What is mesclun mix

If a heavy shower is predicted after the rows have been seeded, a light plastic screening material might be put applied to protect the seed from being washed out.

Several blends of mesclun seed are available through mail-order houses, each aimed at achieving a particular flavor. The mild-flavored mesclun packets accent several kinds of lettuce, including bibb, romaine, oakleaf and iceberg. The mixture may also contain seed of mache or the colorful radicchio. The more piquant mesclun mixes accent the mustard family, including arugula and watercress, as well as kale and bok choy.

Either way, these tasty greens grow from plants that should be cut so they will come in again. Harvest can go on for several weeks. When gathering greens, simply clip off the quantity needed at the time, and the plants will grow for more harvests.

The proper way to keep a mesclun garden thriving is to remember that the leaves are tastiest at the baby stage. If the weather turns hot and the lettuce bolts (sends up a flower stalk), all will be lost; the mesclun will have a bitter flavor.

For those who are gardening where the summer is hot and dry, it may be best to delay planting until later in the summer. A few gardeners have had success growing the salad greens in semi-shaded places where the greens are shielded from the especially baking rays of the afternoon sun. The early morning hours, when the plants are succulent and crisp, is the best time to harvest. Since these are cut-and-come-again greens, harvesting is a simple matter of applying sharp scissors, cutting low but leaving enough on the plants for regrowth. If there are not enough plants left in the mesclun rows, lettuce that is already growing in another row might be added to the mix.

The National Garden Bureau also reminds gardeners that ”since harvest takes place when the plants are young, small and tender, you do not have to thin crowded seedlings as you might when growing lettuces and other greens.” It adds, ”Begin cutting the leaves as soon as the plants are about two inches tall.”

For an even more interesting mixture, and a more delightful blending of flavors, some herbs can be added. Especially tasty are parsley, fennel, dill or lovage. Or young spinach seedlings can be added for texture when the planting season cools.

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This healthy Mesclun salad recipe is the perfect solution for an easy lunch or light dinner salad. Make our recipe for delicious balsamic garlic cashew dressing to drizzle over the top!

If you are getting tired of your regular old salad mix, try this salad on for size. This healthy green salad has just a hint of peppery-ness, nutty-ness and herby-ness, with a big dose of deliciousness.

What is Mesclun Salad?

According to Wikipedia, mesclun salad is,

“A salad mix of assorted small, young salad leaves which originated in Provence, France. The traditional mix includes chervil, arugula, leafy lettuces and endive in equal proportions…”

Their definition goes on to explain that other healthy greens such as dandelion can also be included. However, I’m sort of a traditional girl myself, so I stuck with the original idea.

Chervil was a new herb for me and I actually had to have Whole Foods order it. It’s a delicious herb and I fully plan to grow some myself this year. If you can’t find it at your local grocer, ask the produce person if they can order it for you. Whole Foods had it there the next morning at 8am sharp – that’s what I call efficient.

HEALTHY SALAD RECIPES

  • Dr. Wilbur Salad
  • Spinach Salad With Pesto Dressing
  • Healthy Chicken Apple Salad

MESCLUN SALAD RECIPE

Healthy Mesclun Salad Prep Time 10 mins Total Time 10 mins

This healthy Mesclun salad recipe makes an easy lunch or light dinner salad. Make our recipe for delicious balsamic cashew dressing to drizzle over the top! This recipe makes 1 serving, although you can divide it into 2 servings.

Course: Salad Cuisine: French Yield: 1 Calories: 57 kcal Author: The Gracious Pantry Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup chervil
  • 1/2 cup arugula
  • 1/2 cup green leaf lettuce
  • 1 tomato cut into wedges
  • 1-2 tbsp dressing of your choice I use balsamic garlic cashew dressing

Instructions

  1. Blend everything together in a medium mixing bowl
  2. Toss with dressing and serve.

Recipe Notes

Nutrition shown is for the entire salad, without dressing.

Nutrition Facts Healthy Mesclun Salad Amount Per Serving (1 g) Calories 57 Calories from Fat 9 % Daily Value* Fat 1g2% Saturated Fat 1g6% Sodium 24mg1% Potassium 921mg26% Carbohydrates 12g4% Fiber 3g13% Sugar 4g4% Protein 4g8% Vitamin A 3326IU67% Vitamin C 26mg32% Calcium 197mg20% Iron 4mg22% * Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

Mesclun

Lettuces and other leafy greens of mesclun grow best in soil that is rich, loamy and of loose structure. Soils should drain well and have a slightly acid pH.

While mesclun greens can be grown as a mixture, uneven growth of different species makes it more efficient to grow each green individually and then create the appropriate mix after harvest.

Plants of mesclun are shallow rooted and will benefit from an inch of fine organic fertilizer or compost worked into the top few inches before planting. When seeds have germinated and true leaves appear, another top dressing of compost or organic fertilizer will promote growth.

Leaves best picked early in the morning before it gets hot. In the home garden, use scissors to begin harvest when plants are only a couple of inches high. Never let it get more than six inches tall, and the crop will continue to grow, making it that rare “cut and come again” crop.

Specialized harvesters similar to processing greens harvesters have been engineered to allow commercial production of mesclun greens. Cutting just above the soil line requires perfectly shaped, laser-leveled beds to avoid hitting the soil with the blades.

See particular crop names for more specific information.

Organic Purple Mizuna, Arugula, and Tokyo Bekana growing in the field

Of all the crops we grow at Good Heart Farmstead, mesclun mix is the heart of our farm.

We call the salad greens that make up our mesclun mix ‘gateway vegetables’—because even if you’re a meat and potatoes kind of person, you probably have a salad with dinner.

Think you don’t like radishes? Oops, I just slipped some in your salad, and they’re dancing around with the cucumbers waiting to delight you 😉

In all seriousness, I believe everyone should try their hand at growing greens. Salad is the epitome of fresh, and it doesn’t get fresher than harvesting leaves just before dinner.

If you go to the store to buy greens, you’ll likely see a variety of different mixes: spring mix, spicy mix, lettuce mix, mesclun mix, and so on. So what exactly is mesclun?

Mesclun is a mix of baby greens eaten together, and typically includes lettuces, mustards and Asian greens.

As farmers there are a few standout reasons we love growing it:

It’s light

Mesclun mix is our main wholesale crop, and in the summer we harvest and sell around 300 lbs a week. I know 300 lbs of mesclun weighs the same as 300 lbs of carrots, but the price point of each is vary widely. Which brings me to the next reason…

It’s profitable

We grow on only 1 acre, and this forces us to be efficient and look closely at the profitability of each crop. Organic mesclun mix retails for $12.00/lb, whereas organic carrots range between $2.00-3.50/lb.

Growing on 1 acre also means that we don’t have big equipment to mechanically harvest root crops. We’re more of a market garden, and we’ve found that harvesting and transporting greens is easier on our bodies.

It’s beautiful

One of the benefits of farming and gardening is getting to be outside, close to the beauty of the fields. Of all the crops we grow, there’s nothing so beautiful as rows of greens (or reds or purples, as mesclun has a variety of colors).

Even if you’re not selling it, you should still grow mesclun mix. Here’s why:

You can save a whole lot of money

As I said, mesclun mix retails for $12/lb. If you eat salad every day (or twice a day, as I typically do in the summer), that adds up! Put your money into seeds instead, and grow your own.

You can make your own mix

I personally love a spicy kick to my mesclun mix, and add in hot greens like wrinkled crinkled crumpled cress and ruby streaks. But maybe you don’t. Growing your own allows you to play with the ingredients and come up with a mix that you love best.

It’s beautiful

Beautiful gardens are joyful places! This is how gardens do more than feed your body, they feed your soul, too. Growing joy is at the root of everything I do—don’t you want an extra dose of beauty and joy in your garden and life?

How To Grow Great Mesclun Mix

Organic gourmet lettuce mix

Choose your varieties

As I said, one of the benefits of growing your own mesclun mix is being able to create your own mix. A good mesclun mix will have loft, varied textures and colors, and varied tastes from sweet to bitter to spicy.

Here are some suggestions to get you started:

You don’t need to grow all of these at once—I recommend trying one or two from each category.

LETTUCES:

Choose between a baby lettuce mix, like the gourmet mix, or one-cut lettuce heads. {Read more on one-cut lettuces over on my latest post for High Mowing Organic Seeds}

MUSTARDS:

Green Wave – medium

Ruby Streaks – spicy

ASIAN GREENS:

Mizuna – mildly spicy

Purple Mizuna – mildly spicy

Tokyo Bekana

White Stemmed Pac Choi

SPECIALTY GREENS:

Astro Arugula – medium spicy

Esme Arugula – medium spicy

Wrinkled Crinkled Cress – spicy

SPINACH & KALE:

Red Russian Kale

Vates Kale

Butterflay Spinach

Escalade F1 Spinach

The most important thing when growing greens is to start with clean garden beds.

There’s nothing more tedious than having to pull weeds that have sprouted up among the baby greens, so start by scuffling the entire bed to remove any weeds. Depending on your soil, add a layer of compost and rake it evenly over the bed.

Next comes seeding.

Before you sow, check the days to maturity (DTM) on each variety you’re growing. Asian greens and mustards reach maturity faster than lettuces, so stagger the seeding date based on DTM.

For example, Mizuna Asian greens are ready for harvest in 21 days. Gourmet Lettuce blend is ready in 28 days. To ensure they’re ready at the same time, sow the lettuce blend a week earlier than the Mizuna.

We sow a few hundred feet at a time, and love this six-row seeder to sow quickly and evenly. If you’re working with a smaller space, you can either sprinkle the seeds in rows, or broadcast in blocks by hand.

The second most important thing is to water evenly and consistently.

Be sure to consistently water your seedbed so the seeds don’t dry out. If they do dry out, you’ll get patchy germination. Covering the bed with reemay or agribon row cover helps keep the moisture in during germination.

Once the beds have germinated, we remove the reemay on the lettuce, but keep it on for the mustards, asian and specialty greens to protect them from flea beetles.

After germination, we water the greens every few days, depending on the weather. Watering can be a bit of a dance, with the frequency changing based on temperature and sun vs. clouds. While it’s okay to let the soil dry a bit, greens will grow best with regular watering.

Harvest time!

Harvest the greens by hand with a sharp harvest knife. One of the benefits of baby greens is that you can cut and come again, getting 2-3 harvests from one planting. To do this, cut about 1” above the ground, leaving the growth point in tact.

If you’re harvesting 100’ beds like we are, the quick-cut greens harvester will cut down your harvest time by hours.

Mix your harvest together, wash and enjoy!

Do you grow your own mesclun mix? What’s your favorite green to add to it?

If you haven’t grown your own yet, are you going to give it a try? Let me know! And if you have any questions, post them in the comments below.

How to Grow Your Own Spring Greens

Get Planting

Photo by GAP Photos

Why wait for warmer weather to put your green thumb to work? Plant some cold-loving leafy greens in spring, and you can enjoy fresh produce weeks before it’s tomato-planting time. Sprouted from seeds or dug in as seedlings, these hardy and hearty vegetables are easy to grow and can survive a late-season cold snap. Snipped young and tender, they perk up any salad mix; cooked, their mature leaves can add zing to stir-fries, soups, stews, and more.

Many of these cold-loving greens are members of the brassica group of antioxidant-rich, immune-boosting cruciferous vegetables like arugula, which has a nutty taste and a slightly peppery bite. You can find variations on its long, narrow, serrated or lobed leaf in the six seed varieties at Burpee, including ‘Myway,’ which matures in just 30 to 35 days.

A raised bed allows you to control the garden’s soil composition from the start. Its height also makes planting and plucking easier on your back. Find out how to build a raised planting bed.

Collards

Photo by JohnnyScriv/Getty Images

Collards, long popular in the South, can be picked in the infant stage, chopped up, and added to your favorite slaw. Full-grown, the large, flat leaves can serve as a wrap around sandwich fixings. For spring planting, look for a compact variety, like ‘Champion,’ that matures quickly for early harvests.

Kale

Photo by Jo Whitworth/GAP Photos

Tuscan kale—also called black, lacinato, or dinosaur kale—has an elongated, dark-green, pebbled leaf that is quite tender and cooks more quickly than curly-leaf types. A great introduction to varieties you won’t see at the local grocery story is the Kale Premiere Blend Seeds mix at Botanical Interests.

Mustard Greens

Photo by Jerry Pavia

Mustard greens come in many shapes and sizes, including ‘Scarlet Frills,’ ‘Red Giant’ (a popular Asian variety with round, flat leaves), and the more common bright-green ‘Southern Giant.’ A bit thinner than collards and most kale leaves, cooked mustard greens are best just wilted—like most greens, overcooking makes them bitter.

Spinach

Photo by Pernilla Bergdahl/GAP Photos

Spinach, part of the amaranth family, offers a mellow contrast to mix in with the sharper brassica greens. Some types have savoy, or very curly, leaves; others are flat and rounded or pointed and narrow. Johnnyseeds.com, which specializes in time-tested heirloom and organic vegetables, offers 15 varieties of spinach. A baby flat-leaf type, like ‘Flamingo,’ will give you more bang for your buck, as it is slower than most varieties to bolt—or flower and go to seed.

Chard

Photo by Jonathan Buckley/GAP Photos

Chard, which is related to the beet, is similar in taste, texture, and nutrient profile to spinach, but is more heat-tolerant, so it’s a good choice to plant when your spinach is finished. ‘Bright Lights’ is a mix with enticing purple, red, pink, orange, yellow, and white stems.

If you opt to grow your spring greens from seeds, you can sow them directly in garden beds or outdoor pots when the soil temperature reaches 45ºF. In just five to eight days, you will see plants poking up through the surface. In 20 to 30 days, you can start harvesting small leaves to relish.

Arugula

Photo by Visions/GAP Photos

These greens grow best in full sun but will tolerate partial shade, particularly once the weather warms. Use organic soil or potting mix and moisten with water. Sow the seeds by scattering them across the surface of the soil and top with about ¼ inch of soil just to cover the seeds. Keep the soil moist by misting it until the seeds germinate. Once seeds have sprouted, thin the seedlings to allow for proper growth; share extra plants with friends or transfer them to containers so they have room to grow. If growing in pots, larger containers work best. While you might fit four arugula plants in a 12-inch pot, for a larger green, such as lacinato kale, you would have only one plant in a pot of that size.

If you purchase plants, or start your seeds indoors (following the packet instructions), you can transplant seedlings to your beds or containers a bit earlier than other crops—from three to five weeks before the last frost date in your USDA agricultural zone. These plants can survive a light frost or two as long as they are protected by a lightweight covering (an old bedsheet, removed during the day, can work) when temperatures drop below 32ºF. Water when the soil feels dry or when the plants look droopy, but don’t overdo it. Use an organic fertilizer according to label directions once the plants start growing additional leaves.

To harvest your greens, pluck or snip the outer leaves of the plant, allowing the center to continue to grow and leaf out. Before the plants start to go to seed, cut them back to encourage more leaf growth. You can also sow seeds thickly for a continuous crop of baby greens: Simply snip off the tops and let them grow back for another round or two.

Recipes

Photo by (clockwise from left) James Baigre/Offset, , Aysegul Sanford/The Picture Pantry

Now that you’ve got the garden in the works, here’s what you do with the harvest. See some easy, enticing recipe ideas for all those homegrown greens.

  • Tuscan kale and garlic pizza
  • Simple stir-fried greens
  • Spring greens garden salad
  • Fingerling potatoes with collard greens and apple cider dressing

Salad Mix © Frances Michaels
Salad mix, mesclun, baby leaf and microgreens are new terms for many gardeners although they have been available in supermarkets as a packaged salad item for many years. So what are they and are they worth growing in the home garden?
To view the Green Harvest Microgreens Growing Information which includes detailed information on growing wheatgrass, sunflower sprouts and buckwheat ‘lettuce’.
To view the Green Harvest Sprouts Growing Information which includes detailed information on everything you need to know to sprout seeds successfully.
Salad Mixes, ‘baby leaf’ or ‘mesclun’ are an assortment of green, leafy vegetables grown in a seedbed and picked by removing the outside leaves at a ‘baby leaf’ stage. Salad mixes or ‘mesclun’ were originally French; the name comes from the word mescla, which means ‘to mix’ in the local dialect of Nice. The idea was to make a salad that included diverse taste and texture sensation: bitter, sweet, tangy, crunchy and tender. The original recipe was a combination of early shoots of rocket, dandelion greens and lettuce. Other ingredients in a mix might include chicories (syn. radicchio), beetroot greens, asian greens (tatsoi, mizuna), spinach, kale, and mustard greens.

Why Grow Salad Mixes?
If you were only going to grow one type of vegetable in your garden it should be leafy greens. Leafy greens begin to lose Vitamin C and other nutrients from the moment they are picked and so are very vulnerable to nutrient loss. Other vegetables like carrots or tomatoes have vitamins that are far more stable.

  • A large quantity of the salad greens available in the supermarket are grown hydroponically, the complete opposite of organically. Hydroponics is a growing system that bypasses the soil in favour of a ‘nutrient soup’ made from chemical fertilisers fed directly to the plants. The lettuces in the supermarket might look like a lettuce but chemical cocktail might be a better description.
  • If you have only limited space then this is a rewarding way to use it. Salad mixes can be grown in recycled styrofoam boxes or other containers even on a balcony.
  • It is one of those gardening ironies that just when you want salad, it is the hardest time of the year to grow it but growing a small area of salad mix under shade will minimise your watering and allow you to produce salad greens at the hotter times of the year.

How to Grow Salad Mix
In the Garden:In the home garden it is best to set aside a small area for salad production, even 1m by 1m is enough to begin with. Pick a sunny spot with good soil and drainage. It is an advantage to box in the area so it is slightly raised. Dig the soil over thoroughly and incorporate compost, mushroom compost or well-rotted animal manure. It is worth spending a bit of time preparing the area. Plan to cover the area during hot periods with shadecloth (30%, preferably white) on a frame. This will allow you to continue production well into summer. Plan to leave space for successive sowings so you will not have long to wait between harvests. Sowing seed each week will ensure you always have fresh greens. For mixed packets of seed simply scatter (broadcast) seeds thinly or sprinkle seeds in close rows about 8 – 10 cm apart; cover with 5 – 8 mm of soil. If the seeds are packaged separately then rows is the way to go because it allows for the different growth rates and so the fastest growing types will not ‘monster’ the others. Water well, and keep damp until seeds sprout. Unchecked, rapid growth is the main requirement for tender greens; a constant supply of soil moisture is crucial. After germination, thin seedlings to a final spacing of 2 – 3 cm. The thinnings make fine salad additions.
In Containers:Salad mix can also be grown in seedling trays or recycled styrofoam boxes. For your soil mix choose between organic, potting mix (look for an organic certification number on the bag), cocopeat, vermiculite, sieved compost or worm castings. If the trays or boxes have large holes in the base that allow the soil mix to leak out, try covering the base first with a single sheet of slightly moistened newspaper. To grow a batch of salad mix fill the tray with your selected soil mix 3 – 4 cm deep and moisten the mix. Sprinkle the seeds evenly on top of the mix, try to leave a few centimeters of space around each seed. Overcrowding will increase the risk of damping off disease. Gently pat the seeds down; then cover with 0.5 cm of mix. There are exceptions to this e.g. lettuce seed which only needs to be pressed firmly into the soil, but left uncovered. Then cover the tray with a lid or another inverted tray to help keep the seeds moist until they sprout. Water often using a sprayer. Adding diluted organic nutrients e.g. kelp or compost tea to the sprayer will improve the nutrient levels in the salad mix. When a salad mix tray is finished, add it to the compost. Place your seed trays in a shadehouse or on a deck or sunny verandah An easy way to get started is to use a Mini-Greenhouse. This is a tubular steel-framed structure that can be placed on a deck or balcony.

How to Harvest Salad Mix
Harvest by cutting leaves as they reach 5 – 10 cm in length; use scissors to snip them off just above the growing crowns (about 2.5 cm above the soil level) if you would like to be able to pick several times. This is called the cut-and-come-again method because the crop will grow back if you water and fertilise. Or you can choose to harvest whole plants. The green, leafy vegetables that are part of the salad mix can also be grown individually to a mature size. The best time to harvest is early in the morning before the sun is high; heat causes wilting. Once you’ve harvested, rinse the leaves in cold water and drain on towels or pat dry. Mesclun is at its crispest with the best flavour when it’s just harvested, so use it as soon as possible. Avoid using salad spinners because they bruise the leaves.
Green Harvest Suggestions for Salad Mix

Amaranth
Basil
Beetroot
Broccoli
Cabbage
Chicory
Endive
Golden Purslane
Kale
Kohlrabi
Lettuce
Millet
Mustard
Mizuna
Orach
Parsley
Pea
Perilla
Rocket
Salad Mix
Shungiku
Silverbeet
Spinach
Tatsoi

Mesclun Greens – What Is Mesclun And How To Grow It

Mesclun greens are valued for their color, variety, nutritional punch and mix of flavors. Salad mesclun is a mix comprised of the young, tender new leaves of several greens species. Often called spring mix, the leaves are rich in vitamins and their color and form add interest to a boring salad. The salad mix is an essential culinary ingredient for the keen home chef. Growing mesclun in the garden affords a healthful, convenient and cost saving way to enjoy these greens.

What is Mesclun?

Mesclun greens traditionally contain the small, young leaves of species such as endive, arugula, chervil and leafy lettuces like baby red leaf. Today, the notion of salad mixes has expanded to include many other varieties of greens and herbs. A mesclun mix may include such things as spinach, chard, frisee, mustard and dandelion greens, mizuna, mache and radicchio among others. The huge variety in greens makes for a very interesting and wide palate pleaser.

The

name “mesclun” comes from the word “mescal” from the Provencal or Southern France dialects. The word means “to mix” or “mixture.” Mesclun mix is harvested when the baby greens are only three to four weeks old, small, soft and tender. Older mesclun greens are used braised as a hot vegetable. Mesclun mixes may contain five to seven different varieties of greens and come with different flavor profiles such as spicy or bitter.

Growing Mesclun

Mesclun can be purchased as a seed mix or you can get the different varieties of greens that you prefer and make your own mix. Mesclun mix is harvested young so it doesn’t need a lot of space and even does well in containers. Sow succession crops every 2 weeks in spring or summer.

These greens grow best in cooler temperatures and tend to bolt when summer heat amps up. Sprinkle the seeds and cover lightly with a scattering of soil. After germination thin the seedlings to a spacing of 1 inch between each plant. Use the sprouts in salads so you aren’t wasting the seeds.

Harvesting Salad Mesclun

Salad mesclun is harvested with the “cut and come again” method. Cut the leaves you need for each meal and leave the rest. Harvest greens that are 4 to 6inches long and snip them off 1 inch above the soil line. In about a month the plant will be ready to harvest again. Some of the greens in meslun mix come back more thickly such as the baby lettuces.

Make Your Own Mesclun Mix

The wide variety of greens and species for salads means it is up to you to decide what is mesclun. In addition to the plants already mentioned you can mix in purslane, cress, Asian greens, red kale and chicory. Plant them with leafy herbs to harvest at the same time such as cilantro, parsley and basil. The combinations and colors will make salad one of your favorite meals

Not so long ago, the word mesclun was unknown to everyone but hippies hard of hearing. Now the mix of salad greens is a favorite among gourmet restaurants and gardeners who love the crisp, occasionally spicy taste of loose leaf lettuces. As grown in its place of origin — Provencal, France — mesclun is a specific mix of chervil, arugula, lettuces and endive. In American gardens, anything goes: red and green loose leafs, Asian greens, kale, even radicchio.

One of our favorite gardening practices — inspired by Mel Bartholomew’s now-classic Square-Foot Gardening — is to stake out a two-by-two foot square in the garden and freely sow a mesclun mix, either one purchased and ready-to-go or one we’ve mixed ourselves from favorite greens (deer tongue, rosso, black-seeded Simpson, mizuna , kale, Asian mustard, arugula and garden cress). We sow them into the corners and across the middle. A quick raking and tamping, followed by a thorough watering, is enough to get mesclun growing.

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Once the garden greens start to come up, we thin as possible. The beauty of the system is that different greens germinate at different times and produce at different rates. The earliest germinators shade the slower plants until those larger greens are harvested. Then the slower greens sprout up to take their place. For those with the patience, finger-harvesting mixed greens like this can provide fresh, different salads over a period of weeks. Even the traditional method of harvest — cropping with scissors — leaves just enough growth for new plants to emerge. As lettuce seed packages everywhere say, “cut and come again.” It’s best to harvest when they’re small — baby greens, as they’re sold in markets. That’s when they’re at their summertime best — delicate and tasty!

The shading effect, while also conserving moisture, helps extend your harvest season into the heat of summer by discouraging plants to go to seed. One problem: it also gives cover to slugs and bugs. The smallness of the gardening square makes them easy to find with a little effort. Planting this way every two and three weeks will yield a bounty of greens all through the season. And it will provide your family with delicious, varietal salads which even kids will love, especially if you teach them to hunt for and identify their various components. “Look, mom. Arugula!”

Learn About Mesclun

Common Disease Problems

Alternaria leaf spot: Small, round reddish brown spots with white to grey centers for on the upper surface of the leaves. The lesions may encircle the stems and cause wilt. This disease is worse in warm, wet or very humid weather. Burpee Recommends: Avoid getting water on the foliage. Remove infected plant parts and do not work around wet plants. Provide plenty of air circulation. Contact your Cooperative Extension Service for fungicide recommendations.

Bacterial Leaf Spot: This causes brown water soaked spots on the foliage which eventually makes the foliage turn yellow. It thrives in cooler temperatures. Burpee Recommends: Remove infected plants. Rotate crops with plants in a different family. Avoid overhead watering. Do not work around plants when they are wet.

Black Rot: This bacterial disease thrives in warm and humid conditions and attacks the leaves. Yellow-orange V shaped lesions occur on the edges of the leaves and eventually dry out and the leaves fall. Burpee Recommends: Rotate crops with plants in a different family. Avoid overhead watering. Provide adequate air circulation, do not overcrowd plants. Do not work around plants when they are wet. Control weeds where the disease can overwinter.

Damping Off: This is one of the most common problems when starting plants from seed. The seedling emerges and appears healthy; then it suddenly wilts and dies for no obvious reason. Damping off is caused by a fungus that is active when there is abundant moisture and soils and air temperatures are above 68 degrees F. Typically, this indicates that the soil is too wet or contains high amounts of nitrogen fertilizer. Burpee Recommends: Keep seedlings moist but do not overwater; avoid over-fertilizing your seedlings; thin out seedlings to avoid overcrowding; make sure the plants are getting good air circulation; if you plant in containers, thoroughly wash them in soapy water & rinse in a ten per cent bleach solution after use.

Downy Mildew: This fungus causes whitish grey patches on the undersides and eventually both sides of the leaves. Burpee Recommends: Rotate crops with plants in a different family. Avoid overhead watering. Provide adequate air circulation, do not overcrowd plants. Do not work around plants when they are wet.

Common Pest and Cultural Problems

Aphids: Greenish, red, black or peach colored sucking insects can spread disease as they feed on the undersides of leaves. They leave a sticky residue on foliage that attracts ants. Burpee Recommends: Introduce or attract natural predators into your garden such as lady beetles and wasps which feed on aphids. You can also wash them off with a strong spray, or use an insecticidal soap.

Cabbage Looper: These worms are green with a white stripe on either side, about 1-1.5 inches long. They tunnel through the heads. Burpee Recommends: Hand pick. Floating row covers can help prevent their laying eggs on the plants.

Flea Beetles: These small hopping beetles feed on plant foliage. Burpee Recommends: Rotate crops with plants in a different plant family. Use floating row covers to prevent damage to young foliage.

Leafminers: These insects bore just under the leaf surface causing irregular serpentine lines. The larvae are yellow cylindrical maggots and the adults are small black and yellow flies. They do not usually kill plants, but disfigure the foliage. Burpee Recommends: Remove affected foliage.

Slugs: These pests leave large holes in the foliage or eat leaves entirely. They leave a slime trail, feed at night and are mostly a problem in damp weather. Burpee Recommends: Hand pick, at night if possible. You can try attracting the slugs to traps either using cornmeal or beer. For a beer trap, dig a hole in the ground and place a large cup or bowl into the hole; use something that has steep sides so that the slugs can’t crawl back out when they’re finished. Fill the bowl about ¾ of the way full with beer, and let it sit overnight. In the morning, the bowl should be full of drowned slugs that can be dumped out for the birds to eat. For a cornmeal trap, put a tablespoon or two of cornmeal in a jar and put it on its side near the plants. Slugs are attracted to the scent but they cannot digest it and it will kill them. You can also try placing a barrier around your plants of diatomaceous earth or even coffee grounds. They cannot crawl over these.

The 11 Spring Greens that Make Up Mesclun

Cooking How-To, Ingredient https://relish.com/articles/the-11-spring-greens-that-make-up-mesclun/ on April 15, 2013 Mark Boughton Photography / styling by Teresa Blackburn https://relish.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/the-art-of-salad-24_web-150×150.jpg A potpourri of young salad greens, mesclun (MEHS-kluhn) is sometimes sold as “spring mix” or “baby salad mix” and is often available in bulk. Contents of mesclun vary by season and availability, but the mix of flavors and textures generally leads to tasty salads. Here are some likely components:

  • Arugula (ah-ROO-guh-lah): Also known as Italian cress or rocket, arugula has a peppery taste and its leaves resemble radish leaves. It’s great in creamy pasta sauces as well as salads.
  • Baby Spinach: Young spinach is more tender and delicately flavored than its mature counterpart.
  • Belgian Endive: Sometimes called French endive, this member of the chicory family grows as a cigar-shaped head with tightly packed leaves. Endive is grown in darkness to prevent it from turning green. It has an assertive, somewhat bitter taste and is also good for braising.
  • Dandelion Greens: From the same “weed” you curse in your lawn, dandelion greens are best picked before dandelion flowers. They have a slightly bitter, tangy taste.
  • Frisee (free-ZAY): A member of the chicory family, frisee has Curly yellow-white to yellow-green leaves. Also called curly endive, it has a mildly bitter taste.
  • Mache (MAHSH): A small-leafed green, mache is known as lamb’s lettuce or corn salad and has a somewhat sweet flavor.
  • Mizuna (mih-ZOO-nuh): A Japanese green, with spicy, peppery taste, mizuna has serrated leaves that resemble dandelion leaves.
  • Oak Leaf: A decorative and flavorful leaf lettuce resembling oak leaves, oak leaf lettuce can be green or red in color.
  • Radicchio (rah-DEE-kee-oh): A bitter, assertive taste characterizes radicchio, an Italian member of the chicory family. These red leaves with white veins are also good roasted and in risottos.
  • Sorrel (SOR-uhl): The long slender leaves of sorrel have flavors that range from fruity to slightly acidic. They’re good in soups and stews as well as salads.
  • Watercress: This member of the mustard family has with small, crisp leaves and a sightly bitter and peppery taste.

By Jo Marshall, author of Cookcabulary series

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