How to Grow Mustard Greens

Mustard greens are a versatile and flavorful green that are easy to grow in your home garden. Whether you’re looking to add some spice to your salads or want to sauté them with garlic and olive oil, mustard greens are a delicious and nutritious addition to any meal. In this guide, we’ll provide step-by-step instructions for growing mustard greens in your own backyard.

  1. Planting Instructions Mustard greens grow best in cool weather, so it’s recommended to plant them in early spring or late summer. They prefer well-drained, moist soil with a pH level between 6.0 and 7.5. Mustard greens can tolerate both full sun and partial shade, but they will grow faster in full sun. To properly space the plants, sow the seeds about 1/2 inch deep and 1 inch apart. Once they’ve germinated and started growing, thin the plants to 6 inches apart to give them room to mature.
  2. Watering Requirements Mustard greens need consistent watering to ensure healthy growth. Water them deeply once a week, or more often if the soil feels dry to the touch. It’s important not to overwater, as mustard greens are prone to root rot if the soil is too wet.
  3. Fertilizing Tips Mustard greens are light feeders, so they don’t require a lot of fertilizer. However, adding compost or a balanced fertilizer to the soil before planting can help provide necessary nutrients for healthy growth. Additionally, side-dress the plants with a nitrogen-rich fertilizer once a month to encourage strong leaf growth.
  4. Pest Management Aphids, flea beetles, and cabbage loopers are common pests that can affect mustard greens. To prevent infestations, use row covers to protect young plants from flea beetles, and handpick cabbage loopers as you see them. Additionally, spraying the plants with a mixture of water and neem oil can help control aphids.
  5. Disease Management Clubroot and downy mildew are the most common diseases that can affect mustard greens. To prevent clubroot, avoid planting mustard greens in soil that has previously hosted cruciferous plants, and rotate your crops annually. For downy mildew, space the plants properly to ensure good air circulation, and avoid overhead watering.
  6. Harvesting Instructions Mustard greens can be harvested at any point during their growth cycle, but they taste best when they’re young and tender. To harvest, simply cut the leaves at the base of the plant, leaving the central bud intact. This will encourage new growth and allow you to continue harvesting throughout the season.
  7. Storage Tips Mustard greens are best eaten fresh, but if you have more than you can use at once, they can be stored in the refrigerator for up to a week. To prevent wilting, wrap the leaves in damp paper towels and place them in a plastic bag.
  8. Top Varieties to Grow There are many different varieties of mustard greens to choose from, including green wave, ruby streaks, and red giant. Each variety has its own unique flavor and texture, so experiment with different types to find your favorite.
  9. Recipe Ideas Mustard greens are a versatile ingredient that can be used in a variety of dishes. Try sautéing them with garlic and olive oil, adding them to soups or stews, or using them as a bed for grilled meats or fish. You can also mix them with other greens in a salad for a spicy kick.

By following these simple steps, you’ll be able to grow your own delicious and nutritious mustard greens right in your backyard. Happy gardening!