Mustard is a leafy green vegetable that belongs to the same family as kale, broccoli, and Brussels sprouts. The plant is known for its pungent and spicy flavour, and its leaves are often used in salads, sandwiches, and as a garnish. Mustard greens are a good source of vitamins A, C, and K, as well as calcium and iron. They are also low in calories and high in fibre, making them a nutritious addition to any diet. Mustard seeds can also be used as a spice, and are commonly used to make mustard condiments.
How to Grow Mustard Organically
- Choose the right time: Mustard grows best in cool weather, so choose a time when the temperature is between 50°F to 75°F (10°C to 24°C). In most areas, this will be early spring or late summer to early fall.
- Select a location: Mustard plants prefer well-drained soil with a pH of 6.0 to 7.5. Choose a sunny or partially shaded location with good air circulation.
- Prepare the soil: Till the soil to a depth of 6 to 8 inches and remove any rocks, weeds, or debris. Mix in organic compost or well-rotted manure to improve soil fertility.
- Plant the seeds: Sow the seeds directly into the soil, about 1/4 inch deep and 1 inch apart. If you want to grow mustard in rows, space the rows about 12 inches apart. Water the soil lightly after planting.
- Water the plants: Mustard plants need regular watering, especially during dry spells. Water the plants deeply once a week or whenever the soil feels dry to the touch.
- Fertilize the plants: Mustard plants benefit from regular feeding with organic fertilizers like compost tea or fish emulsion. Apply the fertilizer every two weeks during the growing season.
- Control pests and diseases: Mustard plants are susceptible to pests like aphids, flea beetles, and cabbage worms. To control these pests, use organic methods like neem oil or insecticidal soap. If you notice any signs of disease, like wilting or yellowing leaves, remove and destroy the affected plants to prevent the spread of the disease.
- Harvest the plants: Mustard plants mature in 30 to 40 days. When the plants reach a height of 4 to 6 inches, you can start harvesting the leaves. Cut the outer leaves of the plant and leave the inner leaves to continue growing. If you want to harvest the seeds, wait until the seed pods turn brown and then cut the entire plant and hang it upside down in a warm, dry place until the pods open and release the seeds.
Following these steps will help you grow mustard organically and enjoy the benefits of fresh, healthy greens or seeds.