How to help your October plant grow big and strong.
Here's what's ahead:
Important information at a glance:
Germination temperature: 15-20°C
Germ depth: 1-2 cm
Germination time: 3–5 days
Row spacing: 15 cm
Plant spacing: 2–3 cm
Root depth: 15 cm
Sow outdoors: March to August
House sowing: August to March (in a cool place)
If possible, take a 3-year culture break from other cruciferous vegetables
We love autumn. The colours of the trees and leaves can be simply breathtaking. And as you will soon discover for yourself, Leaf Mustard "Rouge Metis" gives those trees a run for their money. But leaf mustard also brings vitamins and color to your salads in winter, spring and summer as well.
As its name, French for “red blend”, would indicate, leaf mustard’s red colour is most pronounced when the leaf mustard gets a lot of sun in cool temperatures. A fresh autumn or spring day makes it particularly radiant.
Preparing the bed:
Loosen the soil in your bed a little.
Make grooves at a distance of 15 cm. These should be about 1-2 cm deep.
You can also make grooves in your flower box.
Preparing the pot:
Use your fingers to make 1-2 cm deep holes in the loose soil.
The distance between the holes should be about 3 cm.
Whether you are sowing in a bed or a pot, tear your seed paper into pieces, each containing one seed.
Place the pieces 3 cm apart in the grooves or in the prepared holes and cover them with soil.
Remember to water well and keep the seeds moist.
Note: in most moderate climates, the leaf mustard will not do well outdoors between September and March, as the appropriate germination temperatures can no longer be reached. But this makes it a perfect windowsill plant, since you can sow it in a pot or box, and place it a slightly cooler place after it germinates.
To help your leaf mustard grow in the best possible conditions, try and find a place that is:
Sunny or partially shaded
Soil: rich in humus, loose and permeable
In winter: a bright windowsill in a cool room will do just fine, or in a greenhouse
Good neighbours: lettuce, leeks, onion
Bad neighbours: other cruciferous vegetables – more on this in a second
Prepare the bed with compost before sowing
Water regularly, whether growing in a pot or outdoors
Remove any dried out parts of the plant as it grows
While your leaf mustard only grows once a year and will no longer germinate outdoors in autumn and winter, you can still leave a leaf mustard sown in late summer in the open air in a bed or in a pot and then harvest it in autumn and winter - it will then keep at temperatures as low as -10°C.
Diseases and pests
Like all other mustard varieties, leaf mustard belongs to the cruciferous plant family. These include radishes, cabbage, broccoli and rocket. Members of this plant family can infect each other with diseases or pests.
For example, if you are growing leaf mustard as an intermediate crop and it is infected with cabbage hernia, this fungal disease can spread through the soil to major crops such as broccoli.
Keep a cultivation break of at least 3 years between cruciferous vegetables and do not plant them next to each other.
The earth flea particularly likes your leaf mustard. You can prevent this cabbage pest from completely perforating the leaves of your "Rouge Metis" with narrow-meshed protective nets.
Possible pests are for example: Cabbage fleas and downy powdery mildew
Keep a close eye on your plants and choose a new location next year in case of a severe pest infestation or a cabbage hernia disease.
After a few weeks you can either harvest the whole plant or cut off the outer leaves as needed.
Be careful not to damage the heart. This is the vegetation point of the plant where new leaves always grow.
Storage: when freshly harvested, the leaf mustard does not last long. If you need to store it, you can wrap it in a damp cloth and store it in the refrigerator, in which case it only stays crisp for a few days. It is better to harvest as needed and sow several times at intervals of 2 weeks.
In a wintery, fruity salad together with Asian salads like the Red Giant, tart winter salads or crunchy Swiss chard, the leaf mustard provides the necessary spice and above all: a great colour. A yoghurt-mustard dressing with a little orange juice or a fruity vinaigrette goes well with these. A side dish is baguette slices toasted in the pan and drizzled with a little olive oil. Especially in winter, this is a light change from heavy stews and gravies.
Leaf mustard is also perfect in a wok dish with rice. To preserve its aroma and valuable ingredients, you should only toss the leaves briefly in a little oil in a hot pan.
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