Growing Mizuna

Mizuna, a delicate fern like member of the brassica family, is a delicious, peppery mustard green that can be eaten fresh or added to stir fry dishes, or soups and is so easy to grow.

Mizuna are also rich in vitamin C, viatamin K, iron and folate. Like other brassicas it contains plant compounds called glucosinolates, which are beneficial to the body’s immune system.

IMG_20160507_111002Mizuna 1

Growth habits and planting needs

Mizuna can be planted in the garden in Sydney between March and May.

There are a number of varieties available both green and purple. The ones shown in the pictures are a purple variety that has a sharp piquant spicy flavour when mature.

Select a site that has full sun.

The soil should be fertile and well drained so dig the bed over well and dig in well rotted compost and aged cow manure. Mizuna can tolerate slightly alkaline soil but ideally prefers a soil with a pH between 6 and 7.5.

The Mizuna should follow legumes in the crop rotation system, because as brassicas, and other leafy greens, they need nitrogen to develop strong stalks.

Mizuna can be propagated from seed directly into the garden bed. Sow the seeds 1 cm deep and spacing the plants 2.5 cm apart.

The seedlings will emerge in 4 to 7 days. When the plants have grown, thin to a spacing of 15 cm between plants.  Mizuna can be transplanted easily, so thinned out plants can be relocated to other parts of the garden suitable for their growing needs.

Mizuna is a shallow rooted plant that needs moisture to thrive and in good conditions will grow quickly. Keep well watered and mulch around the plants to conserve moisture and stop evaporation.

Water around the plant with diluted liquid seaweed solution monthly to enhance growth.

Stagger plantings to harvest across the growing season.

Mizuna can also be successfully grown in pots on a sunny balcony.

IMG_20160507_144503Mizuna 2
A mature purple mizuna plant in the garden bed.

Harvesting

Mizuna is ready to harvest in 35 to 50 days although the plants can be harvested at around 20 days for baby leaves for a mixed salad.

Mizuna is a cut and come again vegetable that can be harvested by taking leaves as needed over the growing season. Smaller leaves are tender and can be eaten fresh. As the plant becomes more mature the flavour of the leaves becomes more spicy.

IMG_20160507_110616Mizuna 3

If the leaves wilt between harvest and storage, place the mizuna into a jar of water to re-hydrate the leaves .Then store the leaves in the refrigerator, unwashed in a sealed container with a damp paper towel.

IMG_20160509_110812-Mizuna in water
Mizuna leaves rehydrating in water on the counter top.

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