Mustard Greens while not as popular as kale, collards, and other leafy greens make an excellent addition to the home garden. Their strong, spicy hot flavor is probably the reason that many gardeners neglect them, and cooks ban them from the kitchen, but there are many good reasons to set aside a little space for them in your garden.
Enjoy Delicious Mustard Greens
If you’re one of the people who always balked at the taste of mustard greens, try harvesting when the leaves are small and mix them with other milder greens in your favorite recipes. Cooking mustard greens also mutes the flavor and reduces the spiciness.
To their credit, mustard greens are extremely nutritious, easy to cultivate, fast growing, and very ornamental in the garden. Also insects and animals avoid them even more than people do, so you don’t have to worry about fighting the rabbits over this one. The plants are cold hardy and easily withstand frost and light freezes.
Growing and Harvesting Mustard Greens
Planting can be done in early spring and again in late summer for fall harvests. Start mustard seeds indoors in containers, or sow directly in the garden at a depth of about half an inch. Because the plants grow so quickly you can even sow them as late as early fall and still manage to harvest a sizeable crop.
To harvest, simply snap off the outer leaves when they reach the desired size. Smaller leaves are best for salads, while the large leaves are cooked and used in recipes featuring leafy greens. Be warned, they can be spicy and overpowering if used alone or in large quantities, but many mustard lovers enjoy the kick that they provide.
Ornamental Mustard Varieties
Popular varieties of mustards include: Osaka Purple, Giant Red, Green Wave, Southern Giant Curled, Mizuna, Horned, and White Mustard. The recently introduced “Wild Garden Mustards” give you the advantage of a range of colors, leaf forms and flavors from a single package.
“Pink Petiole Mix,” also new on the scene, boasts an amazing mix of leaf colors from blonde to emerald, and stems ranging from pink to purple, a very attractive plant for the ornamental garden. Another of my favorites for its ornamental qualities is the Red Giant Mustard.
For more tips and gardening ideas pick up a copy of my ebook the “Amazing Secrets to Growing Luscious Fruits and Vegetables at Home.”
Other Related Vegetable Gardening Posts: