😅😢😚 This article was co-authored by Lauren Kurtz. Lauren Kurtz is a Naturalist and Horticultural Specialist. Lauren has worked for Aurora, Colorado managing the Water-Wise Garden at Aurora Municipal Center for the Water Conservation Department. She earned a BA in Environmental and Sustainability Studies from Western Michigan University in 2014.
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😅😢😚 Mustard greens are spinach-like plants whose leaves have a unique, peppery flavor. To grow mustard greens, purchase seeds and plant them in enriched soil, then uproot and replant the seedlings that emerge. Make sure to water, weed, and protect your plants from plant-munching bugs. Once they're ready, you can harvest the leaves and, if you wish, let the plants seed to harvest mustard seeds as well.
Part 1Part 1 of 3:Planting Mustard Greens Download Article
- 1Choose from a variety of mustard greens. Mustard greens come in different varieties ranging in color, texture, and shape of leaves. These varying types of mustard greens come from different regions of the world, including Asia, Africa, and the Southeastern US. To create an interesting mix, plant two or more of these varieties:XResearch source
- Ruby Streaks
- Red Giant
- Scarlet frills
- Southern Giant Curled
- Golden Frills
- Garnet Giant
- Red Splendor
- Suehlihung No. 2
- 2Purchase your seeds. Purchase seeds for growing mustard greens from a local gardening center, online, at hardware stores, or at department stores. Given the quick growth cycle of mustard greens, you can replant them every two or three weeks to keep up production. If you intend to do so, purchase more accordingly.Advertisement
- 3Prepare the soil. Mustard greens grow best in moist, rich soil. To prepare the soil for planting, spread compost over the planting area, about 3 to 6 inches thick. Carefully turn the compost into the ground with a digging fork, loosening the soil.XResearch source
- 4Time your planting. Mustard greens thrive in cooler temperatures but do not grow well in summer. Aim to start seeds about four weeks before the last frost. The plants can tolerate frost, which actually contributes to a sweeter flavor to the greens.XResearch source
- 5Plant the seeds. Plant seeds just under the soil, about a half an inch apart. Once the seedlings sprout and grow their first leaves, gently unearth them and pull them apart into clumps. Replant the seedlings approximately 12 inches apart. While this replanting of the seedlings is not necessary, doing so will allow greens to grow faster and yield more.XResearch source
Part 2Part 2 of 3:Caring for Your Mustard Greens Download Article
- 1Water the greens. Mustard greens require 2 inches of water per week to thrive. Factoring in rainfall, make sure that they receive adequate hydration. Be sure to keep the soil evenly and consistently watered. XResearch source
- 2Remove weeds. Carefully remove any weeds you see growing around your plants. While mustard greens do not require a lot of room to grow, the influx of weeds can cause unnecessary disturbance, particularly to fragile seedlings. To remove weeds, softly dig them out with your hands, ensuring that the roots are removed as well.XResearch source
- 3Protect from insects and disease. To ensure the successful growth of your mustard greens, protect them from bugs that might feed on them (e.g. cabbage worms, cabbage loopers, and flea beetles). Cover plants with row cover fabric, available for purchase at most gardening centers. Since the insects can't reach the plant under the fabric, they can't feed on it, or lay eggs to reproduce.XResearch source
- Make sure that you keep track of the temperature and moisture levels in your covered rows. Enclosed growing areas can get too hot for greens, so it is important to monitor the plants closely.
- Avoid getting the leaves wet every time you water your mustard greens. This will help to reduce the risk of your mustard greens getting downy mildew.
Part 3Part 3 of 3:Harvesting Mustard Greens Download Article
- 1Collect your greens. Mustard greens should be harvested when the leaves are still young and tender; older leaves will have a bitterer flavor. You can start to pick the leaves after 4 weeks, when they should be about 3 to 6 inches long (7.6-15.2cm). You can harvest greens by snipping off outer leaves from the plant, and then leaving it to continue growing. Alternatively, you can unearth the entire plant and harvest all of the leaves at once.XResearch source
- Discard any yellow leaves that you find on the plant.
- 2Store your greens. Pick all your mustard greens and refrigerate them. Leaves can be kept in the crisper drawer for up to a week. Beyond that, you can freeze the greens to be used for cooking later on.XResearch source
- 3Harvest mustard seeds. When the environment gets too hot, the plants will begin to seed and grow a flower stalk, signaling that no new leaves will grow. At this point you can either dig up the plants, or leave them there to seed. Once the seed pod developing on the plant has dried, you can collect the seeds. Be sure to collect them before the seed pod splits open; seeds that spill onto the soil will likely be dispersed and grow into new plants later on.XResearch source
Community Q&A Did you know you can get expert answers for this article?Unlock expert answers by supporting wikiHow
- QuestionIs it okay to use cactus soil for my mustard greens?Lauren KurtzLauren Kurtz is a Naturalist and Horticultural Specialist. Lauren has worked for Aurora, Colorado managing the Water-Wise Garden at Aurora Municipal Center for the Water Conservation Department. She earned a BA in Environmental and Sustainability Studies from Western Michigan University in 2014.
Professional GardenerProfessional GardenerExpert Answer
- QuestionHow many days do mustard plants take to sprout?Community AnswerMustard greens take approximately 4-7 days to sprout, provided that you take proper care of them. Make sure that the soil is kept moist during this period.
- QuestionMy mustard greens are being destroyed by bugs. What can I do?Community AnswerMelt some butter and mix it with some chili powder; use a paint brush and essentially paint the entire plant. This will create a clear, greasy layer that bugs will find poisonous. When it comes to harvesting them, simply put them in some hot water and shake them around to get the grease off.
- QuestionWhat can I do if my mustard leaves have holes in them?Community AnswerUsually the damage is from very small caterpillar-like creatures. They are the color of the leaves and difficult to see. Neem will help.
- QuestionWill it still grow if the container is small and hard?Community AnswerThe root system is very small and does not stretch around. Even a small planting pot will do the job. Though if it is small, you should only plant one plant per pot.
- QuestionCan I grow mustard in red soil?Community AnswerOf course you can grow in red soil, but make sure you add some river sand and compost to it in order to make more airy and fertile. Otherwise, red soil gets hard easily after few weeks.
About This Article
Before you plant mustard greens, spread 3-6 inches of compost over your planting area, and plant your seeds about 4 weeks before the last frost in winter. Space the seeds about 1/2-inch apart, and once they grow into seedlings and sprout their first leaves, gently unearth them and pull them apart into clumps. Replant the seedlings about 12 inches apart. Keep the soil evenly and consistently watered, and snip off the leaves when they are about 3-6 inches long. For tips from our horticulture reviewer on harvesting mustard seeds, keep reading!