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Mizuna cabbage, japanese greens

Three greens: lettuce, mizuna cabbage and coriander

Mizuna looks like lettuce, it is very similar to arugula, but it’s actually a type of cabbage. A crunchy texture and peppery taste are what make it much sought after.

Main Mizuna facts

NameBrassica rapa japonica
Family – Brassicaceae
Type – leaf vegetable

Exposure – full sun
Soil – well drained, rather rich
Height – 6 to 8 inches (15 to 20 cm)

Harvest – spring, summer, fall, winter

Sowing, planting mizuna

Sowing mizuna cabbage

Mizuna cabbage is sown from spring until the beginning of winter.

  • In loose soil, sow directly in the vegetable patch from June to August.
  • From November on, sow under cover, such as a tunnel greenhouse or an unheated greenhouse.
  • Dig furrows about ½ inch (1 cm) deep running parallel at a distance of 8 to 12 inches (20 to 30 cm) from each other.
  • Protect the seedlings with agricultural shade cloth during heat waves.
  • Keep the soil a bit moist.

When the first leaves appear, thin and keep the most vigorous seedlings, about one every 8 inches (20 cm).

If you purchase seedlings that are ready to plant, it is possible to plant them all summer long, even until the beginning of winter, but you must protect the plants from from freezing.

It isn’t necessary to bury the root crown completely.

Note that mizuna is perfectly suited to growing in pots.

Slugs will be a bane for your mizuna greens during their entire life cycle.

Caring for mizuna

Easy to care for, mizuna cabbage is mostly only vulnerable to early bolting, which would keep the head from shaping up well.

  • Mizuna roots run along rather shallow in the ground, which means that the soil must be kept consistently moist to avoid drying out the plants.
  • Water regularly but in a light drizzle to keep the substrate sufficiently moist.

Pests and diseases on Mizuna

Stay on the lookout for a dainty white butterfly. Its caterpillars would ruin your harvest.

Harvesting mizuna

Mizuna needs more or less 3 weeks lead time before harvest.

  • Its young leaves are perfect in mixed salad, mesclun-style, or as an edible decoration to a main dish.
  • Slice leaves off at their base with a very sharp blade.

Harvesting in winter is perfectly possible.

  • Sow from October to December with protective cover.
  • Spread mulch such as dried leaves around your mizuna cabbages to protect them from frost.

Mizuna contains vitamins A and C and calcium, too. Leek can be eaten both raw and cooked.

Smart tip about mizuna or Japanese greens

As you till, provide your soil with nutrients (fertilizer, compost) to boost growth and enhance your harvest!

Image credits (edits Gaspard Lorthiois):
CC BY 2.0: Joi Ito
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