December 20, 2011

plant profile: Mizuna

Brassica rapa juncea
(kyona, shui cai)

Appearance - Mizuna is an upright green with deeply cut serrated leaves on thin white stalks.  It is part of the hot and spicy group of mustards in the Brassica rapa family but has a mild flavor.  It can tolerate both heat, humidity and cold weather making it a good year round crop.  

Uses - Originally, mizuna is from China but is thought of as a Japanese green that is primarily used for cooking.  Here in the west is mainly used as a salad green but as it becomes more well known its uses are growing to include stir fries and stuffing for raviolis.


Culture - Mizuna is easy to grow and should be treated like other Brassicas.  Sow seeds 1/4 inch deep in moderate temperatures between 60-85.  Once the seeds have sprouted temperatures a bit lower, between 55-75 degrees, is sufficient for growth.  

For baby greens seeds should be sown in 2-4 inch bands with 60 seeds per foot.  For larger leaves sow only 15 seeds per foot in 2 inch wide bands in rows 18 inches apart.

Harvest - Baby greens should be ready for harvest in about 21 days, depending on temperature and light levels.  Full sized leaves should be harvestable in 40 days.  Mizuna is a cut-and-come-again crop and will produce multiple harvests.

PestsLike all Brassicas flee beetles are the major pest of mizuna.  Using floating row covers is an easy method of controlling these pests.  For more information check out the UNH Cooperative extension's page on flee beetles.

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