Tuesday, August 4, 2020

Growing Mustard Greens - Homesteading 101

Mustard Greens

aka Mizuna, Mustard Spinach, Indian Mustard
Annual plant
Height:  6"       Width:  Up to 2'

Mustard Greens are a leafy plant with a zesty mustard flavor that is a fiber and nutrient-rich addition to salads and stir-fries.

Curly Leaf.  Curled or frilled leaf edges resembling Kale.  It's a very spicy tender green used in salads.

Flat Leaf.  Broad delicately flavored leaves are good for steaming or in soups.
Mustard Spinach.  Smooth leaves.  This plant is more tolerant of heat, making it a good choice in warmer climates.

Starting Seeds of Mustard Greens

Seed Depth:                Lightly cover the seed and tamp down on the soil.
Seed Spacing:            6" apart, and thin to 19" apart.
Germination Temp:     45-85 degrees.
Days to Germinate:    4-7 days.
Days to Harvest:         30-40 days or 60-70 days depending on the variety.
Seed Longevity:          2-3 years.

Sowing Indoors:

Spring:  Sow 6 weeks before your average last frost date.  Plant out 3 weeks before your average last frost date.

Sowing Outdoors:

Spring:  Direct sow 3-4 weeks before your average last frost date.

Salad Spinner


Winter Sowing:

If you haven't tried winter sowing, you're in for a treat.  This method is especially good for sowing herbs and greens.  Winter sowing is basically sowing seeds in the bottom of a milk jug during the winter, setting the milk jugs outside for the winter and leaving them there until the seeds germinate in Spring.
For more detailed information about Winter Sowing, click here.

Salad Tongs

Growing Mustard Green Plants

Growing Temperature:      Tolerates light frosts which make leaves sweeter.
Plant Spacing:                   12"
Container Size:                  8" deep.
Sun/Shade:                        Sun is ideal.  It also tolerates shade.
Soil:                                    Moist, rich, well-draining.
Watering:                            Evenly moist for best flavor.  2" water per week.

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Since greens are such a fast-growing crop, as long as they are grown in rich soil there may be little need for further fertilization. That said, a liquid balanced fertilizer when the seedlings are 4" tall will give your greens a boost and carry them through their short season. After the temperatures warm, though, the leaves of Arugula will turn bitter and no amount of fertilizer will help at that point.

Salad Lunch Container

Growing Tips

Sow Mustard Greens in succession every 2-3 weeks for a steady supply.

Harvesting Mustard Greens

Begin harvesting outer leaves in about 4 weeks when the leaves are 6-8" long, or treat as cut-and-come-again and harvest the whole plant 3" above ground level.

Using Mustard Greens

  • Use smaller Mustard Green leaves in salads or on sandwiches for a peppery zing.
  • Use steamed, braised, cooked in broth.

Storing Mustard Greens For Later Use

Although tender green leaves, like lettuce, cannot be preserved well, the thicker leaved greens can be preserved.


  • Clean and pat dry.  Bundle stems lightly, place on a paper towel (to absorb moisture) and wrap in a plastic bag.  Keeps in refrigerator for 10 days.

Freezing for Later Use in Chilis, Soups, Sauces, and Casseroles.
  • Steam or saute' leaves, chop them and store in freezer bags.
  • Puree with water and freeze into ice cube trays.
  • Clean and dry the leaves and store in quart size freezer bags.
  • Frozen leaves will keep for 6 months.
  • Blanching the leaves first for two minutes will extend freezer storage to 14 months.

To read the other articles in our Growing Your Greens series, click on the name below:

Swiss Chard

Check out our other great gardening articles:  Click Here

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