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How to Grow Mizuna

Mizuna is a tangy Asian green best grown in spring or autumn.

 

Mizuna
Mizuna growing with pac choi

Mizuna is an Asian leafy green well suited for salads or salad mixes such as mesclun. Mizuna can also be used in stir-fries and soups and added to other dishes at the end of cooking. Mizuna is similar to mustard greens though milder flavored—a bit peppery, tangy, and with a light cabbage flavor.

Mizuna is best grown in cool weather, but unlike many leafy greens, it is slow to bolt in hot weather. Sow mizuna in the garden in spring as soon as the soil can be worked. It will germinate in the soil as chilly as 40°F (4°C). It can be started indoors early for transplanting out mid-spring just before the last frost. Also, grow mizuna in the garden in fall and in a plastic tunnel or cold frame for harvest through the winter.

Yield. Three or four plants will provide plenty of cut-and-come-again leaves for salads.

Mizuna seedlings
Mizuna seedlings

Planting Mizuna

Planting time. Mizuna grows best in cool weather. Sow seed or set out transplants in mid- to late-spring for harvest before the weather turns hot in summer. Sow seed every three weeks for a succession of harvests; mizuna grows from seed to maturity in 40 days. Plant mizuna again near the end of summer for harvest in the cool weather of autumn and early winter. Mizuna can tolerate frost near maturity. Grow mizuna through winter in a plastic tunnel or cold frame.

Site. Grow mizuna in compost-rich fertile soil. Grow plants in full sun in cool weather; in warm or hot weather grow plants in partial shade.

Planting and spacing. Space mizuna 8 to 10 inches (20-25 cm) apart if you are growing plants for a harvest of leaves cut-and-come again. If you are sowing mizuna to be harvested as a microgreen then you can broadcast seed and thin small plants for eating and let others grow to maturity. Microgreens can grow as close as 1 inch (2.5 cm) apart. Sow seed ¼ to ½ inch (6-13 mm) deep. Mizuna is a good choice for interplanting in the shade of slower maturing crops.

Container Growing. Mizuna, like most greens, is easily grown in containers. Choose a container at least 6 inches deep and wide. Grow mizuna in well-draining potting soil.

Caring for Mizuna

Water, feeding, care. Mizuna grows best in compost-rich soil. Keep the soil evenly moist; not too wet and never completely dry. Prepare planting beds ahead of sowing or transplanting by adding plenty of aged compost and some aged manure. During the growing season feed mizuna with dilute fish emulsion especially if you heavily harvest individual plants.

Pests and diseases. Flea beetles can attack mizuna; protect plants with row covers. Put row covers in place right after seeding. To avoid cabbage-family related diseases, do not plant mizuna after cabbage or other cabbage family crops.

Mizuna harvested
Whole mizuna plants harvested

Harvesting Mizuna

Harvest and storing. Mizuna can be harvested small as a microgreen or you can wait until leaves are 3 to 4 inches (8-10 cm) long. Larger mizuna leaves can be harvested, but harvest leaves while they are tender and before they grow a bit tough with age particularly in warm weather. Use older leaves in stir-fries, soups, and cooking. You can harvest all of the leaves from a single plant about an inch above the soil and the leaves will regrow for a second harvest.

Use. Mizuna can be added to stir-fries and soups. Mizuna is often an ingredient in the salad mix called mesclun or spring mix; other greens often found in mesclun are arugula, dandelion, frisée, mâche, radicchio, endive, and sorrel.

Mizuna Varieties to Grow

Varieties. ‘Kyona Mizuna’: rosettes of a thin, deep cut, feathery, fringed leaves, mild flavor; ‘Purple Mizuna’: green leaves with purple margins.

Botanical name. Brassica rapa var. juncea; Mizuna is a member of the cabbage family, Cruciferae.

Origin. China; mizuna has been grown in Japan for centuries and is also called kyona-greens, named after Kyoto, the ancient Japanese capital.

More on mizuna at Mizuna: Kitchen Basics.

See also Mesclun: The French Salad Mix.

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4 Comments

  1. So mizuna should be planted shallowly, but unlike some greens does not require light to germinate? Rather than start it inside, can I plant it in a large (18-inch) container where I planted a cauliflower seedling in the middle, or is cauliflower too persnickety to tolerate mizuna company? I planted the cauliflower this way so I could move it into or out of the sun as the plant wishes, and I’d like to be able to keep tabs on the mizuna the same way. But I have a lot of big planters, so I can keep the mizuna in separate containers if that would be best.

    My first year to plant mizuna. My seeds are for the Beni Houshi variety. Anything special I need to know about the care of this variety?

    • Cauliflower and mizuna can be grown together but be sure there is ample room for the cauliflower to mature. The containers should be large enough to deliver the nutrients and moisture both plants will need for growth. You may want to feed both plants with a dilute solution of fish emulsion or kelp meal. Ben Houshi is grown like all mizunas; it does not require extra special care.

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