Not Cutting the Mustard

Ok. So you know the post a month or so back with me happily proclaiming the rise of my flourishing mustard green plant? Well, in the spirit of sharing knowledge to help those who come after, here’s another update.

The greens started strong. I harvested once, leaving plenty of leaves to feed the plant but shortly thereafter the plant bolted, sending a stalk up with flowers on it, and didn’t continue to grow. Honestly, i thought I was a failure at growing greens.

My sad mustard greens with happy nasturtium surrounding them.
My sad mustard greens with happy nasturtium surrounding them.

I’ve since learned that bolting is hastened by too much heat; my pot is in the hottest area of the yard. The plant is best grown in a cool area. Apparently there are kinds that are more heat tolerant but like all other mustard greens those have relatively brief growing periods requiring frequent resowing.

Unlike lettuce, whose leaves become bitter, mustard greens can still be eaten after the plant has bolted. However, most of what I’ve read is to harvest early then sow again. The plant sometimes lasts as long as eight weeks but if the goal is to reap year round it’s best to sow every two or three weeks.

Since my plant has already bolted, I think I’ll follow its life course and allow it to continue to form flowers which should fall off revealing little pods with seeds inside. The pods will be ready to harvest when they turn light brown. When it does, the plan is to remove the whole plant and hang it upside down to dry; the pods should open when dry, in about two weeks.

If you’ve seen mustard seeds they’re tiny. Luckily, shaking the plant in the bag should release the seeds, which are best kept in tightly covered jars.

I’ve gone from being bummed to excited in my greens growing project.

Could this be my next adventure?
Could this be my next adventure?

Will keep ya’ll updated!

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