Fall Mustard Greens
By Sallie Sharpe
Sallie Sharpe has owned Sal’s Ol’ Timey Feed & Seed for 8 years. (previously George’s Farm and Garden) She grew up on a small farm in Columbia, SC, where she still resides as 7th generation on the property. When not gardening, or working at the store, she enjoys showing her mule and working her border collie.
One of my favorite pieces of jewelry happens to be a necklace my mother gave me. It has a tiny little mustard seed encased in glass with this verse inscribed on the back, “Truly, I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.” The mustard seed is used in this verse because it is one of the tiniest garden seeds planted. To give you some understanding of how small the seed is, one ounce of mustard seed contains approximately 10,500 seeds. The tiny size of the seeds makes them a little tricky to plant.
To ensure a good crop of mustards, start by preparing your soil. Till up the soil and make sure it is weed free. Mustards like compressed soil, so after tilling you will need to gently compact the soil. If you have big, flat feet, you can just walk up and down the row. You can also place a small piece of plywood down and gently rock it back and forth- compressing the soil evenly.
After the soil is prepared, it is time to get down to planting your seed. Grab your Grandma’s old soup bowl and mix one cup of sand for every ounce of seed you want to plant. Broadcast with a hand spreader or throw the mixture out by hand. You will be broadcasting your seed in two foot wide bands in whatever length your row is. Throw a little dirt on top of the seeds - not too much though. Only one layer of dirt is needed. Then pat them down with your hand. They must be kept moist to germinate. Water them very gently.
When your plants get to be about eight weeks old, start thinning them a little. Thin a little at a time, that way you can pick out the weaker plants as you see fit. Mustards take about sixty days to mature- depending on the weather. They taste better after frost has hit them.
Mustard seeds have been planted since biblical times. It is such a little seed to have so much importance in the Bible. When you plant your seeds this fall, think about the bounty that comes from that little seed. Sometimes we feel insignificantly small and that we can’t possibly make a difference, but great things can come from the smallest of gestures. I wish you faith in the amount of a mustard seed.