By: Liz Baessler
A popular leafy vegetable from Asia, mizuna greens are used worldwide. Like many Asian greens, mizuna greens are related to the more familiar mustard greens, and can be incorporated into many Western dishes. Keep reading for more information on growing mizuna greens.
Mizuna greens have been cultivated in Japan for centuries. They are likely originally from China, but throughout Asia they are considered a Japanese vegetable. The name mizuna is Japanese and translates as juicy or watery vegetable.
The plant has deeply jagged, branched dandelion-like leaves , making it ideal for cut and grow again harvesting. There are two main varieties of mizuna: Mizuna Early and Mizuna Purple.
In Asia, mizuna is often pickled. In the west, it is much more popular as a salad green with its mild, yet peppery, taste. It also works well in stir-fries and soups.
Care for mizuna greens is similar to that for other Asian mustard-like greens. Even Mizuna Early will bolt eventually, so for the most prolonged harvest, sow your seeds six to 12 weeks before the first frost of autumn or in late spring.
Plant your seeds in moist but well-drained soil. Before planting, loosen the soil to at least 12 inches (30 cm.) deep and mix in some manure. Plant the seeds 2 inches (5 cm.) apart, ¼ inch (.63 cm.) deep, and water well.
After the seeds have germinated (this should take only a few days), thin the plants to 14 inches (36 cm.) apart.
That’s basically it. Ongoing care is not much different from that of other greens in the garden. Water and harvest your greens as needed.
This article was last updated on
If you’re used to eating boring iceberg lettuce salads that are covered in a flavorful dressing, fear not – there are plenty of more exciting and delicious salad greens to add to your garden!
Standard iceberg lettuce is great, but it’s even easier in many cases to grow other salad greens that are more nutritious and delicious. Adding some of these into your salad-making arsenal will go a long way for your health and your taste buds.
Expanding your garden past lettuce is simple. Some of the following veggies can be eaten on their own – bok choy, arugula, and spinach are a few examples. Others, like radicchio, mustard greens, or chicory are best when mixed with other greens to create the perfect salad or dish.
Mustard greens grow quickly and give salads a bright color and spicy flavor.
Ahh spring, when a young man's fancy turns to greens. Well, greens may not be the first thing on a young man's mind in spring, but they certainly are something my taste buds are craving. After a long winter of less-than-fresh vegetables, the thought of homegrown spinach, lettuce, mustard, and arugula makes my mouth water.
Although many culitvated greens can survive the cool temperatures of spring, the ones listed below are exceptional at germinating, growing, and maturing early. Plus, Mother Nature generously provides an array of wild greens. Adapted to the local weather, these are some of the first plants to pop up in spring. Some types of these wild greens adapt well to growing in the garden.
Here are some of my favorite early spring greens with tips on how to grow and harvest them.
Mizuna is a spring green with serrated leaves and a slight peppery flavor.
Favorite Spring Greens
Arugula (Eruca sativa). This easy-to-grow green is known for its spicy, nutty taste. In just 20 days after sowing you can harvest the baby greens for a full head wait another 10 to 15 days. Sow seeds as soon as the ground can be worked. Arugula can withstand a light frost and the flavor is mildest when the plant matures in cool weather. 'Astro' is more heat-tolerant than other varieties.
Chicory and endive (Cichorium endivia and Cichorum intybus). These European greens are known for their distinct flavor and texture. While you can grow them to full size in 60 to 100 days depending on the variety, you can harvest baby greens as soon as 45 days after seeding. Thin seedlings to 8 inches apart for full heads. 'Indigo' radicchio has burgundy leaves. 'Neos' endive produces self-blanched heads with a bittersweet flavor.
Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale). Leaves of this wild green can be harvested in early spring from untreated lawns or pastures. Better yet, you can grow a crop of dandelions in your garden. This perennial produces an abundance of strap-like leaves that have a mild taste when harvested before the weather heats up. Use dandelion leaves in salad mixes or saute them with garlic, olive oil, and tomatoes for a sauce to dip with Italian bread. The French variety 'Ameliore' has larger, broader leaves and is more productive than wild dandelions.
Asian greens (Brassica rapa and Brassica junce). There are several Asian greens that grow quickly in spring and are great for salads and stir fries. 'Mizuna' produces low-growing heads of white-stemmed, deeply serrated leaves. 'Mibuna' has similar growth with spoon-shaped leaves. Tatsoi plants form a compact, thick rosette of leaves. Mustard greens, such as 'Osaka Purple' and 'Red Giant', produce 1- to 2-foot-tall plants with colorful, mild tasting leaves. Young leaves are good for salads, older leaves have a stronger flavor and are best for cooking.
Mache (Valerianella locusta). Mache or corn salad is a low-growing, European green that can be cultivated in gardens or harvested in the wild. It has spoon-shaped leaves with a mild, nutty taste that are ready to harvest 50 days after seeding. The leaves can take a freeze and still be edible. Mache can be used in salads or steamed like kale or collards. 'Vit' has long, oval, slightly mint-flavored leaves and grows well in most regions.
Mesclun mix. These mixes are usually a blend of lettuce, arugula, kale, Swiss chard, beet, and Asian greens. Depending on the blend, the mix may be mild or spicy. The beautiful part of mesclun mix is that you can sow seeds as soon as the ground can be worked, with the first harvest 30 days later. Because you begin harvest when the greens are 4 inches tall there's no need to thin the seedlings. Sow successive crops every few weeks to have a continual supply. Mild blends usually include lettuce, mizuna, tatsoi, kale, and mache. Tangy or spicy meclun mixes are a blend of sharper-flavored greens, such as arugula, endive, pac choi, and mustards.
Plant spinach under a grow tunnel for an early harvest during cool spring weather.
Lettuce (Latuca sativa). While there is a plethora of lettuce varieties on the market, some grow better than others in early spring since their seeds germinate in soils as cool as 40°F. Unless you're growing the lettuce as a mesclun mix, thin the seedlings when they have 3 or 4 leaves, spacing plants 6 to 10 inches apart. Start harvesting the outer leaves of loose-leaf varieties about 50 days after seeding. Try 'Little Gem' (early, small, 4-inch-diameter Romaine), 'Winter Density' (tall Buttercrunch-type that's frost tolerant) and 'Green Ice' (extra crisp, savoy leaves).
Spinach (Spinacia oleracea). Spinach is the classic cool-weather green, germinating in soils as cool as 35 degrees F. Once seedlings are 3 inches tall (20 to 30 days after seeding), thin the plants to space them 6 inches apart. plants. Plants mature 20 days later. Spinach comes in crinkled and smooth-leaved varieties. 'Tyee' is a one of the most bolt-resistant crinkled-leaved varieties. ' Olympia Hybrid ' is a slow to bolt, disease-resistant, smooth-leaved variety.
Growing Spring Greens in the Garden
Use a cold frame to start greens weeks before the garden is ready for planting to get a jump on the spring greens season.
Regardless of the greens you decide to grow, you'll need to build up the soil prior to planting. Since soils are still cool in early spring, as soon as the soil has dried out enough to work build a raised bed. Raised beds are a good choice on all but sandy soils. Build the raised bed 8 to 10 inches high and no more than 3 feet wide. Flatten off the top. Add a 1- to 2-inch-thick layer of finished compost to the bed before planting.
Sow greens in rows or broadcast the seeds over the top of the raised bed. Cover the small seeds with potting soil or sand so they can germinate easier. Cover the bed with a floating row cover to keep the soil warm, prevent insects from attacking and keep the bed moist. For all but mesclun greens, thin to the appropriate spacing.
If you're sowing successive crops on the same bed, amend the soil between plantings with a 1/2-inch thick layer of compost.
Growing Greens in a Cold Frame
Chicory looks like a wild green, with thick leaves and a slightly bitter flavor. It makes a good addition to soups and salads.
If you really want to get a jump on the growing season, consider building a cold frame or grow tunnel. These structures allow the soil to warm up and dry out faster than normal, adding weeks to the early spring growing season. Place a cold frame in a protected location that faces Southeast or Southwest. Amend the soil inside the cold frame with compost as you would a raised bed and plant accordingly.
For a grow tunnel, once you've built and sown your raised bed install wire hoops and clear plastic to cover the bed. Vent the sides of the grow tunnel and open the cold frame on sunny days since the temperatures can rise quickly in spring.
Pests are rarely a problem in early spring plantings. However, if the weather is cool and wet, damping off fungal disease can ruin a young crop. To prevent damping off disease, grow crops on well-drained, light soil or cover the planting with a grow tunnel.
Harvest leaves of your greens as soon as they're at least 2 inches long. Pick individual leaves to create baby green salads or snip the young plants to the ground. Leave some plants, such as lettuce and spinach, to mature to full size for a larger harvest.
More Great Quick Spring Greens Stories:Charlie Nardozzi is an award winning, nationally recognized garden writer, speaker, radio, and television personality. He has worked for more than 30 years bringing expert gardening information to home gardeners through radio, television, talks, tours, on-line, and the printed page. Charlie delights in making gardening information simple, easy, fun and accessible to everyone. He's the author of 6 books, has three radio shows in New England and a TV show. He leads Garden Tours around the world and consults with organizations and companies about gardening programs. See more about him at Gardening With Charlie.
" data-caption="" data-expand="300" data-tracking-container="true" />
It doesn't get much easier than this. Dig a hole. Plop in a garlic clove (regular-sized or elephant). Cover. Come back next summer. Dig. Enjoy.
OK, you do need to make sure your garlic gets watered and a little food, but seriously—that's it. Animals don't bother it. You don't have to stake or prune. You can even save a few bulbs from your harvest to plant again in the fall so that you don't even have to order more. Cutting off the garlic scapes to encourage bulb growth also gives you the bonus of a flavorful stalk to add to your cooking, used like a green onion.
You may have noticed those plants with weird names in Plantui Plant capsule selection: Tatsoi, Pok choy, Komatsuna, Mizuna. Asian greens might seem a bit mysterious, but are absolutely worth trying. Oriental vegetables have a long history. The selection of different vegetables and their varieties is huge, and they are essential in Asian cookery. Here in Europe we should get to know especially the leafy greens because of their health benefits.
The greens of the cabbage family (which scientific genus Brassica) are especially interesting for urban gardeners. Those plants work very well in hydroponics and make a big yield without requiring much space. Leafy greens are highly nutritious but low in calories. They are excellent sources of vitamins, minerals and fibre. Researches seem to show that the glucosinolates in the plants of the cabbage family may have anti-carcinogenic properties. And let’s not forget aesthetics: these greens are very pretty with their shiny green leaves and decorative appearance.
Asian greens are a good choice for those who can’t wait to see the results of their gardening. These leafy vegetables germinate and grow quickly making a big yield, but they should also be harvested quickly. Unlike many herbs, the Asian greens shouldn’t be left growing for months. They make long roots and will be hard to remove from the device if left growing for too long. A quick cycle suits them best: grow for six to eight weeks, enjoy the harvest and then make a fresh start.
For continuous harvest, pick the biggest or outer leaves of the rosette. You can use the leaves in cooking in many ways: fresh in salads or on a sandwich, or very shortly cooked for soups, stews or stir-fries.
Click to read more about the characteristics of Tatsoi, Pok choy, Komatsuna, Mizuna and Mustard Wasabina.
If you like gardening books, I’ll recommend Oriental Vegetables: The Complete Guide for the Gardening Cook by Joy Larkcom. It’s a magnificent guide for anyone who wants to know everything about Asian vegetables.
Grow mixed greens in any sized pot, sprinkling seeds evenly over moist soil. Cover lightly with soil, and pat down lightly. Wide, shallow pots are great for salad greens, as they only need to be about 10 cm (4″) deep to accommodate their shallow roots.
To eliminate the guesswork in selecting the right size containers for your plants, we’ve put together a list of commonly grown herbs, veggies, fruit and flowers along with the minimum pot sizes required by each.
Starting a container garden? Grab my free guide on choosing the best sized pots for each veggie, fruit, and herb in your container garden – Veggie Garden Potting Guide
Cool-season Asian greens are best planted in the last weeks of summer to grow on into autumn and beyond. Try bok choy, mizuna, or Chinese cabbage! These tasty and popular “gourmet” leaves can be rather pricey in grocery stores but they are super easy to grow—and fast growers, especially in cool weather. See how to grow Asian greens!
Early fall, with its often hazy mornings and cooling temperatures, signals change is in the air. Many of summer’s staples are winding down and growth all over the garden is noticeably slower. But if you think it’s time to hang up the fork for winter, well think again – because now’s the moment Asian greens such as bok choy, mustards and mizuna really come into their own.
They are easy to grow and maintain in your garden beds or even in a small pot if you’re looking to save time, space and energy. You might even consider putting these Asian greens around your front yard or along borders, they areas beautiful to look at as they are yummy!
Here are some more of our favorite Asian greens:
Amaranth (aka Chinease Spinach, Hiyu, Callaloo)
Gardland chrysanthemnm (aka Shungiku)
Komatsuna (aka mustard spinach)
Mizuna (aka Chinease potherb mustard)
In late summer (six to 12 weeks before your first fall frost), sow seeds indoors or direct-sow them in the garden if the weather is hot and dry.
Our Garden Planner automatically spaces plants at their recommended minimum spacings, so you know exactly how many plants you can grow in the space you have.
Alternatively, sow your Asian leaves into plug trays before transplanting later on. This has the advantage of enabling you to get plants growing while outdoor space is still occupied by another crop, and makes slug damage of tender seedlings less of a problem. Fill plug trays with all-purpose potting soil, firm it down, then sow one or two seeds into each cell. Cover with more potting soil, water them, and keep in a bright spot to germinate. The seedlings will be ready to plant out about four weeks later.
Seed mixes can be sown straight into containers for cut-and-come-again pickings. Scatter the seeds evenly, not too thickly, onto the surface, before covering with more potting soil. The seedlings shouldn’t need thinning.
Plant plug-raised seedlings using a dibber or similar to make the holes, then firm the plants into place. Water well after planting.
It’s important to weed between plants to keep them free of competition, particularly during the colder, darker months of the year. Slugs can be a nuisance check for them and pick them off after dark, or set up slug traps filled with beer and remove the slugs you trap.
Fork over the soil surface and clear fallen leaves from around plants in early winter. Row covers will prevent pigeons from attacking plants, and will help keep plants growing strongly as winter approaches. Using a greenhouse makes it possible to harvest in all but the very coldest weeks of winter.
Cut through the base of Chinese cabbage or bok choy to harvest the plants whole. Loose-leaved plants such as mizuna can be harvested a few leaves at a time by pinching them off between finger and thumb, or by snipping them with a pair of scissors. Make sure enough leaves remain for the plant to recover. When warmth returns in spring, overwintered plants will starting growing again, providing more harvests before eventually bolting.
How to cook Asian greens? Stir-fry with garlic, blanche in oyster sauce, or serve in a wonderful broth! Start adding these health greens to your suppers. Here are two delicious dinner recipes:
Our Almanac Garden Planner will automatically calculate your sowing dates, your plant spacing, and more. Plus, you’ll get a free printable calendar with planting and harvesting dates that fit you.
For new gardeners, we are offering a free 7-day trial to encourage all to try drawing out their first garden plot!
It doesn’t seem so long ago when Alice Waters and others developing California cuisine started introducing us all to arugula and mizuna. No longer just in specialty shops, piquant mixes (including kale, chicory and mache) have gone mainstream and are even available packaged! But why buy these greens when you can grow your own? This time of year it’s simple to get spicy greens in the ground (and maintain them) for harvest throughout the cool season.
Leaf vegetables (like arugula, mustard greens and mizuna) are shallow rooted so they require a soil that is loose and holds moisture. They are well adapted to either “in the ground” or container culture.
In the ground, prepare soil by blending Sloat Loam Builder or Planting mix 50/50 with the native soil. Incorporate EB Stone Sure Start and Agricultural Lime according to directions. Rake the bed to a fine crumble. If you are planting in containers, use Sloat Organic Potting Soil and Sure Start.
When seeding greens, you can either plant them in rows or broadcast them. Broadcasting works best with the smaller seeds of lettuce, arugula, mustard, and mache. Water the seedbed in the morning and afternoon for the first week to ensure the germinating seedlings do not dry out. Germination takes 5 to 10 days.
When the seedlings have reached an inch in height, thin to 3” apart. Feed your plants monthly with a liquid fertilizer such as fish emulsion or Maxsea All Purpose.
Planting white alyssum with your greens will help keep troublesome aphids in check. The alyssum flower is a food source for beneficial insects such as syriphid fly and parasitic wasp.
Curious if we have your favorite plant or product in stock? Call one of our locations directly and we'll be happy to check.