Wednesday 18 December 2013


On the cover of Grow your own magazine this month (i.e. the January issue) there is/was a packet of seeds for Mesclun:

Mesclun is a fancy (Provencal) name for mixed salad plants grown to be picked at the baby leaf stage. Traditionally it contains lettuce, chicory/endive, rocket and chervil, though these days other types such as mustard and mizuna are often included.

The pack offered by GYO is intended to be grown in a pot or window-box, in the early Spring, but I am impatient so I'm trying a different technique. I'm growing mine now - indoors under artificial light:

That contraption is a Growlight House, which provides a type of light ideal for small plants. I acquired mine last year as a birthday present, and it did wonders for my chilli and tomato seedlings. I reckon that by sowing my Mesclun now I will be able to raise a crop before the Growlight House is required for chillis again (late January or early February).

I sowed about half of the packet of seeds in a small seed-tray filled with moist multi-purpose compost, and then covered them with a thin layer of dry compost and a layer of vermiculite. The vermiculite will help to keep the stems of the seedlings dry, thus reducing the chances of damping-off disease.

With a bit of luck (and the warmth of the lights) the seeds will germinate within 3 or 4 days and rapidly grow to a useable size. If things go according to plan, I will pick them at the Baby Leaf Salad stage, but if I can't wait I'll cut them earlier and just call them Microgreens. [Microgreens are bigger than sprouts, but smaller than baby leaves. If you're interested in this technique there is an article about it in the January edition of GYO.]

Under the growlights next to the Mesclun I have another seed-tray into which I have transplanted  3 "Little Gem" lettuces. These are the only ones that germinated  from a whole tray of seeds I sowed outdoors many weeks ago (in September!). They have languished and sulked and stubbornly refused to grow, despite the mild conditions. I wonder if giving them the growlight treatment will persuade them to buck their ideas up?

Lettuce "Little Gem"


  1. Good luck on your micro greens. I keep thinking it is almost time for sprouts.

  2. I forgot about your Growlight House. I think I might invest next year. I will be on the hunt for a couple of garden mags for Christmas Eve, I like curling up then for a read ready for planning next year.

  3. I've never heard of mesclun. This is the time when your growlight will be really useful, I don't think much would want to grow in the murky light we've had just lately.

  4. Must get our grow lights going - no mesclun though as we cancelled our garden magazine subscriptions.

    1. I don't have any magazine subs either, but I just bought that issue of GYO on a whim. The packet of Mesclun glued onto the cover probably exercised an influence!

  5. Haven't bought any garden mags for ages.... But I must admit I miss them. I keep them for years. Mark just got an order from Sarah raven all seeds I have never grown before so I am super excited for the early part of next year. Got some summer savory to use as a companion plant

  6. I envy your grow light contraption!


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