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.
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?!
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.
Organic Gardening is easy, effective, efficient —- and it’s a lot healthier.
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