The idea of growing their food seems daunting. With long work hours and demanding schedules, who has the time to tend to a garden?
But that’s precisely why mustard is a perfect choice.
With its quick growth rate and low maintenance needs, you can enjoy fresh, flavorful leaves and seeds in as little as 50 days.
So why not add extra flavor and nutrition to your life with mustard?
This article provides a comprehensive guide on everything you need to know about growing mustard. Mustard is an easy and rewarding choice whether you’re an experienced gardener or just starting.
- What Is Mustard?
- Growing Mustard: Tips and Techniques
- Growing Mustard in Pots
- How To Harvest Mustard?
- Possible Problems with Growing Mustard
What Is Mustard?
Mustard is a fast-growing plant belonging to the Brassicaceae family, including other popular crops like broccoli and cauliflower. Its leaves and seeds are edible and highly valued for their strong, savory flavor.
There are many varieties of mustard, each with its unique flavor and growth habit. Some popular types include yellow mustard, brown mustard, and black mustard.
The flavor of mustard can range from mild and slightly sweet to sharp and intense. When choosing a variety of mustard to grow, consider your taste preferences and the growing conditions in your garden.
In addition to its delicious flavor, mustard is also a nutritious crop. It’s high in vitamins A and C, iron, and calcium and is a good source of protein.
So not only will growing mustard add flavor to your meals, but it will also provide valuable nutrients for your health.
One tablespoon of mustard seeds contains about 7% of your daily recommended value of magnesium and manganese, which are essential minerals for maintaining healthy bones and a robust immune system.
Growing Mustard: Tips and Techniques
Cultivating mustard is a straightforward process that requires well-drained soil, consistent moisture, and full sun or light shade.
The following techniques will help you have a bountiful mustard seed harvest.
When To Plant?
Mustard is a cool-season crop that grows best in temperatures between 40-65°F (4-18°C).
It’s best to plant mustard seeds in early spring or late fall when temperatures are cooler. In warmer climates, mustard can also be planted in the winter.
Mustard grows best in well-drained, fertile soil with a pH of 6.0-7.5.
If your soil is heavy or poorly drained, amend it with compost or other organic matter to improve its structure and fertility.
Mustard seeds are tiny and should be sown shallowly, about 1/4 inch (0.6 cm) deep.
Space the seeds about 6 inches (15 cm) apart in rows, or scatter them in a wide bed.
If planting in rows, thin the seedlings to about 6 inches (15 cm) apart once they have sprouted.
Mustard requires consistent moisture, but it’s important not to over-water.
Water your mustard regularly, not letting the soil dry out completely or become waterlogged.
A slow stream of water is best, as heavy watering can disturb the soil and wash away the seeds.
Mustard needs full sun or light shade, and it grows best in a location that receives at least 6 hours of direct sunlight daily.
Growing Mustard in Pots
Growing mustard in pots is an excellent option for those with limited garden space or for those who want to produce a small crop of mustard for personal use.
Here’s what you need to know to grow mustard in pots.
Choose a pot that is at least 10 inches (25 cm) in diameter and has adequate drainage holes.
Terra cotta pots are a good choice, as they allow excess moisture to evaporate and help prevent over-watering.
Use a high-quality, well-draining potting mix in your pot.
You can also add compost or other organic matter to improve the soil’s fertility and structure.
Sow the mustard seeds in the pot, following the same shallow planting technique as when planting in the ground.
Place the pot in a sunny location that receives at least 6 hours of sunlight daily.
Water your potted mustard regularly, not letting the soil dry out completely.
A slow, steady stream of water is best, and be sure to empty the saucer under the pot after watering to prevent waterlogging.
Fertilize your potted mustard every 4-6 weeks with a balanced fertilizer.
Avoid over-fertilizing, as this can lead to lush foliage growth at the expense of flowering and seed production.
Mustard plants can act as a natural pest deterrent in the garden, repelling harmful insects and promoting the growth of beneficial insects, like honeybees.
How To Harvest Mustard?
Harvesting mustard is a simple process that requires timing and patience. Here’s how to do it.
When To Harvest?
Mustard is ready to harvest in about 50-70 days from sowing, depending on the variety.
When the leaves are large and crisp, and the plant is at least 6 inches (15 cm) tall, it’s time to harvest.
How To Harvest?
Cut the leaves off at the base of the plant with a sharp knife or pruning shears.
Be sure to leave a few leaves on each plant so that it can continue to grow and produce more leaves.
Harvesting in Stages
Mustard can be harvested in stages, starting with the outer leaves and leaving the inner leaves to grow.
You can prolong the harvest and get more out of your plants.
Possible Problems with Growing Mustard
Growing mustard can be a breeze, but there are a few common problems that you may encounter along the way.
Let’s look at some of these issues and what you can do to prevent or fix them.
Bolting is when the mustard plant goes to seed too quickly, and the leaves become bitter. This is caused by hot weather or stress.
Plant mustard in cooler weather to prevent bolting and keep the soil moist.
Mustard is prone to aphids, flea beetles, and caterpillars.
To prevent pest damage, keep your mustard plants clean and debris-free. You can also use organic pesticides to get rid of pests.
Mustard is susceptible to downy mildew and root rot. To prevent disease, plant your mustard in well-draining soil and avoid overwatering.
If you notice any signs of disease, remove the infected plants and dispose of them properly.
Growing mustard is a fun and straightforward process that can bring a tasty and healthy addition to your kitchen. You can have fresh mustard greens at your fingertips with just a bit of care and attention.
Whether you grow it in pots or your garden, this fast-growing herb is an excellent choice for those just starting in the gardening world.
So why not grow your mustard and enjoy the taste of freshly picked greens in your meals? Give it a shot and bask in the flavor of your homegrown mustard greens!