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A Japanese leaf garden (pt 2)

Updated: Sep 27, 2021

I hope you caught my recent post about growing the delicious Japanese leaf, shiso, in

Japanese mizuna shui cai California peppergrass by kurumicooks tasty easy healthy Japanese Asian and Fusion cooking and food for your kitchen
Fresh cut Japanese mizuna

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.

How to grow you own mizuna california peppergrass shui cai by kurumicooks tasty easy healthy Japanese Asian and Fusion cooking and food for your kitchen
Mizuna plantlets at about 3 weeks

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.

Japanese miso soup with mizuna shui cai California peppergrass by kurumicooks tasty easy healthy Japanese Asian and Fusion cooking and food for your kitchen
Japanese Miso soup with Mizuna

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



how to:

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


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