How to Grow Mache – A Beginner’s Guide

mache plant growing in garden
Mache, which are known botanically as Valerianella locusta, are a type of vegetable that can easily be grown at home. Continue reading to learn the basics of growing mache as well as common mistakes to avoid along the way.

Best Time to Plant Mache

This will depend largely on your local climate, but as a rule of thumb, begin to plant the mache seeds directly outdoors in early spring or fall. This is the best time to ensure that the seedlings survive the weather.

To check when mache are most likely to thrive in your area, see the USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map. If you live outside the US, do a quick search for ‘plant hardiness zone + [city]’.

How to Plant Mache the Right Way

There are a number of things to consider that will help you avoid some of the common mistakes of growing mache in your home garden.

Often overlooked, your soil can have a huge impact on how well your mache grow. Generally, your soil should be well-drained and fertile. Soil PH levels should be around 6.0 to 7.0.

1″ apart in rows 18″ apart. 1″ apart in rows 12″ apart. The seeds should be sowed at a depth of about 4-6″. For each plant, be sure to sow at least a few seeds to ensure that at least one of them will germinate.

Begin thinning your mache seedlings 2-4″ apart when seedlings are 1-2″ tall.

How Much Sunlight is Needed to Grow Mache

The amount of sunlight is another key to a successful harvest. Too much sunlight will dry out your mache. Not enough sunlight will stunt your its growth or even kill it.

Ideally, your mache should be getting full sun to partial shade

How Much to Water Mache

As you’ve figured by now, a lot can have an impact on how well your mache do, and the amount of water is no different.

Ideally, the soil should be damp to touch; not soggy or bone dry. If the leaves on your mache begin to change colors or start to look droopy, you need to adjust how much water you’re giving it.

Unfortunately, if you give it too much or too little water, you can kill it, so it’s best to just keep an eye on it and water as needed.

How Long Does it Take Mache to Germinate and Grow?

Now the fun part begins and you get to watch your mache grow.

It takes approximately 10-14 days to germinate, and a total of 60-70 days from seed to harvest.

When to Harvest Mache

The best time to harvest your mache is when leaves reach desired size and before they bolt.

Mache can grow up to about 3-6″ tall.

What Can Mache Be Used For?

Food Use: great for salads, sandwiches, and cooked greens.

Flavor Profile: mildly sweet and nutty.

Can Mache Grow in Pots and Containers?

Yes, you can plant multiple plants in a 12″ container. This can help control weeds and keep your plant from growing out of control.

It also gives you the flexibility to move your mache around if you need to adjust sunlight or bring it indoors to avoid harsh weather conditions.

Are Mache Safe for Bees?

Yes, mache are safe for bees.

According to, bees pollinate human food crops that make up about 90% of the world’s nutrition.

Given their importance in our ecosystem and food supply, I feel it is important to note that growing mache is bee-friendly.

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