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Growing Mâche

The only reason I can post this is we finally got rain for the first time in 6-7 weeks and I have no irrigation system. I'll be posting in gratitude of 4 plants that served me well this spring, as I am gradually ripping them out: Claytonia, Choho, Purple Mizuna and Mâche (a,k,a, corn salad, lamb's lettuce).

Mâche, which was requested by a Swiss client, performed well as a leafy green when transplanted from soil blocks that I seeded in early winter as seen to the left below. They were very slow growing but made good border plants and tolerated both heat and cold. Those that were direct seeded, either in late fall or winter, went straight to flower and served as lovely border blooms that are still attracting beneficial insects that feast on aphids and other pests. But as seen below right, the leaves are not worth harvesting and the taste changes.

If you are wanting the leaves and you live in the erratic climate of southern Ontario, I would suggest carefully transplanting them. Usually we hear that plants are less likely to bolt when direct seeded but I did not find this to be the case with lamb's lettuce. When plants are young, they can be more likely to form a stalk and switch to flower production from cold and heat than older plants, depending on their point of vernalization. For this plant, that was definitely the case. Soil blocks also reduce root disturbance, another factor in stimulating this process.

Is corn salad worth it to grow? Since diversity is key in my operation, yes. To me, it tastes like roses. And my Swiss friend is worth it. But if you have limited space and time, I would choose faster growing cold hardy greens, such as the other three in my list. Hopefully I can take the time in this hectic vocation to actually follow through with posting about them. I don't know how homesteading channels do it!

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