Mustard greens are extremely easy to grow in GreenSmartTM pots all year round in most parts of New Zealand. They are fast growing (ready to start eating in 40-60 days) and add a nutritious zip to many Asian dishes. They originated in the sub-Himalayan regions of India.
These growing tips are about Brassica juncea – aka Indian Mustard, Chinese Mustard, Leaf mustard, Gai Choi and tat soi. The leaves, stem and seeds are all edible. Mustard greens are very high in vitamins K, A and C. They are believed to also have anti-cancer properties.
The mustard greens plant produces acrid tasting seeds that are used for making Dijon mustard.
Mustard greens Growing Conditions
Mustard greens prefer to grow in soil conditions of 10 – 35 deg C but will also tolerate a light frost after they are established. A light frost ‘sweetens’ the flavour. They are ideal for growing in autumn, winter and spring.
If starting from seeds, sprinkle them across the top of your GreenSmart pot and lightly cover with seed raising mix to a depth of three times the diameter of the seed . The seeds are tiny so are tricky to see once they are on the dirt. They will emerge in 7-10 days. During hotter times of the year, stretch the elasticised cover across the top of the pot until the plants are a couple of cm high so the seeds get some initial moisture. Later thin out the plants so they are about 20 cm apart. Alternatively buy seedlings and plant 12-15 per large pot. You can also plant together a mixed pot of say mustard greens, coriander and Mizuna like I have got in the above pot.
Give them maximum sunlight and they will grow quickly. You will be able to start picking leaves for salads when the leaves are about 6-8 cm long. If left alone they will grow up to 40 cm in length.
Fast growing mustard greens need continuously moist soil so the self watering, wicking mechanism makes it easy to provide continuous watering. The plants will quickly go to seed if they run out of water.
We often get asked how long will the water last in a GreenSmart pot. In this video I answer the question about watering.
Before planting, add a good layer of organic fertiliser halfway down the depth of the pot. Mustard greens are shallow rooted.Add liquid fertiliser (eg seaweed) through the water sight glass while the plants are rapidly growing to promote root growth.
Our liquid seaweed fertiliser makes up 75 litres. It is made from invasive seaweeds on Marlborough mussel farms. Click the add to cart button below to buy some liquid seaweed now.
Pests and Diseases
Mustard plants are not too prone to diseases and bugs. Keep a look out for caterpillars and deal to them with digital controls.
As mustard greens are part of the brassica family, it is best to not plant them in the same potting mix used for other brassicas ( like cabbage, broccoli,cauliflower)
Either cut the outer, larger leaves or cut all the leaves off at about 10 cm above the soil. They will regrow from the stub. The plants will go to seed when the weather gets hot and produce a flower head. It is time to pull the plants out or let the seed head develop so you can harvest the seeds.
In the Kitchen
Use the young leaves of mustard greens for a little pepperiness in a salad. It is a similar flavour to raw radish. In Sichuan cuisine a pickle is made from the swollen green stem of the sub species tat sai. More information here.
Here is a great recipe for braised mustard greens and bacon.