How To Grow Mizuna from Seed to Harvest

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In this article, we explain how to grow mizuna from seed to harvest. Mizuna is an Asian green sometimes referred to as Chinese potherb mustard, Japanese salad green, or California peppergrass though it is not peppery or related to peppergrass. Although Mizuna is part of the mustard family, it lacks the pungency of regular mustard greens.

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Mizuna is a beautiful plant with thin, feathery, light green leaves. Some gardeners even grow them purely as an ornamental plant. Plants grow upright in dense clumps up to 12 inches in diameter.

It can be grown as a cut-and-come-again green. If you’re unfamiliar with the term, it means you can harvest a few leaves without uprooting the entire plant. The plant will quickly produce new leaves to replace those you harvested.

There are several varieties of Mizuna to choose from, some with reddish undertones. Some varieties are simply listed as Gourmet greens, Mustard Greens, Asian greens, or salad mixes. Our favorite strains are Mizuna Mustard and Bena Houshi Mizula.

Mizuna Overview

Common Name(s)Chinese potherb mustard, Japanese salad green, Japanese mustard green, spider mustard, Konya
Scientific NameBrassica rapa var. nipposinica
Days to Harvest40 days
LightFull sun
WaterTwice per week or as needed to prevent wilting
SoilWell-draining, rich soil
FertilizerOnce per month
HeightUp to 12″ tall
Spacing4″ apart in rows spaced 18″
Planting Depth1/2″ max

How To Grow Mizuna: Starting From Seed

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Mizuna seedlings – photo credit: Anna Gregory

Now let’s talk about how to grow mizuna from seed, and early spring green. First, we cover direct planting in the garden and then how to get started with growing mizuna seeds indoors.

Direct sowing Mizuna in the garden

Mizuna is very frost hardy and tolerates wet soil, so it can be sown in early spring as soon as the soil can be tilled. I should clarify, mature mizuna can tolerate frost, but the seedlings will become more fragile. That said, it thrives best in temperatures below 70 F, so start planting early in spring.

Mizuna planting depth

Sow seeds 4″ apart and no more than 1/2″ deep. Mizuna seeds are small, so it is easier for us to plant them with a seed sower.

What is the spacing for mizuna?

High intensity planting should be considered using the square foot gardening method when growing in raised beds or in containers. In this situation, we recommend planting 4 inches apart in all directions. We love this seedling square for arranging plants in our raised beds.

If you plant in rows in your garden, space Mizuna 4″ apart with a row spacing of 18 inches. Using this spacing allows the plants to get enough light and you can walk between rows.

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Mizuna seedlings – photo credit: isaac’licious

Sowing Mizuna seeds indoors

Get a jumpstart on your Mizuna harvest by starting the seeds indoors. Since mizuna is a fast grower, you only need to sow the seeds indoors about four weeks before you anticipate transplanting outdoors.

Start by filling the seed starting trays with moist seed starting mix. Make sure the soil is tightly packed, then put a hole in the center of each cell about 1/4 inches deep. Place a seed or two in each cell, covering lightly. Make sure you cover the tray with the humidity dome to keep the trays from drying out.

When the seedlings germinate, it is necessary to provide them with a good light source. If you don’t have a sunroom that gets at least 8 hours of direct sunlight, you’ll need to use artificial lighting. Make sure you use the proper grow light for seed starting.

The first leaves to appear differ from mature leaves, they are the cotyledons. They are rounded, almost heart-shaped. The next leaves to appear will be true leaves and will have the feathery appearance of mature mizuna leaves.

How to grow Mizuna: Transplanting outdoors

If you’ve provided the Mizuna seedlings with adequate light, they should be a few inches tall with several leaves when it’s time to move them outside. Now move them outdoors with one consideration. Unless you start your seedlings in natural sunlight, it will be necessary to harden them off before transplanting to the garden.

Hardening off simply means acclimating to sunlight. Do this by gradually giving them more and more sun over a week or two. Be sure to include this time in your seed starting schedule.

How To Care For Mizuna In The Garden

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Mizuna in a raised bed – photo credit: aaronlk

Light needed to grow Mizuna

Mizuna does best when grown in full sun when temperatures are below 70F. If you want to grow Mizuna in the summer heat, choose an area that’s shady at midday. Planting in the shade along a fence or the shade of taller plants works great.

Water requirements

If you’ve sown mizuna seeds directly into your garden, you need to make sure the seeds stay moist until they germinate. Once the seedlings have germinated, water them as needed to prevent wilting until they are well rooted. Mizuna plant leaves are thin and transpire their water quickly. Generally speaking, a good soak once per week is sufficient for mature plants. However, as the weather gets warmer, watering several times may be needed to prevent wilting.

Soil needs

Like most garden vegetables, Mizuna will benefit from rich, well-drained soil. Be sure to add compost to the planting hole. If you have a worm compost bin, adding vermicompost will benefit your plants. If worm droppings aren’t an option, you can mix blood meal and bone meal into the soil before planting. These are great slow-release organic nutrient options.

Fertilizer to grow Mizuna

We recommend a diluted water-soluble fertilizer or a fish emulsion. You can start fertilizing once a month starting about three weeks after germination. Consider supplementing the soil with compost or slow-release fertilizer for succession planting. As with most vegetables, mizuna requires higher levels of nitrogen than other essential nutrients. However, there is no need to overdo it with fertilizer.

Common Problems: How to Grow Mizuna

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Mizuna starting to bolt (starting to flower)

Bolting

How do I stop my mizuna from bolting?

Unlike lettuce, Mizuna generally does not bolt (flower) prematurely in hot weather. In our experience, even after a week of 90F temperatures, we had no problem with bolting, although we did experience some wilting. However, Mizuna recovered as temperatures dropped in the evening.

To help ensure you stop the Mizuna from bolting, you can provide shade on the hottest summer days by using a shade cloth. If you grow mizuna in containers or grow bags, you can place them in a shady spot during the midday heat.

Did you know that mizuna flowers are edible? Yes, that’s right, those pretty yellow flowers are edible. You might even have seen them as an edible garnish in a fancy restaurant. So why stop Mizuna from bolting? The answer is, when the plant bolts, it devotes all of its energy to flowering and stops producing leaves.

Diseases

Mizuna is not prone to most of the common brassica diseases. Damping off would be your biggest concern as far as fungal diseases.

Damping Off – Rhizoctonia spp., Pythium spp.
CauseFungal disease that favors wet soil
SymptomsPoor germination; Brown-black lesions around stem close to soil line; Seedling never emerges from soil;
ManagementAvoid planting seeds too deep; Plant seeds without crowding; Don’t over-water plants;

Pests

Flea Beetles
PestInsect that feeds on foliage;
SymptomsShallow pits and small rounded, irregular holes (usually less than 1/8 inch) in the leaves;
ManagementUse row covers or screens over plants;

Harvesting: How To Grow Mizuna

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Harvesting Mizuna leaves

When is the Mizuna ready to harvest?

You should be able to start harvesting the leaves about three weeks after germination. Mizuna mustard matures in about 40 days. You can either wait and harvest the entire plant, or use the leaves continuously, a process known as “cut and come again.” You can start harvesting the leaves about 3 weeks after the seeds have germinated.

Harvesting Mizuna

After about 4-5 weeks you can cut off the entire top of the plants. With some fertilizer, the plants will quickly grow back for a second cut. Using the cut and come again method is quicker than reseeding or transplanting the seedlings. Some gardeners prefer to have a tray of seedlings ready for succession planting. Optionally, you can just drop a seed where you harvested the entire plant.

How To Use Mizuna

Mizuna has a mild flavor but is rich in vitamins and minerals. The leaves are very attractive in a salad of greens. Vinaigrette dressing, compliments this Asian green. Another great way to use Mizuna is to fry it in sesame oil with ginger and soy sauce. The leaves are also a great addition to soups or stews, just add the leaves at the last minute.

Nutritional Information

Mizuna, like Kale, is low in calories but rich in several vitamins and minerals such as vitamins A, C, and K.

Two cups (85 grams) of raw mizuna provides (4Trusted Source, 5):

  • Calories: 21
  • Protein: 2 grams
  • Carbs: 3 grams
  • Fiber: 1 gram
  • Vitamin A: 222% of the DV
  • Vitamin C: 12% of the DV
  • Vitamin K: more than 100% of the DV
  • Calcium: 12% of the DV
  • Iron: 6% of the DV

Like many other leafy greens, Mizuna is also a good source of antioxidants.

FAQ: How To Grow Mizuna

Is Mizuna hard to grow?

It’s actually very easy to grow Mizuna. Since it’s fairly resistant to pests, it requires little attention other than watering once established in the garden.

How cold hardy is mizuna?

Mizuna mustard can be grown successively from early spring until a hard frost in the fall. Sometimes Mizuna will even survive a light snowfall.

Can I grow Mizuna in a container?

Absolutely. Mizuna reaches maturity fast and is unlikely to get rootbound. Using a 5-gallon pot or grow bag will provide you with a steady supply of Mizuna throughout the growing season.

Is Mizuna cut and come again?

Yes. You can begin harvesting leaves once the plant reaches a couple inches. Additionally, you can cut all the leaves off about 1″ above the soil once the plant is about 4-5 weeks old. Either way, the plant will quickly regrow new leaves.

Can Mizuna be eaten raw?

Yes. It makes a great addition to salad and pairs well with a vinaigrette dressing.

Is Mizuna heat tolerant?

Yes. You’ll find that Mizuna is less prone to bolting than many other leafy greens. If you have really hot summers, plant it along a fence that provides some shade in the summer or beneath taller plants as a companion crop.

Can you freeze Mizuna?

Yes. Wash the greens, then cut them into 2 inches pieces and spread them out on a towel to dry. Once dry, transfer them to a cookie sheet and freeze for one hour in a single layer. After they’re frozen you can put them into freezer bags. They should stay good for at least six months. Vacuum seal them for longer storage.

Conclusion

I hope this review has been in understanding how to grow lush green Mizuna. We offer an excellent selection of seeds to fill your garden, please feel free to visit our seed store.

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