“The kingdom of heaven, a sage once said, is like to a grain of this seed
From all of it cometh goodness divine, and of it doth humankind feed“
Mustard is a leafing veggie that can be enjoyed for its full leaves as well as its micro-greens. It is most commonly sprung from two seed types – yellow and black. The former gives off less pungent and more well-formed and edible leaves, while the latter is sown and grown for its pungent black seed harvests only.
SEASONS: Mustard is a seasonal plant that grows well only in temperate zones. So if you really need to grow it, aim to do so during our Mumbai winters only, to give your mustard greens a fighting chance.
PROPAGATING: This plant is propagated very easily from seed. Buy yellow mustard seeds at the grocery store or raid your kitchen shelves for some.
GERMINATING: Sow your mustard seeds in early November for a harvest by end December/early January, and once again in early January for a harvest by end March. Use fresh, un-roasted seeds only.
PLANTING OUT: These seeds are best sown directly in the ground. They can be sown in shallow, 1/4 inch deep holes or scattered on the surface with a sprinkling of soil above. This is for micro-green or small leaf cultivation only. If you plan to grow your mustard plants to full height then space out your seedlings at least 8 inches apart. Once planted out, place your seedlings in semi-shade and spray water evenly. Spray your sown seeds daily until seedlings emerge in 7-10 days. Mustard likes very well-composted, and well-drained acidic soil. It will thrive in sunlight that is not too hot, thus my recommendation that you grow it during our Mumbai winters only. Mustard seedlings will grow very rapidly to full height of 2-4 feet within 2 months, given the right conditions, and if you have spaced them out further for full growth. Mustard grows well in open plots and in small to medium containers.
NURTURING: Water deeply each day to match the swift pace of its growth. This plant requires little maintenance and its pungent seed and leaf tend to to repel most harmful insects. You may need to harvest regularly and/or space out your seedlings to allow leaves to dry out after watering, and thus prevent fungus.
HARVESTING: Harvest your plant for its leaves from early growth onwards, or at about 2 weeks of growth. Keep pruning tips to delay bud/flower formation. If you are growing it for its seed, then allow it a full run to maturity in two months, harvesting leaves along the way before it starts to flower. Then harvest seeds from its flowers, threshing and drying them thoroughly before storage. Mustard also self-seeds and on its 2 month maturity, it will scatter seeds in the surrounding area. So if the weather continues to be cool, you may be lucky enough to pull in a second crop in winter. Once your mustard crop is spent, uproot, compost, replenish the soil and use that space for growing fruiting or rooting veggies next.
Spicy green leaves of the mustard plant
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