Thursday, February 10, 2011

Growing and using Mizuna and Mibuna

Mizuna and Mibuna are traditional Japanese mustard greens. They have a mild mustard flavour and are a popular addition to salads in Australia. In Japan Mizuna and Mibuna are also used in soups, stir fries and other dishes. In our household they have long been a staple of our salads due because they are easy to grow and taste great.

There is little difference between Mizuna and Mibuna in taste or growth habit. Mizuna has feathery leaves while Mibuna has straight leaves. Mibuna also has a slightly stronger taste. They grow in a dense clump to a height of 50cm (if left) with bright green leaves.

They are easy to grow, frost tolerant and will grow in most soils. However for the best tasting leaves grow in nutrient rich well drained soil with good sun.

Mibuna and Mizuna are members of the Brassica family being closely related to the common turnip. As such they it should be included in your crop rotation system with other Brassica. Unlike cabbage, cauliflower and broccoli they do not generally attract the attention of white cabbage moths. Aphids can be a problem for Mibuna and Mizuna but usually only if the plant is left to grow for a long time.

By planting new seedlings every 1-2 months Mibuna and Mizuna will provide you with fresh leaves all year round. You can harvest by picking the outside leaves as soon as they are big enough. Plants become stronger tasting and less tender as they age. For the best flavour harvest the entire plant every 6-8 weeks.

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