Best Fertilizer For Pechay

Pechay (Brassica rapa) is a leafy vegetable popularly grown in the Philippines. Pechay is also known as bok choy, pak choi, and Chinese cabbage. Pechay thrives well in the tropical climate and can be grown year-round. Pechay is a fast-growing vegetable that matures 30-40 days after sowing.

Proper fertilization of pechay at a certain growth stage is vital to its growth. Fertilizers help to maximize yields and produce healthy, vigorous plants. This article explains the best fertilizer options for pechay and its usage to ensure good growth and high yield.

pechay vegetable

Organic Fertilizers for Pechay

Aside from providing essential nutrients for pechay growth, Organic fertilizers help to improve soil health. Compared to chemical fertilizers, organic options break down slower and release nutrients over an extended period.

Two excellent organic fertilizer choices for pechay are compost and vermicompost.

Compost contains a mixture of decomposed organic matter like leaves, grass clippings, and food scraps to provide a balanced set of macro and micronutrients that are critical for healthy pechay growth.

Compost releases nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium slowly, ensuring a steady supply of nutrients. It also contains beneficial microorganisms that protect plant roots and improve the soil structure.

vermicompost fertilizer picture

Vermicompost is a nutrient-rich fertilizer produced from worm castings. It results from earthworms consuming organic materials and excreting them in digested form. Vermicompost has high levels of nitrates, phosphorus, potassium, calcium, and magnesium.

Vermicompost also contains water-soluble nutrients that are immediately available for plant uptake. In addition, vermicompost enhances soil biodiversity and provides enzymes and hormones that stimulate plant growth.

Both compost and vermicompost boost pechay yields and quality when used as fertilizer. They increase pechay growth, leaf production, and nutrient content compared to unfertilized plants.  Their regular use can sustain pechay cultivation and maintain soil health over long periods.

Urea Fertilizer for Pechay

Urea fertilizer is a popular source of nitrogen for pechay and other leafy green vegetables. Nitrogen is crucial for promoting healthy, vigorous foliage growth.

Urea contains 46% nitrogen which is readily available for plant uptake. Apply 80-100 grams of urea per square meter, 1-2 weeks after transplanting pechay seedlings. This provides the nitrogen boost pechay needs for establishing lush, tender leaves. 

You can make a second application of urea when plants start flowering, around 4-6 weeks after transplanting. Use the same dosage of 80-100g per square meter. This extra nitrogen will support continued leaf growth through the flowering and fruiting stages.

Timing urea applications just after transplanting and again during flowering ensures an adequate nitrogen supply when pechay needs it most. Providing the right amount of nitrogen prevents deficiencies that cause stunted, yellowing of plant plants. It also prevents excess nitrogen which can promote foliage growth at the expense of yields.

NPK Fertilizer for Pechay

NPK fertilizer provides pechay with a balanced mixture of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. Nitrogen promotes lush, green leaf growth. Phosphorus supports root, flower, and seed development. Potassium improves overall plant vigor and disease resistance.

Before applying NPK fertilizer, it is advisable to test the soil to determine the nutrient levels in the soil. The result of the soil test guides in deciding the nutrients needed to complement the nutritional status of the soil and the type of fertilizer to apply.

The ideal NPK ratio for pechay is 14-14-14 or 16-16-16. Lower nitrogen formulas like 10-10-10 can also be applied. Apply approximately 1/2 to 1 tablespoon of the NPK fertilizer per plant. Gently work into soil and water thoroughly after each application.

NPK fertilizer can be applied before planting, at transplanting, and as side dressing every 2-3 weeks. Too much NPK fertilizer can burn plants and damage the soil ecosystem. It’s better to apply smaller amounts more frequently, than heavy doses at one time.

Other Inorganic Fertilizers

Aside from urea, two other common inorganic fertilizers used for pechay are ammonium sulfate and muriate of potash. 

1. Ammonium Sulfate

Ammonium sulfate provides a quickly available source of nitrogen for plants. It is made up of 21% nitrogen and 24% sulfur. Ammonium sulfate is highly soluble and dissolves rapidly in soil to be accessible to plant roots. It is ideal for vegetables like pechay that need a nitrogen boost.

Apply 1-2 tablespoons of ammonium sulfate per square meter of soil around pechay plants every 2-3 weeks. Broadcasting and light incorporation of this fertilizer into the topsoil is recommended. Ammonium sulfate works well with organic fertilizers to provide both quick and slow-release nutrition.

2. Muriate of Potash

Muriate of potash contains potassium in a water-soluble form that plants can readily absorb. Potassium strengthens pechay plants and improves their resistance to pests and diseases. It also helps produce sturdier stems and richer greens. 

Muriate of potash can be side dressed around pechay at 1-2 tablespoons per square meter every 4-6 weeks. It should be broadcast evenly on the soil surface as concentrated mounds can burn plants. Combining muriate of potash with compost gives pechay a balanced nutrient profile for optimal growth.

When to Fertilize Pechay

Proper timing of fertilizer application is crucial to maximize the growth and yield of pechay. Here are some guidelines on when to fertilize pechay:

Before planting:

Incorporate organic fertilizer like compost or vermicompost thoroughly into the soil before planting pechay. This provides nutrients for the initial growth of seedlings.

After planting:

– Apply the first dose of fertilizer when the pechay seedlings are 2-3 weeks old. Use a nitrogen-rich organic fertilizer or a balanced inorganic fertilizer.

– Fertilize again after 1 month or when the plants start developing mature leaves. Use a complete organic or inorganic fertilizer.

– Apply fertilizer every 2 weeks after the second application. Alternate between organic and inorganic fertilizers for optimum nutrition. Apply more potassium-rich fertilizer to improve yield.

Proper timing of applying fertilizer prevents nutrient deficiencies and burns. It allows efficient nutrient absorption leading to healthy, robust pechay plants. Follow the schedule above for optimum pechay growth and yield.

Fertilizer Application Tips and Precautions

Here are some tips and precautions to keep in mind when fertilizing pechay:

– Apply organic fertilizers like compost and manure a few weeks before planting to allow it time to integrate with the soil. Re-apply these fertilizers mid-season to provide a slow, steady nutrient release

– Avoid fertilizer burn by not over-applying fertilizers. Only apply the recommended amounts based on soil tests. Applying too much chemical fertilizer can damage roots and leaves.

– Prevent fertilizer leaching, which is when soluble fertilizers get washed away by rain or irrigation before plants can absorb them. Use slow-release granular fertilizers that dissolve gradually over time.

– Do not fertilize during droughts or when the soil is dry, as the salts in fertilizers will accumulate and burn plant roots. Wait until after irrigating.

– Apply granular fertilizer evenly and directly to the soil, not on the foliage. Granular fertilizers can scorch the plant leaves, reducing the quality of the yield.

– Test the soil pH regularly and add lime if needed to keep the soil slightly acidic for optimal nutrient availability.

By carefully following best practices for fertilizing pechay, you can maximize plant health and minimize environmental impact. Test the soil, apply the right amounts at the right time, and monitor plant nutrition closely.

Related: Fertilizer Recommendations For Tomato Plant & Application

Lastly, the importance of fertilizers in plant growth cannot be overemphasized; pechay needs fertilizer in the right quality and quantity to produce up to its genetic potential. However, apply fertilizer to pechay with caution and follow the recommended dose.

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