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Micro to Maxi via Procrastination

May 4, 2013

As I’ve noted before, procrastination in gardening sometimes has its rewards.

Last fall I broadcast the remnants of a “Micro-Greens, Spicy Mix” and a plain micro-greens mix of some sort into the same general area of one of my back beds. Germination was so-so for these and some lettuces cast nearby, but a few things did come up.

But since the bed never really reached critical mass, the micro-greens weren’t grazed upon as they normally would have been (“cut and come again” style.) Soon the survivors weren’t micro at all and as winter set in the large plants slowed their growth to near dormancy. The main survivors were primarily arugula, a pretty red Chinese mustard and something I later figured out was mizuna.

The plants stood the mild winter well and seemed to enjoy getting hit with some frost. We grazed a bit (the mizuna was a pleasant surprise) from them but barely made a dent, and as spring arrived they started to bolt.

By the time I got around to prepping this particular beds for summer tomatoes, I couldn’t take it upon myself to pull and compost a couple of these with bees now on their flowers after surviving winter. So, as I am prone to do, I changed my story: these plants now were purposely cultivated until spring so that I might harvest and save seed for next fall. Yeah, ha, that’s what I’ll claim anyway.

The mustard still has a way to go yet before the seed is ready, but is an oddly attractive addition to the otherwise sterile tomato patch:

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The mizuna on the other had is done blooming and is covered with green seed pods; when these start to brown I’ll pull the plant and let it dry in a bag or bucket. Once dry and shaken out a bit, I should have a mere 10,000 mizuna seeds for next year. 😉 It seemed to transform from a mass of leaves to a mass of seeds overnight.

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As I stated, this was a pleasant surprise; the mild taste raw makes for a great salad base and I understand that in Japan it is used in stir fry in as well. It is chock full of nutrition (I’ve yet to find a brassica that isn’t) and while the leaves appear to be somewhat “stemish”, the stems and veins are actually quite tender.
Heat tolerant, cold tolerant, easy to grow- why haven’t I grown this before?

More on Mizuna here.

And just in case anyone was wondering, I’m on my third generation of “wild” arugula. Actually I suppose it would be more “feral”, since it started as a domesticated planting but for 3 seasons volunteers have sprouted almost continuously. I let the volunteers grow out wherever they root; like mizuna the plants are covered with seed pods after flowering:

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And that’s about it for this rainy day…..

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. May 4, 2013 8:50 pm

    I discovered Mizuna this year and am never looking back. EVERYTHING died when the temps topped 45 C (about 110F). The Mizuna wilted then came back. The bees loved the flowers, I cut off the seed pods and the plants seem to have discovered a 2nd life. We have Mizuna salads a couple of times a week.

    Those red mustard plants did okay, but nothing like the mizuna. The one thing they’ve done that the mizuna hasn’t is popped up where they weren’t planted. I’m not complaining, I love them. Though a little of the mustard goes a long way!

    Enjoy your success.

    • May 5, 2013 7:36 am

      Good to have the heat thing confirmed. I blew the fall/winter lettuce scheme last year and am still seeking redemption from mrs cohutt. Something for slads in july and august here would be a good thing….

  2. May 4, 2013 11:21 pm

    Mizuna… sounds like an unsuccessful line of 1970s economy cars. I’m not familiar with this. You eat mizuna? You don’t hook it up to an amp or apply it liberally to one’s scalp to boost hair volume?

    • May 5, 2013 7:37 am

      I thought it was a Japanese sporting goods company actually…. 😉

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