How to Grow Mesclun

Learn how to grow ingredients for a delectible year-round salad.
IMGP4448.JPG

Mesclun Sprouts

Mesclun Sprouts

A tasty and healthy green that was discovered centuries ago in France, mesclun is one of the easiest, most rewarding crops you can grow.

Today seed companies across the country have developed extraordinary mixtures of mesclun. Various blends include a combination of greens like lettuces, arugula, curly endive, mustard, etc. Choose a mesclun mix that sounds appealing - or better yet, a few different ones. The more varied your choices, the more varied the flavors in your salads.

In as few as 35 days mesclun is ready for harvest. If you plant more than one variety of mesclun, no two salads will ever be alike.

To sow mesclun seeds, pour them into your hand, hold your hand about a foot above well-worked soil, and then scatter the seed, trying to plant roughly 1/4- to 1/2-inch apart. This thicker sowing helps crowd out any weeds.

Moisten potting soil until it's the consistency of a wrung-out sponge (clumps together but will break apart).

Rubbing your hands together, sift enough soil over the seeds to cover them.

Lightly pat the seeds to ensure good soil contact.

Water the seed gently, using a fine spray. Keep the soil evenly watered until the seedlings emerge, which should be in about five to seven days.

If your landscape is limited or you just want salad fixings closer to the kitchen, cultivate in a container.

Protecting Your Crop

But whether you grow mesclun in a pot or a plot, keep in mind that birds love the baby leaves just as much humans do, so provide some net protection:

Using flexible black plastic tubing to build a small tunnel-shaped arch. Cross two pieces of tubing at each end of the bed, plunging each tube end into the soil. Add a single piece - single hoop - in the middle of the bed.

Drape lightweight netting over the frame. Use garden staples to hold it in place.

This frame is also great for shade cloth as the weather heats, extending the harvest by protecting the tender greens from the harsh afternoon sun. Winter protection, requires a more permanent solution.

A cold frame can help you have mesclun salads through the winter. Spring and fall are the mesclun's prime time for growing, so you usually need to take few precautions then.

Harvest

Some 35 to 45 days after planting, your mesclun will be ready to harvest. One handy way to pick your crop is to use ordinary scissors with relatively long blades. Just grab a handful of the tops of the leaves and snip away, leaving about one inch of plant above the ground.

Cut only as much mesclun as you think you'll need. Baby leaves are best eaten fresh from the garden.

After harvest, fertilize the bed with fish emulsion diluted according to package instructions and water well. This feeding kick-starts the production of the next harvest.

Don't be shy about mixing and matching the mesclun.

In most climates, mesclun will provide three ample cuttings. After that, pull it up, throw it on the compost pile and sow another crop. Remember, a simple vinaigrette is all you need to enhance the wonderful tastes and textures of these tender morsels!

Next Up

Growing Edibles in the Shade

Learn what you can grow if your yard isn't blessed with an abundance of sunshine.

Planting Fall Peas

Cultivate a fall crop of peas with these helpful suggestions.

Flower Fail: Blossoms Aren’t Pretty When Zucchini Won’t Fruit

Having trouble growing zucchini in your garden? Here's one possible reason why you're getting a small yield of this popular summer squash.

How to Grow Red Potatoes

Red potatoes are easy-to-grow small potatoes with thin, edible red skins and white flesh, and are perfect for salads, casseroles or as a simple side dish.

Harvest 101: How To Grow Pumpkins

HGTV offers tips for growing and tending pumpkins.

Garden to Table: Mixed Lettuce

Lettuce is one of the best dressed vegetables at market.

How to Make a Corn Maze

Specialized companies create most modern corn mazes, but you can grow a small cornfield in your own backyard.

Planting Tomatoes

Tomatoes need at least six to eight hours of sun a day to produce well — and full sun is best, especially in cooler, more northern climates.

Growing Salad Greens in Window Boxes

Don't let a lack of garden space keep you from growing and enjoying fresh veggies! With this plan, you can start harvesting fresh, flavorful, nutritious salad ingredients in about a month.

Staggered Planting: What It Is and Why You Should Be Doing It

Use this trick of shifting planting dates to manage harvests of edible plants or flowers.

Go Shopping

Spruce up your outdoor space with products handpicked by HGTV editors.

On TV

Home Town

6am | 5c

Home Town

7am | 6c

Home Town

8am | 7c

Home Town

9am | 8c

Home Town

10am | 9c

Home Town

11am | 10c

Home Town

12pm | 11c

Good Bones

1pm | 12c

Good Bones

2pm | 1c

Good Bones

3pm | 2c

Good Bones

4pm | 3c

Good Bones

5pm | 4c

Good Bones

6pm | 5c
On Tonight
On Tonight

No Demo Reno

8pm | 7c

Flip or Flop

9:31pm | 8:31c

House Hunters

10pm | 9c

House Hunters

11pm | 10c

Flip or Flop

12am | 11c

Flip or Flop

12:30am | 11:30c

House Hunters

1am | 12c

No Demo Reno

2:59am | 1:59c

Flip or Flop

4:30am | 3:30c

Flip or Flop

5:30am | 4:30c

Follow Us Everywhere

Join the party! Don't miss HGTV in your favorite social media feeds.

Related Pages