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Mizuna & mibuna

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A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

Introduction

Mizuna is a popular Japanese leafy vegetable, which grows as a large rosette (head) of finely dissected leaves, similar to rocket. Mizuna leaves have a characteristic peppery, cabbage flavour, and are used raw in salads or cooked for stir-fries or soups. The young flowering stems can be cooked like broccoli. Similar to mizuna, but with a stronger, light mustard flavour is mibuna. The leaves are excellent in a salad or as a side dish when lightly cooked and seasoned.

Sow

Mizuna and mibuna can be grown for harvesting as a ‘cut and come again’ crop as seedlings or semi-mature or mature plants. Sow seeds successionally for a regular supply.

Sow directly into the soil, where they are to grow, in short rows once the previous row has germinated, from March to August.

Earlier sowings can be made during February in pots or modules under glass, before being ‘hardened off’ (acclimatised to outdoor conditions) and planted out.

Sow for ‘cut and come again’ seedlings, under cover from February and outdoors from March; thin to 5cm (2in) apart. Make final sowings in late August outdoors.

Plants to be used when young should be planted, or thinned, so they are 10-15cm (4-6in), in and between rows.

Sow plants to be cut frequently for their leaves, 20cm (8in) apart, in and between rows.

Sow plants for harvesting at maturity 30-40cm (12-16in) apart, in and between rows.

Grow

Mizuna and mibuna are tolerant of cool, wet conditions and dislike extreme heat. Grow in an open, sunny position, with some shade in summer.  If subjected to dry conditions, growth may appear stunted and plants will bolt prematurely. Soil should be moist – improve with well-rotted organic matter before sowing and planting, if necessary.

Mizuna has feathery leaves up to 25cm (10in) high; the rosettes (heads) of mizuna can grow to 23cm (9in) high and can spread to 45cm (18in).

Mibuna grows to about 30cm (1ft) high, producing tight clusters of long, narrow leaves. It is very easy to grow and can be cut four or five times; the new growth is more resistant to frost and cold.

Water well, before the onset of drought. There is a risk of bolting in very hot dry conditions - less so with early sowings - but also if sown too early when conditions are too cold.

Harvest

‘Cut and come again’ seedlings can be harvested from around three weeks after sowing; larger plants can be harvested up to five times before ‘bolting’.

Harvest heads using a sharp knife, from six to eight weeks. Individual leaves can be cut regularly from plants for a constant supply. Remove a few leaves from several plants, to avoid weakening individual plants.

Harvest and eat immediately for the best flavour.

Varieties

‘Mizuna’: Long green deeply cut leaves with white stems.

‘Mizuna Purple’: Purple-tinted stems, the colour becoming stronger as they mature.

‘Kyoto’: Well-flavoured and very hardy for sowing all year round - better under cover in winter.

Problems

Slugs: Eat leaves and young shoots.

Remedy: Non-chemical controls including hunting by torchlight on mild, damp nights, or making traps consisting of a jar half-filled with beer sunk into the ground near plants. Encourage natural predators, use pellets based on ferric phosphate.

Read more information on slugs

Bolting: Plants flower and set seed, rather than producing edible roots. This is usually caused by stress, a hot or cold spell or drought. It is less of a problem with early sowings.

Remedy: Sow bolting resistant varieties, warm the soil before sowing early crops and grow under the protection of fleece or cloches and keep the soil moist.

Flea beetle: Leaves are peppered with small holes, damaged areas turn brown. Seedlings are particularly susceptible

Remedy: Grow plants under horticultural fleece, keep the soil moist.

Read more information on flea beetle

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Sow
Harvest

Do Now

  • Sow seed outdoors
  • Thin out plants
  • Harvest leaves as required
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