How to Grow Mustard Greens from Seed to Harvest
You want to grow mustard greens at home? Great! It’s fairly simple and can also be quite a lot of fun.
However, before you start, make sure that you read this mustard green grower’s guide since I show you all you need to grow mustard greens from seed to harvest in a step-by-step approach.
Moreover, I also included some videos in this article to give you an even more comprehensive view on how to grow mustard greens in the best possible manner. Enough talk, let it grow! 😉
Table of Contents
Mustard Greens Plant Profile
|Size||6 – 9 inches tall, 5 – 7 inches spread.|
|Climate||Mustard greens grow best in cool to moderate climatic zones with optimal temperatures ranging between 50 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit.|
|Sun Exposure||Mustard greens like the sun. While they usually grow best with many hours of full sun, you will also be able to grow them in half-shady environments.|
|Soil Requirements||Mustard greens prefer acidic soil with an optimal pH between 5.8 and 6.5.|
|Country of Origin||India.|
|Growing Difficulty||Easy. You don’t need any prior knowledge and will learn all you need to know to grow mustard greens in this article.|
|Perennial?||No, mustard greens are harvested in the first year of growing.|
|When should you start?||You can either start in spring for an early summer harvest or in summer for a fall harvest.|
|Expected Yield & Harvest||You will harvest between 20 and 40 leaves per plant and it will usually take between one and two months to grow mustard greens from seed to harvest.|
|What to do with it?||You can make delicious salads or just blanch them together with other vegetables.|
What Types and Varieties of Mustard Greens can you grow?
There are many different mustard green varieties you can grow. I listed the most popular ones for you in the following:
- Green Wave
- Ruby Streaks
- Red Giant
- Tye Dye
- Dragon Tongue
- Florida Broad Leaf
- Garnet Giant
Like many other gardeners, I prefer growing Florida Broad Leaf greens since it is pretty easy to grow, due to the good taste and the pretty decent yields you can get.
However, people are different and you may want to grow other mustard green varieties.
If this is your first year of growing mustard greens, I recommend you just get a seed mix and grow a few different mustard green types in your first year.
By doing so, you can figure out your favorite mustard green variety that you can grow for many years to come.
It is also more interesting to grow more than one mustard variety since you will get plants of different shapes and colors.
Consequently, just grow different mustard green varieties at the beginning of your gardening career and figure out which ones you like most.
When should you grow Mustard Greens?
You can either grow mustard greens in spring for a harvest before summer arrives or in summer for a fall harvest.
If you want to grow mustard greens in spring, make sure to plant them around 1 to 2 weeks before you expect the last spring freeze.
If you want to grow mustard greens in summer, make sure to plant them around 5 to 7 weeks before you expect the first autumn freeze.
How long does it take to grow Mustard Greens from Seed to Harvest?
It will only take you between 30 and 50 days to grow your mustard greens from seed to harvest.
Hence, this means that you can grow multiple batches of mustard greens during the year.
When they are ready to harvest, just pick your mustard greens and if you do it in the right manner, chances are that your mustard greens will regrow and that you will be able to harvest additional mustard greens later on in the year.
What is the best Climate to grow Mustard Greens?
Mustard greens grow best in moderate to cool climatic zones.
In fact, they don’t like the heat too much and this is also the reason why you should start with your mustard greens growing project early in the year when it is still cool outside.
However, even if you live in a warmer climatic zone, you will still be able to grow mustard greens.
It will just take you a bit longer to do so and your yields may be lower as well.
What Temperatures do Mustard Greens like?
The optimal temperature to grow mustard greens is between 50 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit.
Yet, seed companies did a pretty good job to produce mustard green varieties that also grow well in warmer or colder climatic zones.
Consequently, if you don’t live in too extreme climatic conditions, chances are that you will be just fine to grow mustard greens at home.
What Plants should you grow with Mustard Greens?
If you want to know what plants you should grow next to your mustard greens, make sure to check out my article about good and bad mustard green companion plants.
What do you need to grow Mustard Greens?
For growing mustard greens, you need some equipment which I listed for you below:
- Flower pots (only necessary if you don’t have a garden to grow your mustard greens)
- Mustard greens seeds
- Potting soil
- Slug fence
- Garden shovel
- Watering can
- Fertilizer (you can also make your own organic fertilizer for which I give you the instructions below)
- Compost (optional)
What Yield can you expect when you grow Mustard Greens?
You can either harvest smaller baby leaves or let your mustard green leaves grow really big.
Of course, if you let them grow for longer and they get bigger, also your yield will be higher.
It is impossible to say how many leaves you should expect since this depends on so many different factors.
However, if you follow all the steps in this article, chances are that you will be pretty satisfied with the end result. And even if you are not.
Always remember that growing plants at home is not only about the yield, it is about loving the process.
Hence, just enjoy your mustard green growing experience and don’t only focus on the end result.
Why should you grow your own Mustard Greens?
There are many different reasons why you should grow mustard greens at home.
Even though it might not make sense from an effort perspective and may also cost you more compared to just getting mustard greens from your local store, growing mustard greens in your garden or on your balcony can just be quite a lot of fun.
For me, growing plants at home is not only about the yield, I really love gardening and to see the progress my plants make each week.
Hence, growing mustard greens and other plants does not feel like work to me, it’s more like an enjoyable hobby.
Moreover, by growing mustard greens at home, you do no longer have to rely on buying mustard greens from the store.
Vegetables and fruits that come from conventional agriculture have often got into contact with pesticides and herbicides.
However, those substances can be quite harmful to our health and if you want to stay healthy in the long run, chances are that you should rather grow your own vegetables and fruits at home in a completely organic manner.
Additionally, growing mustard greens and other plants at home can also have an educational aspect.
In fact, many people in our current state of the world are no longer aware of how our food is produced and how much work has to be put into it before it ends up in our stores.
Therefore, many people don’t value their food too much anymore.
The result of this is plenty of food waste. Hence, by growing your own vegetables at home, you will have to put in plenty of work and will value your food much more, which will likely make you also less willing to throw away food into the garbage.
Due to all of those reasons, it can definitely make sense to grow mustard greens at home, even if it is a little bit more work compared to just getting it from your local store.
Growing Mustard Greens: Step-by-Step
1. Select a Site for your Mustard Greens
Now that I hopefully convinced you that growing your own mustard greens at home is in fact a good idea, we can get into the actual planning process for your growing project.
To grow mustard greens in an optimal manner, it is crucial to select a perfect site for your mustard plants.
Do Mustard Greens like Sun or Shade?
Although mustard greens prefer rather cool temperatures, they still like the sun.
However, you will also be perfectly fine by growing mustard greens in half-shady environments.
Just pick a spot in your garden or on your balcony where your mustard greens get at least 4 hours of sunlight each day and you are good to go.
What are the Soil Requirements of Mustard Greens?
Mustard greens grow best with a soil pH between 5.8 and 6.5, which means that the soil should be slightly acidic.
This may sound complicated to you at first, but you don’t have to bother too much about those technical terms.
If you just get some potting soil from the store, you will be able to provide the optimal soil pH for your mustard greens.
You can also mix potting soil from the store with soil from your garden and you could also add some compost or natural fertilizer to make the soil even richer.
Also make sure that the soil will be loose enough so that the roots of your mustard greens can develop in an optimal manner and also that the water can run off properly and no water puddles form.
How much Space do Mustard Green Plants need?
You should plan around 3 square feet of space for each plant.
Of course, if you have a big garden and space is not a problem for you at all, you can even provide much more space to your mustard green plants.
The more space, the more sunlight and nutrients your mustard greens will get and yields also tend to be higher due to that.
Should you plant Mustard Greens in a Pot or in your Garden?
Both options are perfectly fine. If you have a garden, I suggest you just plant your mustard greens in your garden since it will simply be more convenient and you can also grow more mustard greens at the same time compared to using pots.
However, if you don’t have a garden but rather live in a flat with a balcony, you will have no other choice than to just grow mustard greens in pots.
If this is the case, make sure that you use big pots so that your mustard greens will have enough space to develop in a decent manner.
2. Plant Mustard Greens Seeds
After selecting the perfect site for your mustard greens, we can now get into the actual seeding process.
Should you buy Mustard Green Seeds or Seedlings?
The first thing you have to decide in this regard is whether you want to grow your mustard greens from seed or if you want to use mustard greens seedlings instead.
Since there are not many garden centers that even offer mustard green seedlings, chances are that you will just have to grow them by yourself.
In fact, even if it was possible, I still would recommend you just grow your own mustard green seedlings since it is just an important part of the overall growing process and you should not skip this step.
Moreover, especially if you have never grown your own seedlings before, you can also learn a lot and can transfer your knowledge to various other growing projects you might want to undertake in the future.
Hence, growing your own mustard green seedlings is definitely a good idea and I show you how to do it in detail in the following chapters.
Should you buy Mustard Green Seeds or produce Seeds by yourself?
If you have never grown mustard greens before, you will simply not have the option to produce your own mustard green seeds since those seeds are saved from flowers of the plant.
Sure, after you have finished your first mustard green growing project, you can save some seeds and use those seeds to grow mustard greens for many years.
However, for your first mustard green growing project, just get some mustard seeds online or from your local garden center.
How to plant Mustard Greens
Now that we talked about where to get your seeds from, it is time to actually plant those seeds.
If you want to sow your seeds in spring, wait until two weeks before you expect the last spring frost.
If you want to sow your seeds in summer, make sure to seed them around 8 to 10 weeks before you expect the first autumn freeze.
You just have to loosen the soil in your garden a little bit and mix it with some potting soil from the store. You can also add some compost or natural fertilizer if you want to.
After you prepared your growing site, you can now just place your seeds onto the soil surface and cover them with an additional layer of soil of around 1 inch in height.
Make sure that you leave at least 1 foot between each seed so that your mustard greens will have sufficient space to develop in a healthy manner.
Water your growing site and you are good to go. Alternatively, if you want to grow your mustard greens in pots, just fill your pots with potting soil and plant your seeds into the pots.
How long does it take to see the first Mustard Green Seedlings?
It will take between 1 and 2 weeks until you see the first mustard seedlings reaching the soil surface.
However, this doesn’t mean that all seedlings will become visible to you at the same time.
Some seeds will take up to one month to germinate. Hence, just be patient and see how your growing bed develops over time.
If you still have many empty spots in your growing site after one month, you can sow some additional mustard seeds to use your space in the most efficient manner.
What kind of Protection do Mustard Greens need outdoor?
After your seeds turned into mustard seedlings, it is time to add some additional protection to your plants since snails and other animals are just waiting for your tasty seedlings 😉.
While you could use some chemical substances to deter slugs, it is usually not a good idea to do so since those substances can be pretty harmful to our environment and also don’t keep away bigger animals.
Consequently, in my opinion, it is much better to just use slug fences or even bigger fences so that no animal will be able to come close to your mustard green plants.
Even though fences are rather old-school, they are still quite efficient and one of my favorite tools to protect plants outdoors.
3. The Mustard Greens Growth Process
Now that you have grown your mustard green seedlings and you protected them properly as mentioned above, the most manual work is already done.
Now you can enjoy the growth process and can watch your plants getting bigger and stronger every day.
However, there are still some things to consider which I discuss in the following.
Should you prune your Mustard Greens?
No, there is absolutely no need to prune your mustard greens.
In fact, since you will harvest the plant material, pruning can vastly decrease your overall yield and can also take away power from your mustard greens. Just let them grow and don’t interfere with nature in this regard.
Do you have to pollinate your Mustard Green Plants by Hand?
No, there is no need to pollinate your mustard greens by hand.
Nature will do all the work for you and pollination is not even necessary since you will harvest the leaves of your mustard greens instead of crops.
Should you stake your Mustard Greens?
Since mustard greens stay rather small and compact, there will also be no need to stake and stabilize your plants.
In fact, you can just let them grow as they are and your mustard greens will find a way to resist winds and other outside influences without any intervention needed from your side.
4. The Mustard Greens Harvest
After following all the steps in this article and waiting for one to two months, your mustard greens should deliver pretty decent yields.
When should you harvest your Mustard Greens?
You can harvest your mustard greens anytime you want to. While you could pick the tender baby leaves, you can also let them grow for longer and get higher yields due to that.
In my opinion, the best thing to do is to harvest the bigger mustard green leaves and leaving the smaller ones untouched.
By doing so, you can harvest mustard greens for many weeks to come since your mustard greens will continue to produce leaves as long as you don’t cut them completely.
Hence, just harvest your mustard green leaves over time since this will maximize your yields and you can always pick as many leaves as you need for your dishes at the respective point in time.
How should you store Mustard Greens?
The best way to store mustard greens is just to freeze them. Any other method would result in a vast loss of vitamins and flavor.
However, the best thing to do is still just consuming your mustard greens right after you harvested them.
As mentioned before, just pick as many leaves as you need at the respective moment and use them for your dishes.
By doing so, you can leave the other leaves on the plants and they will stay fresh there in a completely natural manner.
What should you do with your Mustard Greens?
You can just make a nice salad out of your mustard greens or blanch them together with some other vegetables.
Either way, mustard greens are quite healthy and can also taste quite well if you prepare them in a decent manner.
Mustard Greens Plant Care Tips
Now that you got a step-by-step approach on how to grow mustard greens from sowing to harvest, we are almost finished.
I just want to give you some additional general information on how to grow mustard greens in the best possible manner in the following chapters.
How often should you water Mustard Greens?
Watering mustard greens on a regular basis is crucial to ensure proper growth of your plants. However, you can also water them too much and it is therefore crucial to find a healthy balance.
You should first have a look at the leaves of your mustard greens. When they suddenly begin to hang, this is often a clear indication of a lack of water.
You can also just dig a small hole with your finger next to your mustard greens and see if the soil is still wet.
When you pull out your finger and soil sticks to it, the soil is still wet enough and there is no need to water your plants.
If no soil sticks to your finger, the soil is dry and you should irrigate your mustard greens pretty soon.
At what Time of the Day should you water your Mustard Greens?
You should water your mustard plants whenever it fits best with your schedule.
Honestly, I haven’t seen any difference from watering them in the morning or watering them in the evening.
Just make sure that your mustard greens get enough water and you will be just fine.
How often should you fertilize your Mustard Greens Plants?
If you have prepared a rich soil mix as mentioned earlier in this article, there will be no need to add additional fertilizer during the growth process.
In fact, mustard greens grow well if you just provide them with sufficient space, soil and sunlight.
Fertilizing plants can even do more harm than good if you don’t know what you are doing since those fertilizers can burn the roots of your plants.
Thus, be quite careful in this regard.
What kind of Fertilizer should you use for your Mustard Green Plants?
If you really want to add additional fertilizer for your own reasons, at least make sure that you use natural fertilizer instead of chemical alternatives.
While those chemicals work, they are often quite harmful to our environment and can also damage the soil in your garden.
Hence, just get natural fertilizer from the store and you are good to go.
Alternatively, if you have a little bit of time, you could also make your own natural fertilizer.
You just need to collect some stinging nettles from your local meadow or forest and put them in a bucket full of water.
Wait for a few days until you remove the plant material. It’s that simple.
You just created a perfectly natural fertilizer that you can just add to your watering can and fertilize your plants on a regular basis.
Should you use Pesticides or Herbicides for Growing Mustard Greens?
Similar to chemical fertilizers, I would also never advise you to use chemical pesticides or herbicides since they can be pretty harmful to the local flora and fauna.
Instead of using those chemical substances, you can just use your stinging nettle liquid as natural pesticide.
Just spray it onto your plants and you will be surprised how well it will deter pests.
There is also no need to use any herbicides. Just remove weeds by hand and you will be just fine.
If you want to learn more about pest control, you should also have a look at how to get rid of mustard greens pests and diseases.
What’s left to say?
You finally made it to the end of this mustard greens grower’s guide, congratulations!
I know it was a long article, but I just wanted to provide you with all the information you need to grow mustard greens from seed to harvest in the best possible manner.
I hope you liked this article and got some value out of it. If so, make sure to share it!
Also make sure to have a look at my growing mustard FAQ section to get even more information on growing mustard at home.
About the author
My name is Andreas and I’m really passionate about our environment and also about growing plants. In fact, I have grown several different plants over many years. I love to see my own plants grow and always try new things.
In my blog posts, I want to share my experiences with you so that you can become successful in growing various different plants, even if you are still a beginner right now.