What are Mustard Greens?
Mustard greens are small round green leaves with red stems and yellow veins. They have a mild taste and they make a great addition to salads or sandwiches. These plants grow from bulbs which can be grown outdoors in spring through fall, but they prefer full sun during these times. You will need at least four feet of space around your plants if you want them to thrive.
How to Plant Mustard Greens?
You can start planting mustard greens right away, or wait until later in the summer when temperatures are cooler. If you plan on starting them now, it’s best to do so before the heat gets too high. When choosing where to plant them, look for areas that get plenty of sunlight throughout the day.
The easiest way to plant them is in a large pot filled with well drained soil. If you don’t have enough room, try planting them in containers. Make sure the soil is not soggy or wet after watering. Water the plants every two weeks during hot weather and less often during cool weather. Never let the water run off into nearby streams or rivers!
Once the plants are established, move them outside once again to enjoy their bountiful bounty of foliage year round!
How to Grow Mustard Greens Indoors
Grow a head of lettuce indoors
If you’re an apartment dweller with no access to a garden, or want to grow some greens without using up your precious outdoor growing space, then you should try growing some lettuce indoors. Lettuce is fairly easy to grow, and there are many different varieties available that provide interesting shapes, textures and tastes. The seeds are extremely small and straight forward to sow, and the plants grow quickly and are attractive with their different colours and shapes.
Here are some tips for success:
Grow in a container at least 8″ deep to allow roots to grow
Use a soilless growing medium for the best results – either buy one or make your own (see below)
Sow the seeds thinly in rows that are 2-3″ apart. Press seeds gently into the soil, don’t cover as they need light to germinate
Water from below, or if that’s not possible, water from the base of the container to avoid damaging young roots
Mustard is a fast growing crop, so check every day and remove any plants that are ready to harvest. This will encourage smaller leaves on the remaining plants, rather than giant ones.
Make Your Own Soilless Growing Medium
Combine 1 part compost with 2 parts builders sand (or river sand) and 1 part perlite (this is like very small pieces of broken glass that can be found in the garden section of your local DIY store). A bucket of each should cost you less than a tenner and will make all the soil you need, just mix it all together thoroughly.
You can also add a small amount of general multipurpose fertilizer to each batch of soil you make. Add no more than one teaspoon per bucket.
How to Use Your Fresh Greens
Now that you’ve grown some greens, it’s time to learn about some of the different ways you can prepare and eat them!
Most people boil their greens (full details here), but if you’re feeling adventurous then try eating them raw in a salad. This is a great way to get the most nutrition out of your greens. Look for s a simple spinach, lettuce and tomato salad or mix up your own favourite combination.
Another common way to prepare greens is to sauté them with onions and garlic to make a delicious side dish. Look up recipes for kale, mustard or turnip greens to find one you like the sound of.
A simple way to prepare greens is to dip bread into a warm mixture of melted butter and chicken stock. Then add some freshly chopped greens and give it a good stir.
The key to eating greens is to experiment and find out which types you like the taste of. Once you know, you can start combining them with other food groups to come up with delicious meals that are easy to prepare and will fill you up!
Sources & references used in this article:
Glucosinolates in crucifer vegetables: broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, collards, kale, mustard greens, and kohlrabi by DG Carlson, ME Daxenbichler, CH VanEtten… – 1987 – pubag.nal.usda.gov
Calcium bioavailability from high oxalate vegetables: Chinese vegetables, sweet potatoes and rhubarb by CM Weaver, RP Heaney, KP Nickel… – Journal of food …, 1997 – Wiley Online Library
Effect of simulated sulfuric acid rain on yield, growth and foliar injury of several crops by JJ Lee, GE Neely, SC Perrigan, LC Grothaus – … and Experimental Botany, 1981 – Elsevier
Tolerance of leafy greens to preemergence and postemergence herbicides by JK Norsworthy, JP Smith – Weed technology, 2005 – cambridge.org
Phenolic compound profile of selected vegetables frequently consumed by African Americans in the southeast United States by Z Huang, B Wang, DH Eaves, JM Shikany, RD Pace – Food Chemistry, 2007 – Elsevier