This guide to growing mustard seed shows how to easily grow mustard in the home garden from germination to harvest. Mustard seed is a must have condiment for the home cook with a variety of uses.
Mustard is one of the most commonly used condiments and has a high oil and protein content.
Traditionally the seed was ground to a paste with horseradish and little cider vinegar. The paste was sold as small bars which the consumer added water to before using.
Today the whole seed is used in Asian stir fry’s, pickles such as this recipe for Bread and Butter Pickles or the mustard seed can be mixed with cider vinegar, beer, sugar and salt then blended to make a whole grain mustard which will keep for 6 months in the fridge. Try this recipe for Homemade Wholegrain Mustard.
Mustard leaves are also edible and are perfect in stir-fry’s or by simply steaming. The young tender leaves taste wonderful in a salad.
Growing Mustard Seed
Mustard plants are easy to germinate direct in their final position. Choose a location in full sun to part shade which is protected from strong winds. The plant will need to be tied to a tall stake as it grows.
The best time to plant mustard seed is in the spring in cooler regions and in the fall or autumn in warmer temperate areas. Mustard will tolerate light frosts.
Black and brown mustard seeds are usually hotter in flavor than the yellow seed. Prepared mustard usually contains a mixture of yellow and black seed however it can be made with yellow seed alone.
Mustard seed will keep for two years after harvest when stored in an airtight container in a cool, dark place.
Tools and Materials Needed
- Mustard Seeds – These Red Giant Mustard Seeds add spice to salads and are perfect for condiments. (Paid link)
- Aged Manure or Compost
- Twine or Garden Ties – These highly rated cut to measure Garden Ties are made from 65% recycled plastic and are gentle on plants. (Paid link)
- Airtight Jar or Bag and Label
How to grow mustard seed in the home garden.
- Prepare the Soil
First prepare the soil by adding aged manure or compost then dig in well. Make a row with the edge of the shovel or trowel. Rows will need to be 2 feet (60cm) apart.
- Plant the Mustard Seed
Sprinkle the seed along the row then gently back fill the soil. Mustard seed is planted ¼ inch (5mm) deep. Keep moist until seedlings emerge.
- Thin Seedlings and Mulch
Once germinated thin out the mustard seedlings so they are 14 inches (35cm) apart. Spread mulch around the plants to keep down weeds.
- Plant Care
Apply a half strength liquid fertilizer to seedlings then a full strength every two weeks. Water regularly especially during warm weather.
- Stake the Plant
Tall mustard plants will need to be tied to a stake to provide support especially when it becomes heavy with seed pods.
- Seed Pods Form
Seed pods will form after the plant flowers along the flower stems. Once the stems begin to dry they are ready to cut.
- Dry the Pods
The stems are either hung upside down under a covered area or simply leave in a wheelbarrow for a few weeks to completely dry.
- Harvesting the Seeds
The pods are ready to open when they crack open easily. Open the pods over a container to release the seeds. The seeds will be in both sides of the pod with a membrane through the middle. This can be a time consuming job but many hands make light work!
- Removing Chaff from the Seeds
To remove any leftover bits of pod in the seeds; gently blow over the seeds. The lighter pieces of dried pods will move to the edge of the container making them easier to remove. Alternatively, place a handful of the seed in a kitchen sieve then shake the seeds around. This will remove the smaller seeds and leftover pods will move to the edge of the sieve.
- Store and Label
Store in an airtight container labeled with the contents and the date harvested.
Mustard Pests And Diseases
Mustard can be susceptible to mildew so it is important that there is good air flow around the plant.
Aphids and caterpillars enjoy munching the young leaves. An organic vegetable dust will protect the young plants from caterpillars. White oil or this Homemade Aphid Spray is effective in killing aphids.
This highly rated Organic Vegetable and Flower Dust is great value and will protect your plants from a variety of pests including caterpillars. (Paid link)
Save some of the mustard seeds for planting the next season. The largest seeds will have the best germination rates.
It is best not to wash the seed until you are ready to use it.
The print or save this guide to growing mustard seed, the PDF version is below.
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