Question: I want to try to grow mustard greens this year. What are the different varieties of mustard plants? And, when should mustard greens be planted? -Beth F.
Answer: There are quite a few varieties of mustard available for cultivation. Varieties such as Mizuna and Tatsoi tend to be a little higher maintenance than the Southern Giant, Green Wave, Florida Broadleaf, or Old Fashioned. Mustard plants also come in a variety of different seed colors. Yellow mustard, which is called white mustard in Europe, is the most common variety used for seed and cover crops and is the mildest tasting mustard green plant on the market. Black and brown mustard varieties, which are often used in curries and middle eastern recipes are a bit tangier.
The different types of mustard vary in both appearance and use. Grown primarily in North America to produce the yellow mustard condiment. Brown and oriental mustards are grown to make spicier versions of the traditional yellow mustard condiment, such as dijons and other specialty mustards. A fourth type of mustard, commonly called carinata, or Ethiopian mustard is cultivated for use in the bioplastic and biofuel industries.
When should mustard greens be planted?
Mustard greens can be planted in spring for a spring and summer harvest or in fall for a fall and winter harvest. Gardeners in USDA Hardiness Zones 8 through 11 should skip the spring planting and grow their mustard greens in fall and winter to give the plant the climate and environment in which it flourishes best. For spring plantings, mustard green seeds should be sown four to six weeks before the last expected frost date. Fall and winter crops of mustard greens should be started six to eight weeks before the first frost of the fall season. If you aren’t sure of the anticipated frost dates in your area, you can read about how to find them out in our article How to Learn Your Last Frost Date or Freeze Date.