Updated: Sep 27, 2021
I hope you caught my recent post about growing the delicious Japanese leaf, shiso, in
pt 1 of my leaf garden posts. Here in pt 2, I'm going to take a look at another great Japanese leaf vegetable , mizuna. (Depending on where you live, you might know this as California peppergrass or Shui Cai.) This leaf is easy to grow with attractive, serrated leaves and a peppery flavour - it's great in salads (especially if you find rocket too strongly flavoured for your taste) - you can also use mizuna in soups and stews. Nutrition-wise, it's also rich in vitamins A, C & K, so it's good for you. But the best thing about mizuna is that just about anyone can grow it, anywhere - in Japan, mizuna grows the length and breadth of the country which shows it's pretty hardy. Like anything you plant from seed, it's important to buy seed from an established supplier - that way you can be sure you really are getting mizuna and not something else. After planting in potting compost (just push the seeds about 3mm into the soil) and watering, the seedlings should appear after 5- 7 days. Mine were shooting up in a week and growing vigourously. I repotted the seedlings so they didn't crowd each other out (be careful not to damage the roots at this stage). After three weeks the mizuna had grown enough to put them outside under cover.
They didn't need much help apart from water and the disposal of the occasional snail. Two weeks later and they were ready for planting out but i kept them in their pots a few days longer, hoping that early may might prove a little warmer than late April. In fact, I ended up waiting until May to plant the mizuna out in a raised bed but they took to it well and never looked back. 3 weeks later and I was able to take my first cuttings - mizuna is a "cut and come again" leaf, so cut them down to the base and they will happily grow again.
I put my first leaves into a simple miso soup lunch. I planted some more seeds today,
so with any luck, I shall have a good supply of this healthy, flavoursome leaf into the autumn months right outside my back door. Pt 3 of my leaf garden posts will be on mibuna but unlike my shiso and mizuna which grew very quickly, my mibuna is struggling a little at the moment - not sure why but with a little tender loving care, I'm sure we'll end up with some more good leaves to eat! If you'd like to know how to grow mizuna, you can find the youtube tutorial by clicking Grow your own Mizuna of just scroll down to the bottom of the page. The written "how to" is just below.
Happy growing, Kurumi.
Grow your own Mizuna
what you’ll need:
1 packet mizuna seeds
1 seed tray filled with potting compost
extra potting compost
plant 3 - 4 seeds into each plug 3 - 4mm deep
cover with a little extra compost
give the tray a good misting with water
keep indoors or in a greenhouse until germinated (7 - 10 days)
keep the compost moist and when the seedlings are 3 -4cm high, repot into separate, larger pots with fresh compost
keep under cover and after 3 - 4 weeks, the plants should be around 10cm tall and developing a leaf system
plant out in beds or in larger pots
after 3 - 4weeks, leaves should be ready to harvest
cutting mizuna leaves will stimulate regrowth so you’ll be able to harvest leaves several times
mizuna is a robust and fast growing plant, just keep it well watered especially during hot periods