Mizuna & Mibuna
Mizuna is a Japanese vegetable with green feathery leaves that grows as a large rosette. It has a peppery, cabbage like flavour, and can be eaten raw in salads or cooked in stir-fries. Mibuna is very similar but has a stronger, more mustard-like flavour.
Mizuna and Mibuna are best grown in spring, autumn and winter, but can be sown all year around in your Harvst Sprout Mini Greenhouse. In the summer they will benefit from some shade, as dry and hot conditions will cause them to bolt, flower, and set seed. As bolting equals the end of harvest, make sure to keep the soil moist at all times.
Mizuna and Mibuna are fairly easy to grow from seed and can be direct sown or transplanted later. It is a perfect crop to sow in your Sprout as it can stay in there till it matures or be transplanted outside. For a continuous supply of leaves it is best to sow small batches regularly.
Fill a tray with compost and water it. Sow the seeds and sprinkle 0.5cm of compost on top. Press down slightly to make sure that the seeds are in good contact with the compost, and carefully water again.
Keep the soil evenly moist until seeds germinate. If they dry out, it’s unlikely they will germinate at all. This can be aided with a plastic dome over the tray but it’s not a must! As a general rule, the colder the soil, the less moisture you need. Mizuna and Mibuna tend to germinate within 7 days at an ideal temperature range of 15-20°C. They can however tolerate both colder and warmer temperatures.
Keep the soil well watered throughout the growing season to avoid bolting and to ensure good flavour.
You can choose from one of the growing options below or do a combination of 2, 3 or 4!
- Baby Leaves: Thin the seedlings 10-15cm apart and then start harvesting directly from your tray when the leaves are big enough. If you pick one or two leaves off each plant from the outside, rather than the whole plant, it should keep on growing for a while and give you a few harvests!
- Grow till maturity in your Sprout Mini Greenhouse: When the seedlings have emerged, thin them to 15-20cm apart. This can be done by cutting the rejects with scissors (eat them in a salad!) or carefully using a stick/pencil to loosen the soil and lift the seedling up by its leaves and transplant to elsewhere. Make sure they are big enough to handle before you set out to do this. The compost will only have enough nutrients for a few weeks so you will have to feed the plants with an organic fertiliser throughout the growing season.
- Plant outside: When the seedlings have developed their true set of leaves (not the first set appearing but the second set) they can be transplanted out into your garden. Space them 20-40cm apart depending on how big leaves and plants you would like. If you have problems with slugs, keep them in your Sprout a little longer till they’re about 10cm high. A bigger plant can resist a slug attack much better! When planting outside it’s best to make sure that your soil is great before planting by adding well rotten manure or other organic material, so that it’s full of nutrients for your plants. This will help to keep the moisture in the ground too! If your soil isn’t great, you can feed the plants with an organic fertiliser throughout the growing season. When transplanting seedlings, ideally plant out early morning or evening and/or on an overcast day. Avoid planting at peak sun times or on windy days as this can cause sun or windburn which can lead to death!
- Container Grown: Mizuna and Mibuna grow well outside in containers but as they are heat-sensitive, move them into the shade on warm days and keep in mind that containers will warm quicker than garden soil in spring, so keep it well watered. Also, keep in mind that the compost will only have enough nutrients for a few weeks so you will have to feed the plants with an organic fertiliser throughout the growing season.
Mizuna and Mibuna leaves can be harvested as soon as they are big enough to eat, and it is up to you if you like the small baby leaves or the larger ones! Baby leaves are ready to harvest in 30 days, while semi-mature to full-sized rosettes take 45–60 days. Leaves can be picked one at a time from the outside or a mature rosette can be harvested by cutting it at ground level. If you treat the plant as a cut-and-come again plant you can get 5 harvests from the same plant!
Flea beetles are the biggest problem, leaving the leaves covered in small holes and damaged areas turning brown. They tend to be more of a problem in spring than autumn but should in any case, not be a problem in your Harvst Sprout Mini Greenhouse. When planting out, seedlings are particularly susceptible. The best solution is to grow plants under a horticultural fleece and keep the soil moist. Keep the plants well fed to help the crop outgrow the pest. Slugs can also be a problem when planting out and it may be better to keep them in your Sprout for longer.
Harvest Mizuna and Mibuna just before you need them for the very best flavour!
The botanical name of Mizuna is Brassica rapa subsp. nipposinica var. laciniata.