Mache / Corn Salad (Valerianella locusta) seeds

Mache / Corn Salad (Valerianella locusta) seeds

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Real winter gardeners, this one is for you!  As you know, Orta is Californian and we have little experience of actual winter gardening, but it's been said that mache will be fine down to 5 F, without any row covers.  (!)  We've also seen gardeners put cloches (or milk jugs with the bottoms cut off) over mache and harvest through the snow.

In Italy it’s called Valeriana and is a common winter salad green.  It’s tender, tasty, and grows easily wherever the weather is cool.  

Direct seed or start in your Orta pots.  Transplant when your seedlings have 2-4 sets of true leaves.  Keep moist.  Mache doesn’t like to dry out.

Harvest as cut-and-come-again greens or wait until you have a lovely rosette and cut the whole thing.  You can keep eating the greens even if the plants go to seed because they don’t get bitter.

Mache self-seeds very easily.  You can just leave it to drop seed and transplant the seedlings that come up.  Or when you notice the seed heads drooping and starting to drop seed, shake the seed head into a paper bag.