The marvelous Mizuna is an oriental wonder! It grows as a large rosette of finely serrated, feathery leaves, which are dark, glossy green, similar to rocket leaves. A very hardy plant, being both heat and cold tolerant, it usually grows better in moist conditions.
The flavour is fresh but not overpowering and a characteristic peppery-cabbage flavour. It can be used raw in salads or cooked for stir-fries or soups. The young flowering stems can be cooked like broccoli.
Naturally vigorous, Mizuna, together with its partner Mibuna, is ideally suited to, and one of the most versatile 'Cut and Come Again' winter vegetables. It is very easy to grow and can be cut back 4 to 5 times, the new growth being more resistant to frosts and snow.
Both mizuna and mibuna can grow on a wide range of soil types but prefer to be grown on rich, loamy soils with high water retention. They prefer an open position but will tolerate shade in summer. Grow year-round in rows, drifts, between other vegetables or use as edging for borders or beds. They can easily be grown in a window box.
Sowing: Sow year round - Outdoors from April to October or under cover in September to March.
To ensure a winter-to-spring crop, sow under cover in early autumn. Early and late sowings should be protected with cloches.Seeds can either be sown directly into the vegetable bed or into trays, pots or modules. They are grown as seedlings, semi-mature or mature plants. Seeds germinate in about three days.
Make successional sowings at 21 day intervals. When plants are more mature, you can get tender leaves by harvesting from the newest growth. As the plants mature, the leaves become tough, so pull up old ones and replant.
Sow the seeds 3mm (¼in) deep. Plants to be used when young should be planted or thinned to 10 cm apart, those to be cut frequently for their leaves, 20cm (8in) apart and larger plants 30 to 40cm (12 to 16in) apart.
Sow into trays, pots or modules containing well draining compost. Stand pots in water to soak then drain. Sow seeds 3mm (¼in) deep. Transplant the plants two to three weeks after sowing, harden off and plant out. Use fleece or nets if necessary.
Ensure adequate supplies of water in dry conditions, if subjected to dry conditions, growth may appear stunted and plants will bolt prematurely.
Harvesting & Storing:
Individual leaves may be regularly cut so that a fresh crop is continually being produced. Cut when 5-10cm tall, above the bottom set of leaves so that the plant can continue to grow - be sure not to cut the growing point!
As many as five cuts from one plant over ten months may be made.
The heads can be harvested whole by cutting at the base with a sharp knife, from around three to six weeks after sowing, although large plants will need six to eight weeks. Eat immediately for the best flavour. Can be stored in a fridge for a few days.
Mizuna is one of a few dozen vegetables known there as "Kyo yasai."
Kyoto was Japan's national capital during the Edo period (~800-1,200 AD). It hosted both the royal family and many important religious temples. Kyoto also played a key role in Japan's agriculture. Royal farms and Buddhist gardens were the starting point of vegetables introduced by trade with China and other parts of Asia. Japan's own native plants had sparse offerings for human consumption.
As these new plants were incorporated into Japanese agriculture numerous selections were made of those plants which performed well in the field and in Japanese cooking. Today about 50 specific vegetable selections can be traced back to the Edo period and to cultivation around Kyoto. These vegetables are called "Kyo yasai" and they have a special place in Japanese history and cuisine.
- Additional Information
Packet Size 2.5 gram Average Seed Count 1,000 Seeds Seed Form Natural Seeds per gram 400 seeds per gram Common Name Oriental Greens, Japanese Greens, Kyona Other Common Names Hybrid asian green. Baby Leaf, Micro Leaf Family Brassicaceae Genus Brassica Species rapa Cultivar var japonica Synonym Brassica rapa var. nipposinica Hardiness Hardy Annual Height 30-45cm (12-18in). Spread 25-30cm (10-12in). Position They prefer an open position but will tolerate shade in summer. Soil Mizuna can grow on a wide range of soil types (Prefer moist, rich, loamy soils). Time to Sow Outdoors from April to Oct or under cover in Sept to March Germination Seeds germinate in about three days Harvest Cut when 5 to 10cm tall. Five cuts from one plant over ten months may be made. Time to Harvest 21 days baby leaf, 50 days mature plants Notes Hardiness: If cropped it will tolerate - 6°C (21°F)