Mustard greens are great in a salad, stir-fry or stew. Here is what you need to know to grow and harvest mustard greens.
If the word "mustard" in this plant name gives you some pause before growing in Southern Calfornia, a) good, b) it's ok.
Mustard greens are closely related to other mustards, but not all mustards are invasive like the black mustard we have all over our hillsides.
Mustard greens are just a great, edible plant to use in salads, stews and stir-frys. Mustard greens add a nice, peppery flavor and are only slightly bitter.
Other names for Mustard greens are brown mustard, Chinese mustard, Indian mustard, leaf mustard, Oriental mustard and vegetable mustard. It originates in the Himalayas and has been cultivated for as much as 5,000 years.
As it's names suggest, mustard greens have been used in Chinese and Indian dishes for a very long time. 5,000 years ago it was used by the Indus tribes, which today would be people who lived on land claimed by India and Pakistan.
Growing and Harvesting
Mustard greens are a leafy vegetable. They are a great addition to your cool-season leafy crop, next to your lettuces. They do well with rich soil and plenty of sunlight.
They are relatively resistant to disease and pests.
You can start harvesting mustard greens once the plant has a few large leaves growing on it. You may harvest the whole plant, but in a home garden it is better to treat it as a "cut and come again" vegetable.
Just snip off the leaves you want to use as you need them and the plant will thank you by growing more. Younger leaves will be tender and less bitter. Older leaves may become unpalatable, so it is best to harvest often.