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Mizuna – Evergreen, elegant, and delicious!

I read that Mizuna arrived in the West about 20 years ago.  Had I known, I certainly would have led a parade to welcome it to our country and most especially to my garden.

It’s one of the most exciting vegetables I’ve learned about in years.  Why? Because you have a good chance of being able to enjoy this delicious green almost all year!

Mizuna takes the heat a lot better than lettuce. This means more greens for fresh salad and/or sandwiches in hot humid weather. Giving it a bit of shade in summer and mulching well will increase your summer harvest even more. In drought, a little water will keep it sweet.

Cold?  No problem. Mizuna has excellent cold tolerance and is the perfect green for your fall/winter garden.  Just give it a bit of protection in freezing weather.

The leaves are mild with  a bit of pungency.  Mizuna doesn’t have the bitterness  and bite of arugula. It’s great mixed with other lettuces or used as a substitute for lettuce at times when lettuce is scarce.

Mizuna - one of the most beautiful and delicious plants in my garden.

Sow this versatile green anytime from early spring through early autumn. It’s fast growing and the first leaves can be harvested in about 3 weeks. (Maturity takes 40 to 50 days depending on the variety.) Clumps get about  8 to 12  inches tall and can spread to a diameter of about 18 inches.

You can harvest leaves at any stage. But if you want a big harvest at once, allow the plant to mature and cut it  back just above the growing point to harvest all the leaves. This is a real plus for market gardeners. Especially since this process can be repeated about 5 times over a 10 month period.

Mizuna is delicious sauteed in olive oil with a little garlic and served over pasta.  Substitute it in almost any recipe that calls for arugula, pak choi, or swiss chard.

This plant is so pretty and ornamental that I’ve planted it in my flower borders as well as in the garden. If you don’t have lots of space — try planting in a gallon pot and keep it near the kitchen for convenient harvesting.

Looking for Seed

Looking for seed can be a bit confusing since Mizuna is in the mustard family and there are several varieties.  They seem to have the same characteristics I described above, but they look a little different.

The elegant looking one in my garden, I ordered from Annie’s Heirloom Seeds.  It’s called “Mizuna Asian Mustard Green.”

One I’ve just transplanted to the garden is from Kitazawa Seed called Mizuna Early (also – Mizuna, Kyona). I think it’s going to be about the same as the one from Annie’s.

Cook’s Garden has 3 varieties that look very interesting.

One is called Mizuna – Mustard.  The leaf is heavily serrated, but in the picture they show it appears to be  textured more like pak choi rather than the thinner leafed mizuna I’m growing.

Another is called Mizuna – Lime Streaked. Its description is similar to the one I’m growing — except for the “lime” part. The lime might refer to the color of the leaf.

The third is Mizuna – Red Streaked. I think this one might be a must-have! Can you see a beautiful Mizuna leaf streaked with red  and mixed into a bowl of all green mizuna.  What about for Thanksgiving and Christmas salads?!

Final Thoughts

Any variety you decide – I think you’ll have a winner!

You’ve still got time to plant.  And while you’re at it, make a note to start succession planting in mid- August through mid-October so you’ll have an abundance for those beautiful salads during the holidays and beyond.
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Organic Gardening is easy, effective, efficient —- and it’s a lot healthier.

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11 comments to Mizuna – Evergreen, elegant, and delicious!

  • Theresa this is exciting! I’ve never heard of it. With all of the lettuce we’ve been getting this year, the prospect of doing without is out of the question. This plant may be part of the answer! You mention substituting it for lettuce when lettuce is scarce. How would you describe the taste of a big plate full of this stuff with only some vinegar and olive oil to dress it?

  • Theresa

    Tangier than lettuce, but delicious and similar to a lettuce.
    For example: Bill hates arugula because the taste is too strong for him. He will pick the tiniest piece out of a salad if I accidentally leave it in. But he loves mizuna! Mizuna does not have any bitterness and is very mild. Wonderful! Worth a try in anyone’s garden ——-especially the garden of a market gardener — Bearfoot Farms!!

  • Sandra

    I’ve only had this by accident when I’ve planted it as part of a mesculun mix. I love how it looks too.

    Arugula loses that bite when cooked or even put on top of something hot. We make pizza and toss handfuls of it onto the pizzas fresh out of the oven. The arugula wilts just a little, but the taste mellows and it is totally fantastic. Friends from California taught us to put cilantro on pizza just out of the oven and that is great also. Sorry – I’ve wandered off topic somewhat, I must be hungry!

  • Theresa

    That cilantro idea sounds most interesting Sandra!

    Even Bill will eat arugula when it’s cooked (or heated). I like it sauteed with garlic and tossed with pasta. The pizza sounds good also — and Bill makes a great healthful pizza! If we don’t have broccoli for the pizza next time, I will definitely use arugula.

    The thing that I love about mizuna is that it’s a great addition or substitute for lettuce in salads. Mild and tastes great to almost everyone.

  • Ann

    We’ve got to try it. It looks a lot like arugula. With our little cold frame, we were able to have salad though the winter. Of course it was rationed because it didn’t do much growing but a little is better than nothing.

  • Theresa

    You and Tom will really love mizuna, Ann. Even Bill likes it!!! I think it would do very well for you in that cold frame.
    Let me know if you try it.

  • Betty Dotson

    Theresa,

    Thanks for sharing with us. This sounds like something I want to add to our garden asap!

    As usual, I have a question.

    With the picture you said it was a clump, was that from a seed, a transplanted plant, a scattering of seed or something different?

    I hope I’m not driving you crazy with all of my questions?

    Thanks again,
    Betty

  • Theresa

    It was from a seed Betty.
    Questions are how you learn — so I’m happy to help.
    Theresa

  • Betty Dotson

    Thanks Theresa!

    Your garden must be the best buffet in town!

  • Gordon

    Did you try the red streaked mizuna?
    Wonder how it performed and tasted
    Thank you
    Gordon

  • Theresa

    Gordon, it was on my list to try but I didn’t. I’ll get to it one of these days.
    Theresa

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