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Plant Profile: Shiro Baby White-Stem Pac Choi

Shiro Baby White-Stem Pac choiHere at our South Windsor campus, we recently started growing Shiro Baby White-Stem Pac Choi in our GT70 Vertical NFT system.  We have grown this plant in some of our other systems here before, but in the spirit of advancing our hydroponic expertise, we decided to experiment with our vertical system.  What this research revealed, is that plants like Spinach, Kale and Pac Choi grow great in this type of system.  We’ve continued this research by growing other crops in the vertical system, but none of them have grown as full, especially when compared to the Shiro Baby White-Stem Pac Choi.   Learn more on how our experiment went in this month’s plant profile.

Shiro Baby White-Stem Pac Choi Brassica rapa

Days to Bloom: 30 days

Growing Method

As we have mentioned, we are currently growing our Pac Choi in our GT70 NFT Vertical System.  We have found that growing this particular crop in the vertical system offers the greater yields that we have desired.  This is because of the size of the end product. You don’t want to have a very tall plant, and in the vertical system it is easier to control the height of the crop.  The benefit to having a shorter plant is that you will be able to have a harvest in a shorter amount of time.

GT70 Vertical System

Lighting 

For ideal growth, Pac Choi needs to have 14 hours of light.  For lighting we use our T-5 bulbs, which are 54W bulbs.  The GT70 Vertical System provides ideal and even lighting to the Pac Choi, as it has lights mounted above every tier.

Lighting the GT70 Vertical SystemTop row lighting of GT70 System

Temperature and Humidity

In our grow rooms we aim for a temperature of 75 degrees Fahrenheit with 50% humidity.

Nutrient Requirement

We use a custom blend of nutrients, with an EC of 1.9 and a pH of 6.

Support

No support is needed for this crop.

Care

Pac Choi productionThis variety of Pac Choi is a cool season crop; it tends to grow really fast with warmer temperatures. To be sure that the plant doesn’t take off, make sure to keep the growing environment at about 75 degrees Fahrenheit.  Overall this is an easy plant to take care of.  You will need to propagate in rockwool and keep it in the flood table until the roots are popping out the bottom of the media. Once it is transplanted into the system, the only necessary regular care is keeping an eye out for pests.

Pollination 

No pollination is needed, because Pac Choi is a leafy green.

Harvesting

Pac Choi is ready to be harvested at 30 days.  This particular variety will have a nice small, compact shape to it as it is a dwarf variety, and the stems will be a bright white color.  To harvest, simply cut the stems right above the rockwool and remove.  You don’t need to harvest the Pac Choi with its roots.

Harvesting Pac Choi

Pac Choi is a single harvest crop, so once a harvest is complete you will need to replant or close up the open space in the channel.

Pests  

Pac Choi is susceptible to getting Flea beetles.  They damage the plant by chewing small holes into the foliage.  Flea beetles can be controlled in Pac Choi by covering the rows of channels from the time of transplanting to harvesting.

Tips/Tricks

While experimenting with this plant we have noticed that growing Pac Choi in the GT70 is better than compared to the GT50 system.  Pac Choi has a large root mass, so it requires more room in order to grow healthy.  The GT70 offers wider channels that provide plenty of room for the roots, allowing plants, like Pac Choi, the opportunity to thrive.

If you will be growing to sell, you will need to be careful while packaging.  Pac Choi is full of water, which can make the stems very rigid and cause them to break easily.

That is how we produce Shiro Baby White-Stem Pac Choi at our South Windsor campus.  If you have any questions on caring for this plant or about our GT70 Vertical NFT system please leave us a comment.

Pac Choi in GT70 System

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