Oriental Mustards


You can sow Mustard direct in the soil or in module trays for later transplanting.  I generally sow 5-6 seeds in each module in a module tray and plant out each little cluster of plants 3-4 weeks later.  The best results are from a small regular sowing every 3-4 weeks from February until September, but the late spring and summer sowings are often inclined to bolt.  It really comes in to its own in the autumn / winter.  I do a larger sowing in September to last through the winter and early spring.


As with most of the oriental greens family of veg, mustard is versatile and there are a few different ways to grow it.  

  • Grow it as single plants that are spaced 30cm apart and will grow up to 30cm tall with leaves harvested from it over a long period of time.  
  • Grow it as a ‘cut and come again’ crop - where multiple plants are sown about 10cm apart with the leaves harvested when young.  Typically mustard leaves grow more peppery as the leaves grow larger (often inedible!).

Winter outdoor sowings might need a fleece cover.  Water in very dry weather or if growing in a polytunnel or greenhouse.


At some times of the year you can harvest sparingly as early as 4 weeks after sowing, particularly when you are growing for ‘cut and come again’ small leaves.  As the name suggest with a ‘cut and come’ again crop you can cut it back with a scissors and expect multiple crops of delicious leaves.  You can either harvest individual leaves by hand-picking, or cut with a scissors down to about 5cm from the soil. 

Recommended Varieties

  • Osaka Purple
  • Giant Red
  • Green-in-the-Snow
  • Green Frills
  • Red Frills


It’s a brassica so in theory it should be included in your brassica rotation and can be prone to all diseases that brassicas get - in practice you don’t get many problems with it at all. Slugs do like a nibble on the leaves.

GIY Tips

  • The versatility of mustard is highlighted by the fact that the seeds of some mustard plants can be harvested to use as mustard seed or make mustard and oils, while other varieties are often used as ‘green manures’ - fertilising the soil as they grow.  Use the leaves to bring some colour and fire to salads (whole leaf when small, and chopped when larger), but also in quiches, soups and stir-fries.
  • Mustard leaves will grow happily in a container, but make it a decent size on or you will be disappointed with the results.