Growing Guide
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Mustard greens

Vegetable (Cool Season) - Cabbage Family

Also known as Chinese mustard, Indian mustard
Brassica juncea
Brassicaceae Family

This cool-season green adds a peppery zing to salads, and makes an attractive addition to ornamental plantings. When plants bolt, harvest flowers and seedpods for salads, too.

Site Characteristics
  • full sun
  • part shade
Benefits from some shading during warm weather.

Soil conditions:

  • requires well-drained soil
Prefers well-drained, fertile soil high in organic matter, pH 6.0 to 7.5. Can tolerate slightly alkaline soil. Needs plentiful, consistent moisture.
Plant Traits

Lifecycle: annual

Ease-of-care: easy

Height: 0.5 to 2 feet

Spread: 1 to 2 feet

Bloom time:

  • early summer
  • mid-summer
  • late summer

Flower color: yellow

Foliage color:

  • medium green
  • dark green
  • red
  • purple

Some varieties have contrasting white or purples stems and veins, or have crinkled or savoyed leaves.

Foliage texture: medium

Shape: cushion, mound or clump

Special Considerations
  • frost - Tolerates light frost.
Special uses:
  • edible landscaping
Growing Information
How to plant:

Propagate by seed

Germination temperature: 45 F to 85 F - Will germinate at soil temperatures as low as 40 F.

Days to emergence: 4 to 7

Seed can be saved 4 years.

Maintenance and care:
From early spring to late summer, sow seeds to inch deep, 1 inch apart in rows 6 to 8 inches apart. Thin to 6-inch spacings for smaller varieties, or up to 18 inches for large ones.

Plant every 2 weeks for continuous harvest. Some plantings may bolt quickly in response to increasing temperatures and day length. High temperatures and lack of moisture increase peppery taste.

Use floating row covers to help protect from early insect infestations.

To help reduce disease, do not plant mustards or other cole crops in the same location more than once every three or four years.

Flea beetles
White flies

Mustards generally suffer less insect damage than other cole crops. Use floating row covers to prevent early season infestations.

Not as susceptible to diseases that often plague other cole crops.
Browse mustard varieties at our Vegetable Varieties for Gardeners website.

There are many varieties to choose from, though most seed catalogs only offer a few. Look for different days to maturity, size of plants, and form and color of leaves. Some cultivated mustards are species other than B. juncea, including B. nigra and Sinapsis alba.

Some varieties recommended for New York include:

Green Wave
Red Giant