Mustard is a cool-season crop. Mustard matures in 30 to 50 days so time the planting for harvest when the average temperature is around 60° to 65°F (16°-18°C).
Mustard bolts easily so it is often grown for autumn harvest, but it can be grown as a spring crop where spring weather tends to stay cool.
Sow mustard seeds in the garden 2 to 4 weeks before the last frost. Start transplants indoors 4 to 6 weeks before setting them out in the garden. Transplants can be set in the garden from 5 weeks before to 2 weeks after the last frost.
Make succession plantings every 10 to 14 days in spring until the temperatures begin to rise.
Sow mustard for a fall harvest 8 weeks before the first expected fall frost.
Mustard tolerates many kinds of soil but grows best in moist, humus-rich soil. Mustard can tolerate partial shade. Mulch to keep the soil cool and moist to prevent bolting.
Mustard leaves about 4 to 5 inches (10-13cm) long have the best flavor. Begin harvesting outer leaves cut-and-come again to prolong the harvest time. The flavor is improved by a mild frost
Mustard greens are a cool-season leaf crop. Mustard is a hardy leaf vegetable with a rosette of large light or dark green curly leaves that grow to 3 feet (.9m) tall. Leaves and leaf stalks are eaten and have a peppery flavor. The seeds can be ground and used as a condiment.
Mustard planting details
- Sowing depth: ¼ inch (.6 cm)
- Space between plants after thinning: 6-9 inches (15-23cm)
- Days to sprout: 5-10
- Days to harvest: 30-50
- Storage period: 1-2 weeks
- Seeds per 100-row feet: ¼ ounce (7 grams)
- Yield per 100-row feet: 100 heads
- Suggested varieties: Florida Broad Leaf (bolt resistant), Green Wave (bolt resistant), Southern Giant Curled (good choice for a fall crop)
Here is your complete guide to growing mustard greens!
Mustard greens growing quick tips
- Sow mustard greens as early as 4 to 6 weeks before the average last frost date in spring.
- Sow succession crops every 4 to 6 weeks.
- Mustard greens require 30 to 40 days to reach harvest.
- Plant crops so that they come to harvest before temperatures average greater than 75°F (24°C).
- Sow mustard greens in autumn or early winter in mild winter regions.
- Mustard greens yield: Plant 6 to 10 mustard plants per household member.
Where to plant mustard greens
- Grow mustard greens in full sun or partial shade.
- Plant mustard in well-worked, well-drained soil rich in organic matter.
- Add aged compost to planting beds before planting.
- Mustard prefers a soil pH of 5.5 to 6.8.
Mustard greens planting time
- Sow mustard as early as 4 to 6 weeks before the average last frost date in spring.
- Sow succession crops every 4 to 6 weeks.
- Mustard requires 30 to 40 days to reach harvest.
- Plant mustard greens so that they come to harvest before temperatures average greater than 75°F (24°C).
- Sow mustard in autumn or early winter in mild winter regions.
- Seeds may be slow to germinate if the soil is too cool, 40°F (4.4°C) or less.
- Mustard grown in hot weather or long days will bolt and go to seed.
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(These dates are for the Northern Hemisphere)
|The average date of the last frost||Planting dates|
|Jan. 30||Jan. 1-Feb. 10|
|Feb. 8||Jan. 10-Mar. 1|
|Feb. 18||Jan. 15-Feb. 15|
|Feb. 28||Feb. 1-Mar. 15|
|Mar. 10||Feb. 10-Mar. 20|
|Mar. 20||Feb. 20-Apr. 1|
|Mar. 30||Mar. 10-Apr. 15|
|Apr. 10||Mar. 1-Apr. 20|
|Apr. 20||Mar. 20-May 1|
|Apr. 30||Apr. 1-May 10|
|May 10||Apr. 15-June 1|
|May 20||May 1-June 30|
|May 30||May 10-June 30|
|June 10||May 20-June 30|
Planting and spacing mustard greens
- Sow mustard seed ½ inch (12mm) deep.
- When seedlings are large enough to handle thin them from 4 to 8 inches (10-20cm) apart.
- Space rows 12 to 24 inches a(30-61cm) part.
Mustard greens companion plants
- Plant mustard greens with other leafy greens, English peas, and snap peas.
Container growing mustard greens
- Mustard can easily be grown in a container.
- Broadcast seeds over the soil surface and cover lightly with soil. Thinnings can be eaten.
Watering and feeding mustard greens
- Keep soil evenly moist to keep mustard leaves growing quickly. Do not allow the soil to dry out.
- Add aged compost to planting beds before sowing.
- Side-dress mustard plants with aged compost at midseason.
Mustard greens care
- Keep planting beds weed-free.
- Pull mustard from the garden as soon as it goes to seed to avoid prolific self-seeding.
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Mustard greens pests and diseases
- Mustard can be attacked by flea beetles and aphids. Wash these pests away with a blast of water.
- Mustard is susceptible to white rust. Remove leaves that have white rust.
- To avoid diseases, water plants at the base of the stem keeping moisture off the leaves.
Harvesting mustard greens
- Pick individual leaves when they are young and tender, 3 to 4 inches (7-10cm) long, or cut and use the entire plant.
- Complete the harvest before the weather grows hot; hot weather will cause leaves to become tough and strong flavored.
- Complete the harvest before the plant goes to seed.
Storing and preserving mustard greens
- Mustard will keep in the vegetable compartment of the refrigerator for 2 to 3 weeks.
- Mustard leaves can be frozen or dried. Mustard seeds can be sprouted.
Mustard varieties to grow
- Curled Leaf: ‘Fordhook Fancy’ (40 days); ‘Red Giant’ (23 days); ‘Green Wave’ (45 days); ‘Southern Giant Curled’ (40 days).
- Plain Leaf: ‘Florida Broad Leaf’ (43-50 days); ‘Tendergreen’ (34-40 days).
- Oriental Mustard Cabbage-green stalks: ‘Chinese Pac Choi’ (60 days); ‘Choi Sum’ (60 days); ‘Dai Gai Choy’ (65 days).
- Oriental Mustard Cabbage-white stalks: ‘Bok Choi’ (45-60 days); ‘Chinese Flat Cabbage’ (40 days); ‘Green-In-Snow’ (45 days); ‘Joi-Choi’ (45-50 days).
About mustard greens
- Common name. Mustard, Chinese mustard, leaf mustard, spinach greens
- Botanical name. Brassica juncea
- Origin. Asia
Grow 80 vegetables: KITCHEN GARDEN GROWERS’ GUIDE
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