Mesclun Salad Greens Mix Seeds
Mesclun is a mixture of baby leaf and lettuce greens. It is also called Spring Mix or Salad Mix.
Originating from France, mesclun has a variety of colours and flavours; crunchy, tender, sweet and tangy. The mix may include lettuce, rocket, spinach, dandelion, asian greens (such as tatsoi or mizuna), kale, sorrel, endive or mustard greens. The varieties included will vary seasonally, but will have at least four different types of greens.
Mesclun is the ideal salad base, offering an eclectic mix of textures, leaf shapes, flavours and colours. From the dark red leaf of lettuce Salad Bowl or Oakleaf Red lettuce, to the spiciness of rocket or the serrated mizuna leaf, mesclun makes a fresh and crisp salad.
Serve with a crispy bread. Add toppings such as feta, proscuitto, olives or a zesty lemon.
How to Grow Mesclun
Mesclun can be grown all year round. For the home garden, start with a garden bed at least 1 x 1 metre. Only have a limited space on a balcony? Grow mesclun in containers, raised garden beds, seedling trays or recycled styrofoam boxes.
Choose a sunny spot with good soil and drainage. Dig the soil thoroughly and mix in compost, mushroom compost or well-rotted animal manure. Cover the bed during hot periods with shadecloth, 30% white, on a frame. This method provides continual production, even during the heat of summer. Leave space for future sowings so you will not have to wait long between harvests. Sowing seed each week ensures you always have fresh greens. Scatter (broadcast) seeds thinly or sprinkle seeds in close rows about 8 – 10 cm apart; cover with 5 – 8 mm of soil.
Water well and keep damp until seeds sprout. Unchecked, rapid growth is the main requirement for tender greens; a constant supply of soil moisture is crucial. After germination, thin seedlings to a final spacing of 2 – 3 cm. The thinnings make fine salad additions.
The outside leaves will be ready to pick in 25-40 days.
Grow in Containers
Use a good quality potting mix or cocopeat, vermiculite, sieved compost and worm castings. The base of the container should be lined with a single sheet of slightly moistened newspaper, if it has large holes. Fill the tray with your soil mix 3 – 4 cm deep and moisten the mix. Sprinkle the seeds evenly on top of the mix, try to leave a few centimeters of space around each seed. Overcrowding will increase the risk of damping off disease. Gently pat the seeds down; then cover with 0.5 cm of mix. Cover the tray with a lid or another inverted tray to help keep the seeds moist until they sprout. Water often using a sprayer. Adding diluted organic nutrients into the sprayer will improve the nutrient levels in the salad mix. When you have finished with a salad mix tray, add the soil to the compost.
Place your seed trays in a shadehouse or on a deck or sunny verandah.
How to Harvest Mesclun
Harvest by cutting leaves as they reach 5 – 10 cm in length; use scissors to snip them off just above the growing crowns (about 2.5 cm above the soil level) if you would like to be able to pick many times. The cut-and-come-again method because the crop will grow back if you water and fertilise. Or you can choose to harvest whole plants. The green, leafy vegetables that are part of the salad mix can also be grown individually to a mature size. The best time to harvest is early morning before the sun is high; heat causes wilting. After harvesting, rinse the leaves in cold water and drain on towels or pat dry. Mesclun is at its crispest with the best flavour when first harvested, so use it as soon as possible. Avoid using salad spinners as they bruise the leaves.