Mustard and Turnip greens – Easy to grow

Turnips and mustards, members of the cabbage family, cool season crops that must be grown in the cool temperatures of early spring and fall.

Mustard is grown only for it’s leaves. Turnip is a dual purpose crop the leaves are used for greens, and the root is cooked similar to potatoes and beets.
When cooked properly, mustard and turnip greens are high in minerals and vitamins A and C.

Turnips can be used either for greens or for roots.
A variety developed for root production can be harvested for greens.
However, a variety developed for greens will not produce a good root.
Mustard varieties can be broadleaved or curled. Broadleaved mustard has a wide, flat leaf. Curled leaf mustard produces narrow, wrinkled leaves like those of spinach. Curled mustard will stand colder temperatures and can be grown later into the winter than can broadleaved mustard.

Mustard and turnips like a full sun location. For best production, they also need well drained soil.

Hint Mustard works well as a border to a flower bed or sidewalk. Both the broadleaf and curled leaf varieties are attractive and add green to a flower bed.
Mustard and turnip greens are also easily grown in window boxes and containers on an apartment balcony or patio.

Mustard and turnip seeds will sprout if the soil temperature is 40 degrees F or higher.
For a fall crop, start planting 8 to 10 weeks before the first expected frost. Sprinkle the row regularly with water to prevent soil crusting until the small plants break through. Under good conditions, most of the plants should be up in 3 to 7 days.
For a continuous supply of fresh, tender mustard and turnip greens, make two or three plantings 10 days apart.

Turnips and mustards need adequate nitrogen to develop a dark green color. At planting scatter 2 to 3 pounds of complete garden fertilizer such as NPK 15-5-10 over each 100 square feet. If only one row is to be planted, use 1 cup of fertilizer for each 10 feet of row.

Spring planted mustard and turnip greens are good until the weather gets hot. Too much heat causes them to be tough and strong flavored. Harvest mustard greens when they are young and tender. Cut the large outer leaves and leave the inner leaves to continue growing.

Turnip varieties produce greens in 40 days.
Turnip roots generally take 50 to 60 days to produce. Harvest turnip greens by pulling the entire plant when the leaves are 4 to 6 inches long. Turnip roots can be harvested when they are 2 inches in diameter. If left longer they will get tough and stringy.

Tip Cook greens in 1 tbs olive oil and 1 tbs butter. (Optionally add 1 whole clove peeled garlic.) Use only the water that remains on the leaves after washing. Cook greens in a pan with a tight fitting lid until they are tender. (Do not overcook them.)

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3 responses to “Mustard and Turnip greens – Easy to grow

  1. Steamed mustard greens with a bit of butter and some balsamic vinegar. YUM!!!

    Like

  2. It’s been a while since I tried to grow turnips. I never thought to eat the greens so, maybe it’s time to give them another go!

    Like

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