By Jennifer Poindexter
Do you enjoy eating mustard greens? They’re probably one of my favorite greens to cook, and they’re easy to grow, too! However, have you considered growing them faster as a microgreen? Mustard microgreens are one of the easiest ways to enjoy this crop.
If you’re unfamiliar with microgreens or the process of growing this particular microgreen, you’re in the right spot. I’ll walk you through what you should know about growing this crop and why you might want to consider it.
Here’s how you can grow mustard microgreens right inside your home:
What Is a Microgreen?
A microgreen is a smaller version of a plant. They’re typically harvested within seven to ten days of planting when the first true leaves begin to form.
Many people enjoy microgreens because they pack a delicious flavor and also carry more vitamins and nutrients than their full grown counterparts.
If you’re looking for ways to enjoy mustard microgreens, they’re great when added to a salad, in the place of lettuce on a sandwich, or even used in the place of herbs for different recipes.
Now that you know what a microgreen is and some of the uses for mustard microgreens, let’s discuss the benefits of this plant.
Benefits of Mustard Microgreens
If you’re looking to add more nutritious food to your diet, start with microgreens. Mustard microgreens are known for containing quite a few vitamins and nutrients that are beneficial to our bodies.
This crop is thought to contain Vitamin A, biotin, copper, and manganese. This helps our bodies process food, helps with nerve and brain function, supports energy levels, and boosts our immune systems.
If you have or run the risk of developing osteoporosis, eating this microgreen may be able to help as it also helps our bodies absorb calcium.
Sometimes knowing how a food serves us is helpful in consuming more of it. If you need a few reasons to try mustard microgreens, hopefully these benefits will encourage you.
Growing Mediums for Mustard Microgreens
When growing microgreens, it’s common to hear the debate between soilless growing mediums and growing microgreens in soil.
In general, choosing to grow microgreens in soil is preferred because of the price and easy access to soil. It’s also thought to produce higher yields of microgreens.
The downside to growing microgreens in soil is you must water your seeds throughout the growing process to ensure the growing medium never fully dries out.
Plus, you must stay alert to potential diseases that have a higher risk of developing due to soil being a common breeding ground.
The argument for using soilless growing mediums is that you reduce the risk of developing diseases, and you don’t typically need to water your seeds during the growing process as this type of medium retains water well.
However, soilless growing mediums can be a little more expensive and aren’t always readily available in comparison to soil.
These are a few things to consider as we walk through the growing process of mustard microgreens.
How to Grow Mustard Microgreens
Now that you understand what a microgreen is, why people love them so much, a few benefits of mustard microgreens, and the arguments for different growing mediums for these plants, it’s time to dive into the growing process.
Here’s how you can grow mustard microgreens:
1. Soak the Mustard Seeds
When growing mustard microgreens, it begins with soaking the seeds. Purchase mustard seeds and soak them in lukewarm water for a minimum of six hours.
I typically do it one of two ways. I place my seeds in a cup or bowl and cover them with lukewarm water. The seeds should be covered but some of the seeds may float. This is okay.
The first way I ensure the seeds are soaked for the appropriate amount of time is I soak them right before bed.
Then when I get up the next morning, I’m ready to carry on with the process. Another time I choose to soak my seeds is at the start of my day.
I have a morning routine where I take care of other plants as well. When I’m watering everything, I’ll go ahead and soak my seeds.
Then I allow the seeds to soak all day. When it’s almost dinner time, I’ll finish the process of starting my microgreens.
By planning out when to soak my seeds based around my daily schedule, it ensures that they’re given the appropriate amount of time to soak without me forgetting about them or rushing the soaking process.
2. Position Your Growing Mats
The next step in this process is to place your growing mats inside a tray. If you purchase a kit, they frequently come with a tray specifically for your mats.
If you’d prefer to use what you have around your home, consider placing the growing mats inside a casserole dish.
From there, pour two and a half cups of room temperature water over the mats. Press them into the water to ensure they absorb it while also molding to the pan.
It’s important that the mats absorb the water. If they do, you shouldn’t need to water the seeds throughout the entire growing process. It creates a self-watering system which is low-maintenance and should help your crops thrive.
3. Pour the Seeds and Wait
When the mats have been thoroughly soaked, it’s time to add the seeds. I don’t drain the water the seeds were soaking in.
Instead, I pour the entire thing over a mat. Once the seeds are on the mat, I gently maneuver them to spread them out evenly over the growing area.
From there, I cover the seeds. Again, if you purchase a kit, it may come with a wooden or dark cover to block the light from reaching the seeds.
If you’re using what you have on hand, you could place a sheet pan over the container or even a dish towel.
Then place the seeds where they are out of the way. They need a space where they can germinate without light reaching them. I leave mine on the top of my refrigerator for approximately three days.
4. Provide Light
Once the three days have passed, it’s time to remove the cover. It’s a good idea to place the seeds in a location where they’ll receive indirect lighting.
This can be natural light or from a grow light. The main thing is to ensure the light isn’t too powerful. Depending upon your circumstances, this could mean placing the seeds in front of your kitchen window in a way that the light hits the plants indirectly.
In other cases, it may mean placing the plants on a shelf and hanging a grow light high above them to ensure it isn’t too much for the tiny greens.
You should see the plants take off if they receive the appropriate type of light during this stage of their growing cycle.
5. Harvest Your Mustard Microgreens
Mustard microgreens are fast growers. Therefore, they may be ready to harvest in as little as five days. In some cases, the plants could take up to two weeks.
It truly depends upon what type of conditions you may be able to provide them. When the plants have their first set of true leaves, it’s time to harvest.
You do this by using sharp scissors to cut the plants away from the growing mat. Once harvested, place the microgreens inside of a damp paper towel.
From there, place them inside an airtight bag or container. Store the container in your refrigerator and use the microgreens within a week.
Be sure to compost your growing mat as there’s a good chance disease may form if you reuse the mat for another growing session.
You now know how to grow mustard microgreens. Use this information to help you decide upon the best growing method for the resources you have available to you.
Once you have a method in place, start the growing journey. Microgreens are low-maintenance plants which provide a ton of benefits and are worth the small investment of time and energy they require.