Growing mustard greens can be easy and very rewarding! It’s easy to grow enough to share, and the temperatures are some of the mildest you will experience while gardening. Here are steps to follow for a successful growing season, regardless of which season you choose to grow your Mustard greens.
Mustard greens are cool-season vegetables that do well when planted in well-drained, fertile soil and full sun. Since mustards grow best in cool temperatures, they give you two seasons to enjoy fresh mustards: early spring and late fall. Mustards are fantastic, eaten raw in salads, sandwiches, or cooked as a side dish.
How to Grow Mustard Greens
The first step to growing mustard greens is to find a spot of soil that is well-drained, fertile, and in full sun. A soil test is the best way to determine the ability of the soil to grow a bountiful crop of mustard. The test results will make recommendations as to how you should amend the soil for the best results.
Mustard can be grown from transplants or seeds. If you plan to use transplants, start the seeds indoors two weeks before the last frost date (spring). In the late fall, start seeds four or five weeks before the first frost date. Once transplanted outdoors, watch them closely for the next two weeks for sun bleach or excessive heat. A crop cover would be helpful if the plants are showing stress.
Direct seeding performs best when soil temperatures are between 68 and 77 degrees. Seeds should be planted 1/4 inch deep and spaced 3 to 5 seeds per inch in rows 6 inches apart. Later, thin to two or three inches between plants or leave them to help with weed control. You can skip thinning the greens and use the density to help manage any weeds that might germinate.
Water is an important factor in getting your mustard greens started quickly; a moist seedbed allows the plants to begin quickly and soon shade out most of the weeds that have germinated.
Mustard greens depend on nitrates to get off to a quick start. If you are using compost, apply a solid inch layer of compost over the area and work it into the soil. If you are using a commercial fertilizer, apply in two stages, as the soil is being prepared for planting and after transplanting or after the plants have been thinned or are big enough to be thinned. During soil preparation, work the fertilizer into the top six inches of the soil; mustard is much more dependent on nitrates for fast, uniform growth. One cup of 46-0-0 per 100-foot row with twelve-inch spacing or three and a 1/2 cups of 15.5-0-0 will do. Side dressing mustard depends on how much moisture your garden has been getting. If the fall is dry and no irrigation is used, you can probably skip side dressing altogether. If moisture has been sufficient and growth is on track, apply ¾ cup of 46-0-0 or 2 cups of 15.5-0-0 per 100-foot row. Lightly work the fertilizer into the soil. If you have irrigation, use it after applying the fertilizer.
Insects can be a problem. Slugs thrive in a wet environment; if they become a problem, stop watering and harvest or thin the greens to allow the area to dry out. Slug traps can also be helpful.
Cabbage worms and loops can be controlled with Trichogramma Parasitic Wasp. Several insects, ladybugs, lacewings, lacewings larvae, ladybeetles, and parasitic wasps can control aphids.
You can begin harvesting mustard greens when the leaves are three inches; these leaves will be tender and work great in salads or sandwiches. A mature leaf is about eight inches and will have a spicier flavor than the baby leaves used in a salad. This is why some recipes call for sugar to be added. Mustard can be harvested after the leaves are three inches long. Using a sharp knife or scissors to cut the leaves doesn’t stress the shallow root system as tearing the leaves would.
Mustard Greens Recipes:
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