Florida Broadleaf Mustard
Seed Count: Approx. 300 seeds
Days to Maturity: 45 Days
Description: The Florida Broadleaf mustard is a fast growing, Southern favorite of gardeners, and chefs, for its great taste and productivity. Its large, rich green leaves, have tender, cream midribs that are mild in taste, and not too bitter. It's a very vigorous plant, growing to 16-22 inches wide, offering lots of nutritious greens for you to harvest and eat. Baby mustard greens can be harvested for salads and sandwiches, while larger greens can be brazed, sauteed, cooked in broth, or steamed. My mother-in-law absolutely loves this variety, not only for its taste, but because it cooks down faster than collard greens. The Florida Broadleaf mustard is very slow to bolt, and is well suited for hot climates, like Florida, as indicated by its name. Great for Spring and Fall sowings.
How To Grow
Sowing: For fall planting, plant the seeds in the late summer or early fall about 10 weeks before the first hard frost. Climates with warmer winters may be able to grow mustard from fall to spring. For a spring crop, direct sow the seed in full sun and rich soil about four weeks before the last expected spring frost, and lightly rake them into the soil. Keep the rows 10-12" apart. When the seedlings emerge, thin them to 5-6" apart. Seedlings emerge in 10-21 days depending on the soil and weather conditions.
Growing: Keep the plants moist and free from weeds. A thick layer of mulch will help conserve moisture, control weeds, and keep the greens free from dirt. Red Giant mustard is especially winter hardy and will be slow to bolt. Watch out for aphids, and remove them promptly, or they will take over your plant and destroy the leaves.
Harvesting: For baby greens, pick the leaves when they reach a height of 4-5 inches; baby greens are tender and flavorful, perfect for salads. The entire plant can be harvested at any point, or individual leaves can be taken for a continuous harvest. Mature leaves, which tend to be stronger in flavor, often taste best when cooked. Avoid using leaves that have begun to turn yellow, as these have passed their prime. Once cut, greens keep in the refrigerator for 3-4 days. They also freeze well when blanched. Mustard needs to overwinter before producing seed. In warmer locations, simply apply a thick layer of mulch and remove it in the early spring. In areas with very cold winters, dig up the plants and cut off half of the stem; store them at 32-40 degrees F until spring, when they can be replanted to go to seed.