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When to Plant Mustard Greens

Mustard seedlings

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.

Young mustard plants
Young mustard plants

Mustard seed sowing dates

(These dates are for the Northern Hemisphere)

The average date of the last frostPlanting dates
Jan. 30Jan. 1-Feb. 10
Feb. 8Jan. 10-Mar. 1
Feb. 18Jan. 15-Feb. 15
Feb. 28Feb. 1-Mar. 15
Mar. 10Feb. 10-Mar. 20
Mar. 20Feb. 20-Apr. 1
Mar. 30Mar. 10-Apr. 15
Apr. 10Mar. 1-Apr. 20
Apr. 20Mar. 20-May 1
Apr. 30Apr. 1-May 10
May 10Apr. 15-June 1
May 20May 1-June 30
May 30May 10-June 30
June 10May 20-June 30
Mustard plants near harvest

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 fall crop)

More mustard growing articles:

How to Grow Mustard Greens

How to Cook and Serve Mustard Greens

Written by Stephen Albert

Stephen Albert is a horticulturist, master gardener, and certified nurseryman who has taught at the University of California for more than 25 years. He holds graduate degrees from the University of California and the University of Iowa. His books include Vegetable Garden Grower’s Guide, Vegetable Garden Almanac & Planner, Tomato Grower’s Answer Book, and Kitchen Garden Grower’s Guide. His Vegetable Garden Grower’s Masterclass is available online. Harvesttotable.com has more than 10 million visitors each year.

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