Can I grow mustard at home?
Yes! You can grow mustard easily in containers or your garden. Many people grow mustard greens; however, you can grow mustard as a spice just as easily. Growing mustard at home can be a great way to experiment with new flavors, make your own mustard, see the recipe below, or use fresh ground seeds in your recipes to add a kick.
Is it easy to grow mustard plants?
Mustard plants are growing like any greens. They love rich nutrient soil. You can grow mustard at home on a windowsill or a balcony. Any place that gets 6 or more hours of sun will do.
These plants do not like heat, so a cool place is best.
In this article, I focus on growing mustard in containers, but mustard has been used as a cover crop by farmers over centuries. Because it is easy to grow and high in nutrients, it grows fast, and if you are not careful, it will self-seed, and you will have a garden full the next year.
Do mustard seeds come from ordinary mustard plants?
There are three main varieties of mustard, white, brown, and black. You can plant any of these to grow plants for both greens and seeds. The white mustard seeds are the kind use to make typical American-style yellow mustard. Brown mustard seeds are used for more spicer things like Dijon mustard and sometimes refer to as Chinese mustard. And finally, the black seeds are very spicy and used in mainly Indian dishes.
The great news is that growing mustard at home means you can grow the kind you like best or experiment with new ones.
How do I get started growing mustard at home?
As always, you need to start with good soil. Mustard likes a rich soil full of organic material. The PH should stay above 6.0, and the soil needs to drain off excess water quickly.
These work well in containers but don’t crowd the plants. They will need about 5 inches of space around to grow well. Row planting or planting around the edge of a large container is good.
The root system is not too large, so planting a single plant in a 4′ pot or large is fine as long as the soil is rich.
Mustard plants can grow up to 3 ft tall, so you may have to add a support stake to help them stand tall.
Where to get mustard seeds?
Why not plant from seeds that you already have in your spice cabinet.
Using mustard seeds in your spice cabinet to grow more plants is an easy way to ensure that you are growing what you already love.
I love to try new flavors! If you are a home chef or just adventurous, try purchasing a variety pack of different mustard seeds from your supermarket or spice store. When you find a flavor, you like then plant some of the seeds.
You can then grow an endless supply of mustard at home for free!
How to grow mustard from your spice rack.
It is logical to start with the freshest seeds you have, but I don’t like to do it that way. I like to use up old stuff in a new way.
I start with the oldest seeds I have. The germination rate might be slightly lower; however, it is a great way to clean out the spice rack.
To Plant Seeds:
- Put a very wet but not dripping paper towel in the bottom of a plastic sandwich container.
- Sprinkle the seeds you want to use onto the paper towel, then cover with a second wet paper towel. Put the whole thing in a safe place. I put mine on top of the refrigerator.
- After about a week, you will seed the seeds that have sprouted.
- Take the plants that you want and place them into a pot with good soil.
Harvesting mustard seeds
About three weeks after you plant your seedlings, you will have greens that you can harvest. The greens are best when they are around 5″ or smaller. The biggest greens can be tougher and are best if cooked.
You can take a few greens but make sure that you leave enough that the plant will stay healthy and continue to grow.
Flowers will appear on your plant. They can be a pretty addition to your space. Don’t worry about any flowering. This is a sign that your seeds are almost ready. The flowers are a bonus of growing mustard at home!
You will see pods forming along the stems and under the flowers. These are the seeds! Allow the plant to start to die off. As the plant begins to brown, keep an eye on the seed pods. You want to pick the pods after they brown but before they open.
A single mustard plant will produce 20-40 seed pods. Depending on the variety, each pod will have 6 to 30 seeds. Remove the brown pods before they open. Place them on a screen or other open surface to dry for 2 weeks. Then open the pods and collect your seeds!
Warning, the seeds are tiny, so open the pods in a bowl or bag to capture all the seeds.
Mustard seeds do not have a spice smell when they are dry. They fully appreciate the spice small wet and crack the seeds.
Dry mustard seeds will keep for up to 3 years.
Growing mustard at home is a great way to try new flavors and grow your old favorites. Mustard works great in containers because it does not need much and will add some nice color to your indoor space.
If you have a favorite mustard recipe, I would love to hear from you. Please leave it in the commits or contact me directly.
Thank you for reading, liking, and commenting.
And if you want to grow herbs but don’t have great light read “What herbs grow without sunlight”