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The French term “mesclun” means a mixture of tender salad greens that were wild harvested. In the USA, mesclun has come to mean any mixture of baby salad greens that is sown and cut together while still young. Bagged mixes available in supermarkets cannot compare to the taste of tender baby greens harvested in the morning and tossed in a salad that very evening.

The colorful lettuces, mustards, baby kales, arugula, and other greens that make up most mesclun mixes grow best when the weather is cool. Sow mesclun mixes in spring in cold-winter regions, and again in late summer for fall harvests. Sow a succession of short rows every couple of weeks. Because each row can be cut repeatedly—as many as 3 times—your mesclun harvest can last for weeks, as long as the days remain cool. Mesclun can easily be grown in containers if your gardening space is limited.

1. Prepare. Loosen soil to a depth of 8 to 10 inches. Mix in some compost or slow-release fertilizer to provide plants with nutrients. Then rake the soil smooth, removing any large clumps and rocks.

2. Plant. Sow seed lightly in broad (8 to 12 inch) rows. Ideally, the seeds should fall about ½ inch apart. Cover seed with ¼ inch of fine soil or potting mix and press gently to ensure good soil contact.

3. Grow. Keep the seedbed moist until the greens germinate. There is no need for thinning. Keep the bed well watered while the seedlings grow; in not much more than a month your bed of baby greens will be a colorful, 4- to 6-inch, salad-ready carpet.

4. Enjoy. Harvest mesclun mix in the morning by slicing a patch of leaves an inch or two above the soil with a pair of sharp scissors. Leave the crowns (the part of the plant from which new growth emerges) untouched. Keep well watered and the sheared plants will re-grow for a 2nd and perhaps a 3rd harvest if the weather isn’t too warm. Dress your mesclun greens lightly with a simple vinaigrette – no need for heavy creamy dressings. The sweet flavors and juicy textures of baby greens are wonderful on their own!
 

 

 Home Garden Seed Association (HGSA) | P.O. Box 93, Maxwell, CA 95955 | Phone (530) 438-2126 | Email Us

 

 

AT A GLANCE

Exposure: Full sun. Light shade may help prolong the harvest in summer

Planting time: 4 weeks before the final frost. Sow again in late summer. In frost free regions, sow in fall and late winter.

Planting depth: 1/4 inch deep

Spacing in row: Broadcast in a wide row so seeds fall about 1/2 inch apart; there is no need to thin.

Time to harvest : 35 to 40 days.

Mesclun mix flouishes in containers.