Corn Salad

Corn Salad


Valerianella olitoria.

Also known as Lamb’s Lettuce, Field Salad, Mache, Feldsalat, Dutch Broad Leaved Corn Salad.

Annual. 50-60 days. Zone 5-11.

Dutch Corn Salad, commonly known as lamb’s lettuce, dates from the Stone Age in Switzerland. In 17th century England and France, corn salad was highly valued since it could thrive in the cold when other greens would freeze. Known in France as “mache,” records show that the gardeners of Louis XIV cultivated it in his gardens. This tender, nutty spring salad green first became popular in America in the 1970s when a grower in the Salinas Valley, California began producing it.

Because Dutch Corn Salad grows best in cool weather, sowing it in the spring or fall brings the best results; a late August or September planting results in both fall and spring growth. Direct sow in full sun and rich soil 1/2″ deep and 1″ apart in rows 8-10″ apart. For smaller plants, space them 1/2″ apart. Germination should take place within 10-14 days, but will not occur if the soil temperature rises above 70 degrees F. Plant a new crop every 2 weeks for a continual harvest. In climates with winters above 5 degrees F, Dutch Corn Salad will produce greens all winter long; colder climates can grow it with the protection of a cold frame or mulch.

A layer of mulch will help conserve moisture and control weeds. Watch out for snails and slugs, which will damage the plants.

The first leaves should be ready to harvest in 10-12 weeks. Harvest individual leaves as needed, or harvest the entire rosette by cutting it at the soil level. Young leaves about 3″ have the best taste and tenderness; when the plant begins to send up a stalk, the entire plant should be harvested since the leaves will begin to grow bitter. For new growth, leave at least an inch of stem above the soil. Corn salad keeps well in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.

Saving the seeds. When the seed pods begin to ripen to a light brown, pull the entire plant and spread it out to dry in a protected location out of direct sunlight. When the pods have completely dried, shake the seeds out. Store them in a cool, dry place.

Packet. 1 g. App 200-250 seeds. 1/2 oz. = app. 2500 seeds


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