Mustard greens are a delicious, versatile green with many health benefits. They can be eaten raw or cooked, are easy to grow and can be planted in spring or fall in most locations.
Prepare a garden bed or growing pots with loose, fertile soil. In spring, planting should begin as soon as the soil is able to be worked. For fall crops, planting should take place just after the hottest part of the summer. Make sure the garden has full exposure to the sun.
Plant 2 – 3 seeds about 1/2 inch deep and 6 to 12 inches apart.
Water the soil regularly. Be sure to keep it moist, but not muddy, throughout the growing season. To avoid mildew, try to water only the soil and not the greens themselves as they begin to grow.
Germination takes about 7 – 10 days. Once the seedlings begin to surface, thin them out to one plant per 6 – 12 inches of space.
Weed the garden regularly. Mustard greens are not strong competitors. Other plants will steal their nutrients.
Allow 30 – 40 days before harvest.
The greens can be harvested continuously throughout the growing season. Clip leaves as needed. Use scissors, not your fingers, to avoid plant damage. The larger the leaf, the stronger the flavor, however, 3 – 4 inches long is usually ideal. Avoid yellow, wilting or unhealthy looking leaves.
For a spring crop, once the weather gets hot enough, the plant will produce a flower stalk and stop producing new leaves. The harvest period is over. However, mustard seeds will be produced and may be harvested to be planted in the fall or the following spring. Fall crops won’t run into the hot weather and will not produce a flowering stalk. The fall harvest period ends once regular frosts begin.
Fertilizer is not necessary but may promote a faster growing cycle.
Worms, caterpillars and other pests can do quick damage to a mustard crop. Pick off these pests on a daily basis to keep them in check.
Avoid planting in the same garden beds as similar plants grown the previous season. These plants may include broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower and other members of the brassica family.