Bring Mustard to the Mix

Brassica juncea ‘Red Giant’ heirloom mustard

At The Red Door Family Garden, we grow produce for The Red Door Restaurant and Wine Bar and The Wellington Steak and Martini Lounge. With San Diego’s mild weather and year-round growing climate, it’s tempting to plant well-known vegetables back-to-back for 12 months. However, we try to rotate crops based on the season and anything new we want to add to our menu. In many ways, mustard is the perfect solution to the competing needs of our garden. Here are some growing tips and reasons why mustard may be perfect in your garden, too.

It is praised for its ornamental beauty and as a delicious source of food.

It grows rapidly, producing lots of plant material and controlling weeds.

It releases bio-toxic compounds that repel many types of bacteria, fungi and pests and is especially beneficial in rotation with tomatoes to ward off nematodes.

Its expansive roots loosen compacted soil. When tilled under, it adds nitrogen and organic matter to the soil.

Leave your mustard crop to flower for a few weeks and you will provide much-needed food and an attractive habitat for bees and other local pollinators.

Mustard comes in many varieties. At The Red Door Family Garden, we are most fond of the ornamental and edible, garlicky flavored leaves of heirloom ‘Red Giant,’ one of the most popular Asian mustard varieties.

Choose a sunny spot and plant seeds in groups of three, 1/4-inch deep, 4 to 6 inches apart in rich, well-drained soil. Water well. Harvest when the leaves are 2 to 3 inches tall for a delicate, slightly spicy and colorful addition to any salad mix. Then let it grow to full size and flower before turning it back into your soil. Your land, landscape and the bees will all benefit.


Trish Watlington
The Red Door Restaurant and Wine Bar
741 W. Washington St.
San Diego, CA 92103

Categories: Gardening