In this article we are going to discuss how to grow mustard greens.
I have always heard the saying, faith of a mustard seed. Before gardening, it was hard for me to put that into perspective. But have you ever seen how tiny a mustard seed is? It is pretty impressive what power is in a seed. Plant this little seed, and within 60 days, you could be harvesting flavorful and—vitamin-packed green leaves.
Mustards are fast-growing greens from the brassica family grown for their leaves, and their leaves are one of the healthiest and most nutrient-dense leafy greens grown. Most people associate mustard greens with southern culture, but these nutrient powerhouses can be grown anywhere. Many African and Asian dishes call for mustard greens.
You can choose from many different varieties. Here are a few of my favorites:
- Red Giant
- Florida broadleaf
How To Grow
Mustard greens, like other brassicas, prefer moist, fertile soil. Yes, you read that correctly. Mustards are members of the brassica family. Have you read the article about growing Cole Crops? They love the sun, but like other leafy greens, since they do not produce fruits, they can do well in the shade.
If growing in the fall, set out transplants 4-6 weeks before the first frost date. Are you planning on growing mustards this spring? Plant transplants around four weeks before the last frost date. Do not think that you have to start from transplants. Mustards are a very forgiving crop that can be grown directly from seed. Direct seeding is my preferred method when it comes to mustards. Mustards grow wide, so be sure to leave 12-18” between plants.
Mustards are not as cold tolerant as kale and collards, and that does not mean that they can’t handle a freeze, and mustard greens are cold tolerant down to the 20s. Down in Houston, it is not strange to have mustards growing in every season except for summer, and there’s not much that can grow in our Houston summers besides okra.
Keep the soil moist but never soggy. Mulch will help reduce the weeds, regulate soil temperature, and reduce the water needed. It will help keep the ground moist Improper watering, and stressful conditions can cause the flavor of the leaves to become unpleasant or extra spicy.
How To Harvest
When it comes to harvesting the greens, there are three ways I recommend:
- Let the leaves fully mature and harvest the outer leaves. Make sure to leave the center to continue growing and producing more leaves.
- Harvest leaves when they are young, immature in the “baby” stage. These younger leaves will have a milder flavor, perfect for a salad mix.
- Treat it as a cut and come crop again. Cut all leaves and leaves, leaving a stub. The stub will regrow.
How do you harvest your mustards?
Check out this article to learn more about companion planting.
Avoid planting near sunflowers and beans.
Now what I want you to do is stop reading, go outside, get your hands in the dirt and JUST GROW IT!