Growing Guide for Oriental Greens- Series 3 Episode 2
Mizuna & Oriental Mustard: You can sow Mizuna & Mustard direct in the soil or in module trays for later transplanting. I generally sow 5-6 seeds in each module in a module tray and plant out each little cluster of plants 3-4 weeks later. The best results are from a small regular sowing every 3-4 weeks from February until September, but the late spring and summer sowings are often inclined to bolt. It really comes in to its own in the autumn / winter. I do a larger sowing in September to last through the winter and early spring.
Rocket:Sow from August to October for a winter/spring crop. You can then sow successionally from late January on. Sow in module trays, about 5 seeds per module and plant out about a month later. A single six-module tray (30 plants overall) should be more than enough for each sowing. Allow 25cm between rows and plants (with 5 plants at each station). You can also sow direct by making shallow drills (about 1cm deep) – allow 25cm between drills. Sprinkle seed in the drill and cover with a small amount of soil or potting compost.
Most of the oriental greens family is versatile and there are a few different ways to grow them.
Grow it as single plants that are spaced 30cm apart and will grow up to 30cm tall with leaves harvested from it over a long period of time.
Grow it as a ‘cut and come again’ crop - where multiple plants are sown about 10cm apart with the leaves harvested when young. Typically mustard leaves grow more peppery as the leaves grow larger (often inedible!).
Winter outdoor sowings might need a fleece cover. Water in very dry weather or if growing in a polytunnel or greenhouse.
At some times of the year, you can harvest as early as 3-4 weeks after sowing, particularly when you are growing for ‘cut and come again’ small leaves.
As the name suggests with a ‘cut and come’ again crop you can cut it back with scissors and expect a second, third or even fourth crop of delicious leaves.
You can either harvest individual leaves by hand-picking or cut with scissors down to about 5cm from the soil.
Salad Rocket: Victoria or Dentallata.
Wild Rocket: Napoli.
It’s a brassica so in theory it should be included in your brassica rotation and can be prone to all diseases that brassicas get - in practice, it’s so quick-growing that you don’t get many problems with it at all. Flea Beatle can be an issue on young leaves - a fine net or fleece cover will help.
In the summer months, you need to keep it well watered to prevent it from bolting but because I sow it so regularly, I am generally not too bothered if it does bolt (just whip the plants out for composting and replace with new ones).
Mizuna will tolerate semi-shade so ideal for a shady garden.
The versatility of mustard is highlighted by the fact that the seeds of some mustard plants can be harvested to use as mustard seed or make mustard and oils, while other varieties are often used as ‘green manures’ - fertilising the soil as they grow. Use the leaves to bring some colour and fire to salads (whole leaf when small, and chopped when larger), but also in quiches, soups and stir-fries.
Mustard leaves will grow happily in a container, but make it a decent size on or you will be disappointed with the results.
Rocket flowers are edible and an attractive addition to a salad.
Rocket will grow well in pretty much any type of soil, as long as it’s reasonably