Growing Mustard Greens in Northeast Florida Vegetable Gardens
Foliage, Origins, and Use of Mustard Greens / Brassica juncea for Northeast Florida vegetable gardens:
Mustard greens are a member of the cabbage family and produce an open head of heavily textured dark green foliage. The origin of Mustard greens is unclear, wild forms of mustard can be found growing in Europe and western portions of Asia.
Mustard Greens are a southern favorite, while the seeds may be used to make the popular condiment, or pressed to make mustard oil, the peppery leaves are used for potherbs as mustard greens and used fresh for salads and sandwiches.
Click here for the list of Mustard Green Varieties being grown for the Spring 2016 gardening season here at S & J Nrusery
Planting Season for Mustard Greens in Jacksonville and St. Augustine Florida and the surrounding areas:
Mustard greens can be grown in more of the year than any other annual vegetable plant. Sow the seeds of mustard plants in all but the 3 hottest months of the year. Plant Mustard transplants or seeds from January to May, skip the months of June, July, and August, then start planting again in September to December!
Mustard greens are more tender than collard greens when it comes to a frost and should be protected by a row cover in all but a light frost in Northeast Florida vegetable gardens.
Mustard greens are fast growing and can be expected to be ready from harvest from planting in as little as 45 days, depending on variety of Mustard green grown. Space plants on 12 inch centers for intensive gardening and 15 inches for traditional row plantings.
Sun Exposure for growing Mustard Greens in Northeast Florida Vegetable Gardens:
Plant your Mustard Green in a full sun or afternoon sun location for the Jacksonville and St. Augustine area vegetable garden.
Soil Preferences for Mustard Greens / (Brassica juncea) in the Jacksonville and St. Augustine areas:
Mustard greens will do best in Northeast Florida gardens when grown in soils that have been generously amended with compost.Keep soils moist but not wet.
Amend your vegetable planting site generously with a good quality compost each year in spring before planting your Mustard greens into Northeast Florida’s native soils for best results.
Care of Mustard Greens in the Northeast Florida Vegetable Garden:
Watering Your Mustard Green Vegetable Plants:
Newly planted Mustards will require watering daily for the first few days to a week after being planted from seed or transplanted from an S & J Nursery container.
Once the Mustard plants are established and growing, be sure to keep the soil moist by watering at once or twice a week if rainfall is scarce.
Mulching Your Mustard Green Vegetable Plants:
For maximum growth potential, mulch plants generously with a layer of straw or hay, this will help conserve any existing moisture in the soils.
Fertilizing Your Mustard Green Vegetable Plants:
Feed every two to three weeks with an all purpose fertilizer like 6-6-6.
Or for an organic approach, try fertilizing with a mixture of fish emulsions and seaweed (kelp) at one ounce each per gallon of water. Apply semi weekly as a foliar spray.
If your vegetable plants look like they could use a boost, give them a good watering with homemade compost tea as soon as the top few inches of soil around your plant is dry to the touch!
Harvesting Your Mustard Green Vegetable Plants in the Northeast Florida Vegetable Garden:
Mustards are generally ready to harvest in about 45 to 50 days from planting. The entire plant an be harvested at once or you may want to simply remove the leaves with garden scissor or a sharp knife and allow the plant to produce more leaves for subsequent harvests.
Harvest leaves when young and tender for a lighter tasting fresh salad green, older leaves will be much stronger flavored and thicker, and will be better off cooked as potherbs. As a general rule the longer the leaves are left on the plant, the less palatable they will become as time passes. So harvest frequently when growing large crops of mustard greens for best results.
When allowing mustard greens to produce seeds, the foliage will be finished growing as soon as the seeds are set. Harvest you’re mustard seeds when fully dark brown jsut before they begin to break open and scatter in the garden, and compost what remains of the plant.