Garden-to-table guide to mesclun

Tips for growing and caring for mesclun, plus our favorite recipes come harvest time

Homegrown mesclun

Photo by Steven A. Gunther; written by Julie Chai

Homegrown mesclun

Mesclun—that mix of, usually, lettuce, chard, mustard, arugula, and other greens—is one of the easiest crops to grow at home, and you can even create your own seed blends to customize the flavor. And when you grow your own, it costs just pennies per serving.

It’s delicious both raw and cooked, and does best in cool weather.

How to plant, grow, and harvest

Photo by Rod D. Brodman; written by Julie Chai

How to plant, grow, and harvest

Scatter seeds so they’re about 1/2 inch apart in a container, that’s at least a foot wide and half as deep, filled with well-draining potting soil.

Cover seeds with ¼ inch of soil, and sprinkle lightly with water to avoid disturbing seeds.

Set in a sunny spot.

Water to keep soil moist.

Snip mesclun with shears when leaves reach 4 to 6 inches tall, about 30 to 40 days after planting. (For best flavor, do this just before eating.)

When clipping, leave 1 to 2 inches of the plants in the ground so that they regrow for another harvest.

Feed with an organic fertilizer after shearing.

More: Learn more about growing lettuce

How to cook: Our favorite mesclun recipes

Photo by Annabelle Breakey; written by Elaine Johnson

How to cook: Our favorite mesclun recipes

And in 6 weeks or so, when you’re ready to harvest, use mesclun in any recipe where you’d use a mix of baby lettuces from the store.

Baked Goat Cheese with Spring Lettuce Salad

Many credit Alice Waters with introducing America to a salad of tender young greens, or mesclun, in the early 1970s. Here’s how to make Chez Panisse restaurant’s classic recipe at home.

Recipe: Baked Goat Cheese with Spring Lettuce Salad

Grilled Chicken on Greens with Creamy Harissa Dressing

Photo by Annabelle Breakey; written by Elaine Johnson

Grilled Chicken on Greens with Creamy Harissa Dressing

This main course salad gets its wow factor from a dressing spiked with harissa, a Tunisian chile sauce. Cool yogurt balances the heat.

Recipe: Grilled Chicken on Greens with Creamy Harissa Dressing

Hoi An-style Oven-crisped Pork Sandwich (Banh Mi Thit Hoi An)

Photo by James Carrier; written by Elaine Johnson

Hoi An-style Oven-crisped Pork Sandwich (Banh Mi Thit Hoi An)

At Vietnamese sub shops around the West, you can get sandwiches called bánh mì made in the style of different regions in Vietnam. In this recipe, from the city of Hoi An, crisp salad greens, fragrant basil, and juicy cucumbers top warm pork cooked with sweet spices.

Recipe: Hoi An-style Oven-crisped Pork Sandwich (Banh Mi Thit Hoi An)

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