Want to know how to grow Mache? It doesn’t matter if you call it lamb’s lettuce or if you prefer to refer to it as corn salad – Mache thrives pretty well in areas where the weather is mostly mild and cool.
Although this can be planted at any time, you need to remember that unless the soil temperature ranges between 41 degrees Fahrenheit to 67 degrees Fahrenheit, you can’t expect it to grow as it should. When the soil temperature exceeds the maximum degrees 70 degrees Fahrenheit, the seed will go dormant.
4 Things Mache Plants Need Before Planting
There are four factors that significantly contribute to the growth of your plants:
You can’t expect Mache to grow in areas where the weather conditions aren’t cool or mild. Unless the temperature ranges between 55˚F and 68˚F, the seed won’t be able to grow and put out shoots. For this reason, it’s best to plant Mache seeds during springtime or in the fall.
Gardeners can plant in a partially shaded spot that doesn’t get afternoon sun. Long and direct exposure to sunlight can cause your Mache seeds to go dormant.
Keep the soil moist until the Mache seeds germinate within 14 to 28 days. Water your plants regularly thereafter. Make sure they’re moist at all times but not soggy. And add a layer of mulch around your Mache plants.
Did you know that snails, as well as slugs, wouldn’t say no to a feast of Mache leaves? One of the best ways to keep these creatures at bay is to use bait. Additionally, consider using copper hands to encircle raised beds where you can grow your Mache in.
If you live in a region where the temperature is mostly warm, you have the option to use gravel mulch. All you have to do is to spread it over the bed before you sow the Mache seeds over it. Some of them may fall right through the cracks that’s why you shouldn’t be surprised if you see plants popping up through the stones over time.
How to Grow Mache Plants
Here are four steps on how you can successfully grow Mache plants in your backyard or greenhouse:
Mache should be grown in cool areas as the seeds germinate best in temperatures between 41 degrees Fahrenheit to 68 degrees Fahrenheit. Warmer temperatures may deter germination. In an approximately ¼ – ½ inches deep, sow the seeds carefully. Germination should occur in about one to two weeks after sowing.
Space seeds one foot apart if direct seeding, and about three to six feet between growing plants. Mache will grow fine in almost any type of soil, but for best results, the growing medium should be rich in compost and other organic materials.
Plants will complete their growth in 40 to 70 days, depending on growing conditions. When your corn salad plants mature, they’ll form into a rosette of dark green leaves. Prune the plants as they grow so that they focus their energy on producing more leaves.
Water and fertilizer
Water your Mache plants moderately and fertilize with an all-purpose blend if needed. You can grow Mache plants under full sun or partially shaded areas. However, keep in mind that corn salads thrive best under cold weather, so they are sensitive to hotter temperatures.
How to Harvest Mache Plants
You can harvest your corn salad after three months after sowing your Mache seeds. The leaf rosettes should be well-formed by then. Here’s how you can harvest your corn salad plants:
Tip #1: Do NOT pull the roots of the plants.
This is one of the most common mistakes new gardeners usually make. You only need to snip the leaves off the stem. Your plants will continue to grow if you leave the roots in.
Tip #2: Harvest at the right time
Harvest everything before the corn salad goes back to seed.
Tip #3: Watch for dark green leaves that feel like velvet
You’ll know when your Mache plants are ready for harvest because the leaves will feel velvety and have a dark green color.
Facts About Mache Plants
Mache can be planted in cool weather or winter, however, if freezing rain, windy or heavy winds occur, it’s best to use a greenhouse.
If you’re looking for a rich source of beta-carotene, you can’t go wrong with Mache. In case you’re not aware, beta-carotene happens to be an antioxidant that can be converted to vitamin A once it is consumed. For this reason, incorporating Mache into your regular diet is a great idea if you want your immune system and your body’s ability to metabolize iron to run on all cylinders.
Mache or Valerianella locusta falls under the Valerianella family called Caprifoliaceae. Corn salad vegetables are native to the cold temperature zones in Europe, but over the past years, Mache plants can now be cultivated all over the world for domestic and commercial purposes.
The Benefits of Growing Mache Plants in a Greenhouse
There are several reasons why you should try growing your Mache plants in a mini greenhouse.
For one, mini greenhouses can protect your corn salad plants from pests and diseases. Mache plants are prone to Alternaria leaf spot, bacterial leaf spot, damping off, clubroot, and downy mildew. They’re also prone to certain pests, such as aphids, slugs, snails, leafminers, flea beetles, and cabbage loopers. Keeping your plants inside a mini greenhouse lowers the risk of pest infestation and disease infections from neighboring plants.
A mini greenhouse also protects your plants from extreme weather conditions. The enclosed space can shield your plants from frost, ice, heavy rains, and overall bad weather.
Final Thoughts on How to Grow Mache Plants
Corn salad contains a lot of water and omega 3, making them a great addition to salads and meals. Learning how to grow Mache plants is easy since they don’t require much attention throughout its growing season, except for regular watering that almost all plants need.