UC Master Gardeners, Santa Clara County, CA
University of California
UC Master Gardeners, Santa Clara County, CA

Mustard Greens

Garden Help > Vegetables

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Red and green mustards
Red and green mustards
Pest management: Mustard is in the cabbage family, and pests are similar across the family. This group is also known as cole crops or brassicas and includes broccoli, cabbage, and cauliflower.

The Basics

Mustard is a member of the cabbage family. Like the others, they grow best in the cool season. Mustard comes in a variety of beautiful colors (green, red, purple) and textures (smooth, ruffled, lacy) making it very ornamental as well.

When to plant: Transplant or direct seed Feb–Apr, Sept–Oct (maybe August). If seeding for transplants, allow 4 weeks for seedlings to be ready.

Harvest window

  • A rapid grower, mustard greens are ready to harvest at 45–50 days.
  • Younger leaves are more tender and are ready to eat at 4–5 inches long.
  • You can harvest the entire plant or individual leaves. If picking individual leaves, harvest the outer leaves to let the inner leaves continue to develop.

Care overview

  • Seeds will germinate at soil temperatures as low as 40º F.
  • Thin plants to 3–4" spacing (thinned plants are excellent for salads).
  • Plant every 2 weeks for successive harvesting.
  • Plants may bolt (send up a flower stalk) in response to increasing temperatures and day length.

More links

  • Mustard Greens, University of Illinois Extension, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences
  • Mustard Greens, Cornell University

Recommended Varieties for Santa Clara County*

Red Giant, OP Beautiful mustard, both ornamental and tasty. Harvest young leaves for salads or larger leaves to cook. Striking in a border. 8–24" tall. Plant 4–6" or 12–18" apart.
Ruby Streaks, OP Stunningly beautiful mustard, with feathery, ruby red leaves. Delicious in salads and stir-fries. A perfect ornamental edible. 6–12" tall. Plant 4–6" apart.
Spicy Green, Hybrid New variety from Japan developed for a tangy, hot flavor like wasabi. Pick small for mild, delicate flavor or large for robust, spicy flavor. 8–24" tall. Plant 4–6" or 12–18" apart.

Other recommended varieties: Florida Broadleaf, Mizuna, Southern Giant Curled

* Many other varieties may also do well here in Santa Clara County. This list is based on UC Master Gardener trials, taste tests, and feedback from local growers.

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