If you need a quick spring green that’s easy to grow and tastes like spinach, mustard greens are your plant. It is an excellent source of Vitamin A. Having said that, it can also be a noxious weed if you let it flower and set seed in your garden. This is a two-edged sword of a plant – good to eat but a danger and weed if not controlled.
When to Plant
As soon as you can walk on the soil or work the soil without it leaving huge clumps. This is the earliest thing to plant in the garden and you can’t kill the seed if you only plant it .1 cm deep – barely cover if at all.
Sow a few seeds every week for the first 4-6 weeks of spring. Stop after that because this plant will bolt and go to seed very quickly when the weather warms up.
Sow again in August or September when the nights start cooling down.
Where to Plant
Average soil, little or no fertility is necessary in sun or light shade. If you have a sense you can grow this spicy green almost anywhere, you’re right.
How To Plant
Plant .1 cm deep and 2-3 cm apart. When the leaves start to touch, thin the smaller plants (eat them) till the mature plants are approximately 20 cm apart.
Care and Maintenance
There’s little care needed for this plant. It’s a fast growing plant that will germinate in 3-7 days. Generally you’re going to thin out the seedlings around the 10-day mark and be ready for harvesting mature plants in 50 days. In a good growing year, you can get early harvests about a month after planting; simply use the smaller bottom/outer leaves when they are 10 cm long allowing the top leaves to continue growing.
For best harvests and to keep the leaves from going bitter, water during any early summer dry spells.
Mulching will help keep the soil cool which is what this plant loves.
This plant is normally considered a “Southern” plant but we northerners can grow it in the spring and fall.
Treat it as you would spinach, cooking or eating raw.
The plant is also used in bio-remediation because it sucks up contaminants and heavy metals in the soil; plants used for this purpose are not eaten but are disposed of in environmentally sound ways.
(all numbers rounded out)
1/4 inch = .6 cm
1/2 inch = 1.3 cm
1 inch = 2.5 cm
6 inch = 15 cm
12 inch = 30 cm
18 inch = 45 cm
36 inch = 91 cm