Gardening

How to plant mustard

Some plant species receive the popular name mustard, producing seeds that are used to make condiments of the same name. All of them can also be consumed as a vegetable, at least when young, but oriental mustard is the most used, and there are several cultivars that are used basically as a vegetable. The three most cultivated species of mustard are:

Brassica juncea – called Eastern mustard, brown mustard, brown mustard, Indian mustard or Chinese mustard. There are a large number of subspecies and cultivars of this mustard, including cultivars with green, reddish or purple leaves, smooth and curly leaves, plants with a highly developed stem and plants that produce large edible roots. It is the mustard most used and appreciated as a vegetable, its leaves, flowers, seeds, stems and roots being used as food, depending on the subspecies. Its seeds are also used to make mustard flavoring, but they are mainly used for obtaining mustard oil or in the preparation of culinary dishes.

Brassica nigra – called black mustard, its seeds are highly appreciated in culinary dishes and are used in the manufacture of mustard flavoring. Its seeds are the richest in lipids and thus are also used to obtain mustard oil. Its leaves and buds can be eaten cooked, but its use as a vegetable is unusual. This plant can exceed 2 m in height.

Sinapis alba , sometimes called Brassica alba or Brassica hirta – called white mustard or yellow mustard, is the mustard whose seeds are most used in the manufacture of mustard flavoring (yellow mustard). Its seeds are yellowish, beige or light brown. Its leaves can be eaten cooked if harvested before flowering, but its use as a vegetable is also not very common. This species reaches up to 1.6 m in height.

Climate

Mustard can grow over a wide range of temperatures, although a mild climate is ideal. The plants can withstand light frosts.

Mustard can tolerate hot weather, but seed production and quality can be impaired if the temperature is too high during flowering and pod growth. The ideal is that the temperature does not exceed 27 ° C. Eastern mustard, grown as a vegetable, generally does not withstand very high temperatures.

Brightness

Mustard grows best in direct sunlight, but it can also be grown in partial shade, especially if grown during the summer or in warmer regions.

Ground

Cultivate in well-drained, fertile soil and rich in organic matter. Mustards are tolerant of soil pH, but grow best at pH above 6.

Irrigation

Irrigate in order to keep the soil always moist, without being soaked.

Planting

The seeds are usually sown directly at the final location, although they can also be sown in seedlings and modules, and transplanted later when the seedlings are well developed, such that they can be easily handled.

The spacing between plants varies greatly with the species and cultivar being planted. For white mustard and black mustard, the spacing between plants is often neglected, with only a distance of 30 to 40 cm between the planting lines. For eastern mustard, a spacing of 15 to 35 cm is generally used, depending on the subspecies and cultivar.

Eastern mustard can be easily grown in bibs and large pots.

Cultivation

Remove invasive plants that are competing for nutrients and resources.

The presence of bees is essential for the pollination of flowers and the production of seeds.

Harvest

The harvesting of eastern mustard leaves can usually be started from 40 to 70 days after planting, varying with cultivar and cultivation conditions.

Flowering and seed production takes place 2 to 5 months after planting. Eastern mustard pods can be harvested when they are completely dry. The black mustard and white mustard pods must be harvested before drying, as they are dehiscent, that is, the pods open and release the seeds when they are ripe.

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