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
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.
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!
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.