vitamin C (2 percent DV)
  • 9.7 micrograms folate (2 percent DV)
  • 16 milligrams calcium (2 percent DV)

In addition, this leafy green contains some iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium and choline. It also is rich in phytonutrients offering 1,424 mg of Beto-Carotene B

Did you know that one cup of Arugula can meet over a quarter of the daily recommended value of Vitamin K? Vitamin K is essential to blood clot formation and bone formation. Some researchers even believe that vitamin K may be a key factor in bone development, more so than calcium. I want my children to have strong bones as they grow and I encourage them to eat salads daily. One way to help provide their bodies with what they need is to mix in some arugula into their daily salad.

Tip: If you’re having difficulty getting your children to eat greens, involve them in the growing process. Give them a garden that is completely their own area to tend and help them grow plants from seed. As they feel more connected to their food, their natural curiosity will kick-in and they will willingly try the food they have patiently waited for to grow.

—Erin Castillo, Owner Grow Your Health Gardening and GYHG Seed Co.

How to Grow Arugula in a Hydroponic System

In this article, I’ll focus on growing it hydroponically, because that’s my preferred method of growing, but a lot of the same tips can be applied to growing in soil.

You can grow arugula in any hydroponic or aeroponic system. In a vertical garden growing system like the Tower Garden or Farm Stand, you’ll want to place this plant towards the top as you will most likely be harvesting from it continuously and keeping the plant size small.

Starting your arugula from seed:
Choosing your arugula variety

If you’re growing in a hydroponic / aeroponic system, we strongly recommend you opt of seed that has already adapted to these growing conditions. Can seed from soil-grown parent plants grow hydroponically? Absolutely, but plants adapt epigenetically each growing season, so you’ll have a stronger healthier plant if you start out right with seed that has already adapted to the growing conditions you want to match. According to growers at the Seed Savers Exchange, seed DNA can hold 5+ years of growing seasons in which it can tap to survive and thrive. Choosing your seed stock source is more important than most realize.

Our arugula seed has been grown outdoors in the cool season of the Southeast in Zone 7 (not mentioning the zone here because it’s a perennial, but to help you get an idea of where the seed is grown so you can best match it to your own growing conditions.) GYHG Seed Co arugula seed can handle heat and humidity to a point before it bolts, but definitely plan on growing this during the cool season and start your seedlings 2 weeks before your last average frost date with the intention to move it outdoors as a transplant.

How many plants should you plant:

If you are wanting arugula on hand to pick fresh and mix into salads, I recommend planting four plants on a rotation (see below charts.) Place in upper level of Tower Garden or Farm Stand.

This is also a seed that you will want to plant on a continual basis on a four to five week cycle, so if you don’t have a Seed Starting Station set up already, you will want to read up about how to get one set up here. We recommend to plant four plants and keep them in your upper level of your Tower Garden or Farm Stand vertical garden growing system.

Week 1Week 2Week 3Week 4Week 5
Start 2
rockwool cubes
Week 1 seeds
Start 2
rockwool cubes
Week 3 seeds
Start 2
Week 1
into TG
Week 3
into TG
Copyright 2021 Grow Your Health Gardening
Week 6Week 7Week 8Week 9Week 10
Week 5 seeds
Start 2
rockwool cubes
Week 7 seeds
Start 2
rockwool cubes
Week 9 seeds
Pull Week 1 Plants.
Week 5
into TG
Pull Week 3 Plants.
Week 7
into TG
of pulling
older plants
transplanting seedlings
Copyright 2021 Grow Your Health Gardening

Arugula needs light to germinate. If you’re ever unsure of what a seed may require for germination, we have a handy resource on our Web site that lists out seeds that require special treatment that you may want to download or bookmark the page.

Outdoor planting in a hydroponics system: If planting in the spring, you will want to start your seeds indoors or in a greenhouse so that your seedling start will be about two to three weeks old by the time your last spring frost date rolls around. If planting in the fall, you’ll want to factor in your harvest date range and count backwards 4-6 weeks from your frost date.

Arugula likes to live around 45° to 65°F (10-18°C). Plant arugula so that it comes to harvest in cool weather. It may fail to germinate if it’s too warm. Use a UV light system of some sort to grow your seedlings indoors keeping the light source 8″-12″ if LEDs and 5″-6″ away from seedlings if fluorescent lighting.


How many seeds to plant per rock wool: We recommend planting about 3-5 seeds per rock wool cube. Arugula typically germinates within 4-8 days. Be sure to use seed that is packaged for the current growing season as it will aide your ability to germinate the seeds. You can always remove any excess seedlings down to two plants as the plants mature if you are concerned about crowding. Our philosophy is start out with more and thin down as needed (but don’t toss those microgreens you pull — they are healthy for you to eat as micro-greens).

How much nutrients you should give your seedlings:  Keep rockwool moist to the touch but not drenched. When you see a sprout, you can add a tsp of kelp to your water and water the young seedlings while giving them bright light from a grow light.

Thinning out your seedling starts: As the seeds germinate and grow, you will want to pull (or also called “thin out”) the weaker seedlings from the rock wool. (Remember, this is not a wasted plant — you can simply enjoy eating it as a microgreen.)  You will want to leave leave 1-2 plants per rock wool to grow to maturity.

Transplanting your seedlings into your hydroponic system:  Seedlings should be ready to transplant to your Tower Garden or hydroponic system about 2–3 weeks after sprouting. Seedlings plants should be about 1-2 inches tall, with 3-4 true leaves, before they are ready to leave the nest and enter into the hydroponic / aeroponic Tower Garden or other related system.

Finally, remember that arugula plantings should be staggered in roughly 2-3 week intervals in order to ensure a continuous harvest. If doing a spring planting, your growing season will be longer than a fall planting. You can extend your fall outdoor planting season by adding a professional grade heater to your Tower Garden reservoir keeping water temps in the 50-65º F range for the root zone to continue to uptake nutrients — just be sure to cover your Tower Garden outside with a weather protection blanket like this when freeze warnings appear.

delicious pasta bolognese with arugula and pink salt
Photo by ready made on Pexels.com

Nutrient levels for optimal growth throughout the growing season for arugula:

 0.8 – 1.2
(We recommend Tower Tonic Mineral Blend™ for a well-balanced nutrient solution to feed your plants the proper N-K-P and micro-nutrients. You can purchase a 1 gallon set of Part A and Part B here.)

PPM: 560 – 840
(We recommend Tower Tonic Mineral Blend™ for a well-balanced nutrient solution to feed your plants the proper N-K-P and micro-nutrients. You can purchase a 1 gallon set of Part A and Part B here.)

pH:  5.5-6.2
(pH is essential to help the plant uptake nutrients.)

Light: (Amount of sun or light exposure throughout the day)
Hydroponic arugula should get between 10 and 14 hours of light per day.

Arugula Temp Tips:
(Root zone temp is essential to help the plant uptake nutrients)

  • Maximum Temp 75º Degrees Fahrenheit
  • Optimal Day Cycle Temp  65º – 70º Fahrenheit
  • Optimal Night Cycle Temp  60º – 65º Fahrenheit
    (Note: arugula can handle some frost so long as the root zone stays above 50ºF, so use a water heater in your reservoir if you want to try pushing the limits on it growing in the cold.)
  • Seed Storage  40º to 70º degrees Fahrenheit
  • Germination  60º to 75º degrees Fahrenheit

Companion plants:

SOIL Growers: Note — Do not grow in soil with pole beans or strawberries. Good companion plants are bush beans, celery, carrots, nasturtium, mint, dill, lettuce, cucumbers, onions, rosemary, potatoes

HYDROPONIC Growers: See first chart on Cool Season Plants on this page for reference of what grows well at similar PPM ranges and pH ranges in a hydroponic / aeroponic system.

Harvesting your arugula:

Make a note of how many days to maturation on the variety of arugula you are planting and mark your calendar or in your gardening journal. When your plants have reached the baby leaf stage, take a sanitized clean pair of hand trimmers or scissors and cut the outer leaves of your arugula plant, leaving at minimum three center leaves to continue to grow. The plant will continue to produce leaves for you but will become spicier as the plant matures. If you don’t want spicier leaves, simply pull the mature plant at 5-6 weeks of age and replace the plant with a new transplant (see chart above). Ideally, your arugula should be eaten within a few hours of harvest; however, if storage is necessary, the correct conditions to prolong shelf life are rapid cooling down to 34°F (we accomplish this with an ice bath of water) and then spin the leaves dry and place between dry paper towels in a sealed lettuce container with and 95-98% percent humidity.

How to store arugula that is not consumed right away:

If you have more arugula producing faster than you can eat, there are a couple of options: dehydrating or freezing.  To dehydrate your arugula leaves, place on a dehydrator rack at 110º F for 6-24 hours. When the leaves are crunchy (you can break them in half), remove from the dehydrator and place in a tightly sealed pouch or Mason jar with an oxygen absorber. Dehydrated arugula can be used in soups and ground into a powder to add to pestos, soups, or even on meats for additional nutrients.

You can also freeze your crop in an air-tight bag or container and use in smoothies or defrost and use in recipes that may call for herbs.

Let us know if you have any questions in the comments below and happy growing!


365/7 Indoor Hydroponic Gardening Means Fresh Bok Choy to start the New Year!

I never used to eat Bok Choy. Never.

I didn’t even know for sure how to pronounce it, let alone how to eat it. It can be even confusing in how you spell it’s name. If you see two main references: Pak choi and bok choy — don’t be alarmed… they are the one and same plant and considered part of the mustard family. Normally these plants are a bit smaller Chinese cabbage with leafy, green leaves and white stalks that have a bit of a crunch but not as stiff as celery — sort of the texture of water cress. Pak choi or bok choy, mostly grows in Asian regions like the Philippines, China, and Vietnam.

Have you seen it in the grocery store? That’s where I first noticed it and also the very reason I never tried it. Whenever I would see it in the grocery store it would be floppy limp — ewe. Gross.

But every year, I commit myself to learning how to grow at least one new plant and a couple of years ago, Bok Choy was the one that I determined to tackle growing in my vertical garden Tower Garden hydroponic growing system (what is this?). When I actually tasted this plant straight off of the Tower Garden at it’s peak… well I fell in love with it as my new green go-to. This plant wasn’t meant to travel for days and days and sit on a grocery store shelf — it’s meant to be eaten freshly harvested.

Why I love to grow these cute little plants…

  • They grow fast. I’m a girl that likes to see some success from my efforts and these little bundles of green goodness are ready to start harvesting in 4-6 weeks.
  • You don’t harvest them like they harvest Bok Choy for feeding the masses. You’re missing out on this prolific little plant that produces leave after leaf from the center. All you have to do is continue to harvest the outer leaves and maintain the center three leaves for continual growth (about a 6-8 week continual growth with multiple harvests from the same plant). When the plant grows a bloom you know your harvest period has ended and you can swap out the plant for a new seedling waiting in the wings to go into your hydroponic growing system.
  • Did you know that Bok Choy ranks sixth on the Aggregate Nutrient Density Index (ANDI) for fruits and vegetables and is considered one of the world’s healthiest foods? I especially like that it is full of beneficial antioxidants and fights inflammation in the body.  DRI/DV from this plant include: vitamin K (64% DRI/DV), vitamin C (59% DRI/DV), vitamin A (40%),  folate (17%), calcium (16%), vitamin B6 (16%), and potassium (13%).
  • And I love how the leaves curl down and out a bit — sort of reminds me of a little bridal bouquet.

Varieties to try:

  • Purple Lady Bok Choy from RareSeeds.com is a beautiful plant and chock-full of antioxidants with it’s purple leaves and my new favorite Bok Choy to grow. (Remember half the fun of growing your own food is trying new vegetables you can’t find at your local supermarket!)
  • White Stem Bok Choy from our GYHG Seed Company (our own exclusive line of hydroponic-adapted seed that we grow here on our land) are a great starting point. If you want to try it without committing to a lot of seed to save, this is a great option (plant shown above and link to find seeds below).

Things to know as you grow Bok Choy / Pak Choi…

  • SEED STARTING: I typically see seeds germinate within 48-72 hours if using seeds from the previous growing season. I plant into rock wool and here are the conditions I recommend:
Seed Starting Guidelines for Bok Choy or Pak Choy
  • PLANTING TIMING: Transplant Bok Choy / Pak Choi starts outdoors into your Tower Garden hydroponic growing system as close to your freeze date as possible. You may want to add a water heater like this one for any freeze warnings and have a lightweight weather protection blanket specifically designed to fit a Tower Garden with one extension and have it on the ready to put over the seedlings should you get an unforeseen late freeze warning.  To find the local last frost date for your area, I like this resource (less ads than the Farmer’s Almanac web site.)

Ideal Tower Garden Hydroponic Growing Conditions for Bok Choy:

Tower Garden Hydroponic Growing Conditions for Bok Choy Pak Choy

Hydroponic Growing Conditions:

  • TEMP: Like cabbage, this plant likes to grow at 55ºF-76ºF temperature meaning it’s a spring or fall plant or grow indoors. Avoid the hot summers.
  • LIGHT: They tend to like 7-10 hours of light, so if you’re growing them indoors, don’t push them with extra light hours, it may actually end up slowing their growth.
  • PPM/EC: 1050-1400 ppm and 1.5-2.0 EC.  I recommend using Tower Tonic for a well-rounded supply of minerals that will benefit you nutritionally when the plant is harvested. I use this meter and keep it in the PPM range of around 1200.
  • pH: Keep plants in a pH range of 5.5-6.5. I use this pH meter and this pH up and pH down to maintain the range. (Remember, plants need to be in ideal pH range for uptake of nutrients / minerals to occur.)
  • Air movement is always a good idea with any plants you are growing, but we are not looking for windy air circulation, just a slight breeze or moving air in the room.
  • Final Tip: When growing hydroponically indoors, your timer will need to be set to 15 min on and 30 minutes off. If you want to keep this plant happy, add an aerator to your reservoir. It likes to have oxygenated water—a little more than just the aeroponic benefits that typically the Tower Garden provides on most occasions. (If you’re running your Tower Garden continuously outdoors during the day, you can skip the aerator.)

Pests and Diseases to be on the lookout for while growing Pak Choi:

  • PESTS: Aphids like this plant as well, so plant marigolds and petunias in the area (may even put some pots at the base of your Tower Garden) and do spot checks periodically on the stems and under those bodaciously beautiful green leaves. If you see aphids moving in, rub your thumb across the plant henceforth squashing them. You can follow-up with a spray treatment of Neem Oil. Once you get aphids, if you don’t eradicate them quickly, they will multiply every three days and may take your entire crop so heed my warning and spot check every day or so under those leaves and towards the base of the plant.

How I incorporate Bok Choy / Pak Choi into my meals for nutritional benefit…

  • Dice up quinoa and add it to your cooked quinoa
  • I love it in the wonderful Coconut Chicken Bok Choy Soup that warms your tummy and satisfies — my husband claims it’s better than the one he eats at the local Thai place in Atlanta! (Whoop whoop!)
  • Instead of going for traditional lettuce, put on top of your next homemade burger to add some crunch and nutritional benefit
  • Dice and throw it on top of chickpea salad for added “crunch”
  • Add to any super-food smoothie for a power-packed nutritional drink on the go

Our Exclusive Bok Choy / Pak Choi Cheat Sheet and Seed Organizer
(Great for your seed stash organization and quick reference)

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