Growing Mustard

Botanical Name: Brassica Juncea

Mustard is a leafy vegetable originating from Asia, often with striking burgundy leaves and a peppery taste. It’s a versatile addition to salads and stir-fries, rich in nutrients and antioxidants.

If you want to learn about growing mustard, let’s dive in.

  • Growing Mustard
  • Growing Mustard
Planting Guide Image

Mustard Planting Guide

Method

Sow direct

Sowing Depth

5 mm

Season

All Year

Germination

7 – 14 days @ 18 – 20 °C

Hardiness / Life Cycle

Hardy Annual

Row Spacing

50 cm

Plant Spacing

50 cm

Position

Part or Full Sun

Days Until Maturity

65 Days

Storage

In fridge crisper loosely wrapped in dry paper towel.

When to Plant Mustard in Australia

What growing
region am I in?
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Cool Plantable in Jan Plantable in Feb Plantable in Mar Plantable in Apr Plantable in May Plantable in Jun Plantable in Jul Plantable in Aug Plantable in Sep Plantable in Oct Plantable in Nov Plantable in Dec
Temperate Plantable in Jan Plantable in Feb Plantable in Mar Plantable in Apr Plantable in May Plantable in Jun Plantable in Jul Plantable in Aug Plantable in Sep Plantable in Oct Plantable in Nov Plantable in Dec
Sub-Tropical Plantable in Jan Plantable in Feb Plantable in Mar Plantable in Apr Plantable in May Plantable in Jun Plantable in Jul Plantable in Aug Plantable in Sep Plantable in Oct Plantable in Nov Plantable in Dec
Tropical Plantable in Jan Plantable in Feb Plantable in Mar Plantable in Apr Plantable in May Plantable in Jun Plantable in Jul Plantable in Aug Plantable in Sep Plantable in Oct Plantable in Nov Plantable in Dec
Arid Plantable in Jan Plantable in Feb Plantable in Mar Plantable in Apr Plantable in May Plantable in Jun Plantable in Jul Plantable in Aug Plantable in Sep Plantable in Oct Plantable in Nov Plantable in Dec
Cool Temperate Sub-Tropical Tropical Arid
Jan Plantable in Jan Plantable in Jan Plantable in Jan Plantable in Jan Plantable in Jan
Feb Plantable in Feb Plantable in Feb Plantable in Feb Plantable in Feb Plantable in Feb
Mar Plantable in Mar Plantable in Mar Plantable in Mar Plantable in Mar Plantable in Mar
Apr Plantable in Apr Plantable in Apr Plantable in Apr Plantable in Apr Plantable in Apr
May Plantable in May Plantable in May Plantable in May Plantable in May Plantable in May
Jun Plantable in Jun Plantable in Jun Plantable in Jun Plantable in Jun Plantable in Jun
Jul Plantable in Jul Plantable in Jul Plantable in Jul Plantable in Jul Plantable in Jul
Aug Plantable in Aug Plantable in Aug Plantable in Aug Plantable in Aug Plantable in Aug
Sep Plantable in Sep Plantable in Sep Plantable in Sep Plantable in Sep Plantable in Sep
Oct Plantable in Oct Plantable in Oct Plantable in Oct Plantable in Oct Plantable in Oct
Nov Plantable in Nov Plantable in Nov Plantable in Nov Plantable in Nov Plantable in Nov
Dec Plantable in Dec Plantable in Dec Plantable in Dec Plantable in Dec Plantable in Dec
What growing
region am I in?

Introduction

Mustard, a resilient and versatile plant, thrives in the diverse climates of Australian gardens. This comprehensive guide will lead you through the intricacies of growing mustard, covering everything from cultivating mustard greens to harvesting seeds. Whether you’re a novice or seasoned gardener, this guide ensures a successful mustard-growing experience in your Australian garden.

Growing Mustard from Seed

Optimal Sowing Time

Plan your mustard seeds in early spring or late summer, aligning with Australia’s mild climate. Ensure the soil temperature is above 10°C for successful germination.

Seed Depth and Spacing

Sow mustard seeds at a depth of 1-2 cm, spaced approximately 10-15 cm apart. This spacing allows adequate room for growth and proper air circulation.

Soil Quality and pH

Mustard plants thrive in well-draining soil with a slightly acidic to neutral pH (around 6.0-7.0). Enhance the soil with organic matter to provide essential nutrients for robust growth.

Caring for Mustard Plants

Sunlight Requirements for Growing Mustard

Position your mustard plants in an area that receives full sunlight. Mustard requires at least 6-8 hours of direct sunlight daily for optimal growth.

Watering Needs

Maintain consistent soil moisture by watering regularly. However, avoid waterlogging, which can lead to root rot. Adjust watering frequency based on weather conditions, ensuring the soil stays damp.

Fertilisation

Mustard plants benefit from a balanced fertiliser, especially during the early growth stages. Apply fertiliser sparingly to avoid excessive nitrogen levels, which may result in lush foliage at the expense of seed production.

Problems when Growing Mustard

Common Mustard Pests

Monitor for potential pests like aphids and caterpillars, common challenges for mustard plants. Implement natural solutions such as neem oil or insecticidal soap to maintain a pest-free garden.

Disease Prevention

Practice good garden hygiene to prevent fungal diseases. Ensure proper spacing between plants, promoting air circulation, and promptly remove any infected plants to prevent the spread of diseases.

Companion Planting

Practice companion planting to maximise the health and productivity of your garden. Mustard pairs well with tomatoes, cucumbers, and radishes, fostering a symbiotic relationship that deters pests and enhances overall garden vitality.

Encourage biodiversity by integrating a variety of companion plants. This creates a harmonious ecosystem, reducing the risk of pests and diseases while promoting healthy mustard seed production.

Harvesting Mustard

Harvesting mustard plants is a straightforward process, and the timing depends on your intended use – whether for mustard greens or seeds. Here’s a guide on how to harvest mustard plants:

Harvesting For Mustard Greens:

1. Leaf Harvesting:
– Begin harvesting mustard greens when the leaves are young and tender, typically around 4-6 weeks after planting.
– Use clean scissors or garden shears to cut the outer leaves, leaving the inner leaves to continue growing.
– Harvest regularly to encourage bushier growth.

2. Harvesting Full Plants:
– Alternatively, you can harvest the entire mustard plant by cutting it at the base when it reaches the desired size.
– This method is suitable if you prefer a one-time harvest or if the plants are intended for culinary use.

Harvesting For Mustard Seeds:

1. Seed Formation:
– Mustard seeds are ready for harvest when the pods turn brown and dry on the plant.
– Allow the seeds to mature fully, usually around 80-100 days after planting, depending on the variety.

2. Checking Seed Maturity:
– To check if the seeds are mature, crush a few pods. If the seeds inside are hard and dark in colour, they are ready for harvest.

3. Cutting and Bundling:
– Harvest the entire mustard plant by cutting it at the base.
– Bundle the plants together, tying them with twine or rubber bands.

4. Drying:
– Hang the bundles upside down in a dry, well-ventilated area.
– Allow the plants to dry completely, ensuring proper air circulation to prevent mould.

5. Threshing:
– Once the plants are fully dry, remove the seeds by threshing. This involves beating or rubbing the dried seed pods to release the seeds.

6. Cleaning:
– Separate the seeds from any remaining plant material using a sieve or by winnowing.
– Store the cleaned seeds in a cool, dry place in airtight containers.

Harvesting Tips:

– Harvest mustard greens in the morning for the best flavour and nutritional content.
– For seeds, monitor the pods closely, as harvesting too early may result in underdeveloped seeds.

By following these steps, you can enjoy a bountiful harvest of either mustard greens or seeds from your garden, adding a fresh and zesty touch to your culinary creations.

Conclusion

Cultivating mustard in your Australian garden is a fulfilling and rewarding experience, offering both culinary delights and health benefits. Following these guidelines, from seed selection to harvesting, ensures a successful mustard-growing venture. Elevate your gardening skills and savour the unique taste of freshly harvested mustard in your Australian dishes. Happy growing!