Photo 1: Bok choy plant forming seed pods
Photo 2: Sunlight is illuminating the bok choy seeds inside the pod.
Photo 3: Bok choy seed pods fully mature and brown.
Photo 4: Collecting seeds from bok choy plants
You probably have noticed that some of your plants have grown tall, flowered and formed seed pods. Instead of cutting these plants down and chucking them in the trash or compost, harvest your seeds for your next planting. It is easy to do, and saves you from buying more seeds. I collected more seeds from one single bok choy plant, than what would come in an average seed packet. I share my extra seeds with family and friends.
How to Harvest Bok Choy Seeds
- 5 gallon bucket or brown grocery paper bag
- Garden shears
- Strainer with 1/8-inch to 1/4-inch holes
- Large bowl to catch seeds as they fall
- Seed container (e.g., envelopes, plastic snack bags, etc.)
- You will know when bok choy plants are ready to form seeds when the bok choy plants grow tall and produces flowers. These blooms will disappear and seed pods will form in its place upon pollination.
- You should collect the seeds when the plant is dry so avoid collecting them in the early morning or after they have been watered.
- When some of the seed pods start to turn brown, use your garden shears to cut the plant at the base of its stalk. Note: You can wait until the pods turn completely brown to skip the drying process (step 4), however, you risk some seed pods opening and releasing seeds into the garden. See Photo 3. You can also cut the stalk when the pods are still green, but do not cut them too early. If you do, you risk ending up with little to no seeds. I chose to harvest my seeds a little early because I have a small garden, and I am eager to reuse that garden space. See Photo 1.
- Tip: To find out whether your seed pods have seeds in them, hold them up against the sunlight. Turn the pod so that the sun will hit the pod in a way that illuminates the contents inside. If you see round seeds inside about (about 1/8" in diameter), you can cut the pods off for drying. See Photo 2.
- After you cut the stalks, place them in the bucket or paper bag upside down. Allow the seeds to completely dry out in a cool, dry location.
- You may notice that some of the seeds have already been released in the bucket or paper bag during the drying process. This is a good sign. Place the strainer over the large bowl. Then take a seed pod and use your hands to split it in half lengthwise to release the seeds. You may have to twist or rub the pods a little to work the seeds loose. The small brown seeds will fall through the strainer into the bowl, but bigger pieces of debris will remain in the strainer. After you break your last pod, dump the rest of the contents of the bucket or paper bag into the strainer to collect any remaining seeds. See Photo 4.
- Remove the strainer. Then pour the seeds into your seed container. Label the seeds with its name and date collected. Then store seeds in a cool, dry location until you are ready to plant them in the garden.
Last Updated: July 25, 2011