At 1 Million Women we are always sharing ideas about what we can pack in our lunches to spice things up because there is nothing worse than having the same thing day after day. To minimize our food miles and plastic use we particularly enjoy exploring options we can grow at home.
These 5 salad greens are quick growing and make a fun change from the usual lettuce mixes available. I love their delicate textures, as well as both their subtle and mustard flavours.
Botanical name: Brassica juncea var. japonica
A traditional Japanese mustard salad green that has a mild taste when the leaves are young but gets stronger as the leaves mature. You can also try leaves in soups, steamed or in stir-fries. Sow autumn to spring.
image: Fusian Living
2. Wasabi rocket
Botanical name: Diplotaxis erucoides
As the name suggests this is a form of rocket that takes on a mustard wasabi flavour.
Botanical name: Brassica navinosa
This is great as a lettuce substitute. It has small spoon-shaped leaves with a long harvest period. Seeds can be sown any time but are best after frost.
image: From Seed to Table
4. Tokyo Bekana
Botanical name: Brassica rapa
A quick growing plant with very tender leaves that are great for munching on. It looks a bit like a light green lettuce and leaves can be broken off as needed. You will probably need to order these seeds online or through your local nursery.
Botanical name: Brassica japonica
Like mizuna, this is another traditional salad green of Japan with a similar flavour but the leaves are long and narrow with a curved edge.
Tips for growing
- Water regularly to encourage consistent growth and avoid plants bolting to seed.
- Provide nutrient-rich and well-drained soil.
- Feed once a fortnight with seaweed tonic.
- Check plants regularly for pests such as caterpillars.
- During wet weather thin out plants and remove dead leaves to prevent rot.
- Can be harvested as cut-and-come-again plants which means there is less food waste because you can just take what you need when you require it. Young growth is usually the tastiest and is more delicate in texture for use in salads.
Where can I buy seeds?
Go to your local nursery or search for seed stores online. Try to buy seeds that have been grown in Australia. You could also join a local savers group.
Other Asian style salad greens you might like to try:
- Mustard greens (Osaka purple)
See what other salad greens you can find to grow and experiment to discover your favourites. Share taste tests with friends, family and colleagues and swap your seeds and seedlings to add some variety. This is a great way of making your lunch more tasty and enjoyable. Try it out and let us know how you go.