How to plant and maintain mesclun?

Everything you need to know about planting and caring for mesclun

Of Nice origin, mesclun is a mixture of young vegetable shoots that are eaten in salads. All our advice on planting and caring for mesclun in the vegetable garden.

How to plant and maintain mesclun?

The characteristics and origin of mesclun

  • Type : mixture of young vegetable shoots
  • Origin : southern France
  • Desired exposure : sunny, partial shade
  • Soil type : fertile, weeded
  • Maintenance : easy
  • Sanitizer : no
  • Diseases and pests : slugs, flea beetles

Mesclun is not a variety of salad and even less arugula! It is a mixture of young vegetable shoots and aromatic herbs ; its name comes from the Latin mesclare which means “to mix” and the Provençal mesclumo which means “mixture”.

Mesclun is French, and more precisely from Nice! Its origin even dates back to the 16th century. At that time, the Franciscan monks of the Cimiez monastery near Nice cultivated vegetables, herbs and aromatic plants in the vegetable garden . Then thinning their seedlings of leafy vegetables and wild herbs, they gathered what they pulled up and gave it all to the needy or to their benefactors. This is how mesclun was born!

Originally, mesclun consists of chervil , arugula and six other varieties of mixed salads . Other leaves are added depending on the seasons and regions: lettuce, lamb’s lettuce, chicory, Treviso chicory, escarole, oak leaf, but also dandelion, spinach shoot, tetragon shoot, purslane, garden cress, beetroot, orarch , perry and aromatic herbs (mint, parsley, basil, dill, coriander, etc.).

We eat mesclun raw , like salad.

Sowing mesclun

Mesclun appreciates sunny situations , but it needs a semi-shaded situation in summer , because the sun’s harsh rays are fatal to it. It likes fresh, refined, well-decompacted, fertile soils, but above all perfectly weeded , because it hates weeds! Add very well decomposed compost before cultivation if the soil is tired.

To harvest mesclun almost all year round, you must stagger the sowings every 15 days , from February to October , in small beds, ensuring that the first and last seedlings are protected from the cold by being placed under a tunnel or under cold frame. Sowing is done online or broadcast, depending on the configuration of the vegetable garden. You can also sow mesclun in pots , ideal for a balcony or terrace. 

Sow mixed greens online:

  • Clean and weed the growing bed well.
  • Trace furrows spaced 30 centimeters apart at a depth of 1 centimeter.
  • Sow mesclun seeds lightly .
  • Cover with a little fine soil. Plumb with the back of a rake.
  • Water in rain.

Broadcast mesclun:

  • Clean and weed the growing bed well.
  • Distribute the seeds evenly.
  • Cover with a little fine soil. Plumb with the back of a rake.
  • Water in rain.

Good to know: the seed mixture can be purchased ready-made in stores or made yourself.

Maintaining mesclun

Water the mesclun regularly, especially in summer: it cannot tolerate drought.

As soon as they have 2 or 3 leaves , thin out the plants so that they are every 10 cm : this will encourage their development.

Hoe around the row to weed .

In summer , add a little nitrogen with waterings of  nettle manure .

The mesclun harvest

The mesclun harvest takes place from the beginning of spring to the end of summer, or even in autumn . One month after sowing, cut the mesclun leaves which are 7 to 10 centimeters high . Be careful not to tear out the heart and roots. It is advisable to cut the mesclun leaves 3 cm from the ground , which will allow the plant to regrow. 

Enemies and diseases of mesclun

Be careful, slugs and snails  can attack mesclun in the vegetable garden! Just like flea beetles . Its short-term cultivation prevents the appearance of diseases.