Easy to Grow Mesclun

by Charlotte Germane

Wouldn’t you love to have this collection of greens waiting for you at dinner time?  Grow it in a copper planter near your front door or on your back deck–wherever it can catch admiring glances. Your own little salad garden, but instead of a picket fence surrounding it you have the luxe of a copper edge.

This is no vegetable patch to hide away in a sunny corner of the garden–the assortment of decorative greens is called mesclun.

Mesclun is French (that makes anything taste better, doesn’t it?) for a mixture of lettuces and other salad greens such as chicory and endive. Your garden center will have starts or seedlings as soon as it is safe to plant. If there is a late freeze or frost in your area put the mesclun container under the eaves until the freezing temperatures are past.

How to plant

Choose a sunny location for the container and fill it with rich potting soil. I use Masters Pride Professional Potting Soil because it has valuable organic additions such as bat guano (something I find hard to gather on my own, not being on speaking terms with any bats).

Place the seedlings five inches apart and press the soil firmly around them. Water well with a fine spray after planting and keep the soil consistently moist but not soggy.

Through the seasons

How to harvest and fertilize

Pick leaves for salad when the plants are more than 4 inches tall. Keep an inch or two of leaves on each plant so you get another crop. Snip leaves off with scissors.

Each time you harvest add fish emulsion fertilizer to stimulate more leaf growth. With that extra boost your mesclun can give you two or three crops.

Mesclun grows in the cool season. Enjoy it this spring and when the weather heats up move the planter to a spot with afternoon shade. When the temperatures are just too hot for mesclun I’ll tell you about another pretty edible to replace it.

Now that you have a gleaming planter with a growing crop of mesclun, read on for a special mesclun recipe.

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