What is Mache? Mache is a green, leafy vegetable that grows into a rosette about 2 1/2″ to 3″ in height and prefers to germinate in cool weather. It has an almost nutty flavor and a pleasing texture; something like baby spinach.
My dear friend, Vicki Dyer, traveled to France four years ago. When she returned, she insisted that I grow Mache. Normally, I don’t respond well when people tell me that I have to do something. However, Vicki is a very good cook and loves good food. I followed her advice and will forever be thankful that she introduced me to this wonderful green.
MACHE IS A WINTER CROP
After a little research, I discovered that my favorite seed company, Johnny’s Selected Seeds, sold Mache seeds. More research led me to Eliot Coleman, author of “Four Season Harvest” where I learned that Mache is a winter crop, grown for centuries in France. I also learned about low plastic tunnels. I liked the idea of extending the growing season with the tunnels and the fact that you could plant seeds in October and harvest in February or March when there weren’t many other options for something fresh from the garden. So, I have been growing Mache and using low tunnels ever since.
MACHE IS EASY TO GROW
Mache is relatively easy to grow. I broadcast seeds over a two foot by four foot patch in late October here in zone 6a. I cover the seeds with 1/2″ of composte, water regularly until mid-December and let it grow slowly all winter protected by a low plastic tunnel. I have harvested as early as February 26. However, we have had two really nasty winter in a row and my first harvest date has been pushed back to late March.I love to eat it fresh with a light vinaigrette dressing all by itself. I am also fond of serving it with a poached egg on top and letting the yoke cascade into the Mache. It also works well with other raw vegetables such as carrot slivers, radishes, and fresh herbs. If you are having company, serve it with high quality shaved Parmesan cheese and toasted walnuts. Your guests will love it.
The following drawing was borrowed from Wikipedia:
All the best,