Growing Mustard Greens Hydroponically – Without Soil

Growing Mustard Greens Hydroponically

Are you thinking of growing mustard greens hydroponically or without soil? Mustard is a cool-season leaf crop and it is a hardy leaf vegetable with a rosette of large light or dark green curly leaves that grow to 3 feet tall. Plant leaves and leaf stalks are eaten and have a peppery flavor. The Mustard seeds can be ground and used as a condiment. Mustard greens are also referred to as Indian mustard, Chinese mustard, or leaf Mustard, and botanically referred to as Brassica juncea. It is a generic name that is applied to many different varieties, including white, green, and red color varieties.

Mustard greens are fast-growing and nutritious leafy greens. The Mustard is a leaf vegetable that has high economic value. If you want to start growing Mustard greens hydroponically, you just need a few basic supplies like trays, growing medium, lighting, nutrient solution, and seeds. To grow Mustard greens hydroponically on a commercial scale, you will want to maximize vertical space by using racks and automate the process using a reservoir and water pump.

Mustard greens have been consumed for over 5,000 years and in India, it is originated in the Himalayan regions. Now, India, Nepal, China, and Japan are the leading producers of Mustard greens, but a substantial amount is grown in the U.S. as well. Mustard green has many nutrients including protein, fat, carbohydrate, Calcium, Phosphor, Zink, Vitamin A, Vitamin B, and Vitamin C.

A Step-by-Step Guide to Growing Mustard Greens Hydroponically

Guide to Growing Mustard Greens Hydroponically
Guide to Growing Mustard Greens Hydroponically (Image credit: Pixabay)

Conditions Required for Growing Mustard Greens Hydroponically

Mustard greens are grown by using a hydroponic system surely will be much healthier because you can plant it on its while also ensuring the absence of pesticide use. Ahydroponics system is a method where you can grow plants without soil. Instead of soil, the roots grow in a nutrient-rich solution, giving the plants desired nutrients and oxygen.

Depending on the hydroponic system, the roots can either grow directly in the system, or the plants can be misted with the solution. Hydroponic gardening does require sunlight which can be provided through artificial light or natural light. This method is a great method to grow a more considerable amount of food in smaller locations, with fewer requirements to care for the plants produced.

Keep your Mustard greens growing at cooler temperature levels 15 to 21°C to help protect against pests or fungus. Although warmer temperatures can speed up the growing cycle, so find the ideal temperature that works best for you. Making sure Mustard greens are getting enough light is usually more important than temperature. Making sure your Mustard greens are getting enough light is usually more important than temperature. If plants are wilting, you’re likely under-watering. Growing Mustard greens hydroponically can be a fine balance between under-watering and overwatering that takes time to get right. If your plants are generally weak, you might not be keeping them in the dark long enough.

  • Planting – Germinate from seed
  • Water pH range – 5.5-6.5
  • EC/PPM – 1.2 to 2.4 / 600-1200
  • Light hours – 14-18
  • Temperature range – 10-23°C, Ideal – 18°C
  • Pests and diseases – Potential pests and diseases are minimal; cabbage loopers, flea beetles, cabbage worms, and club root
  • Harvesting – For the partial harvest, only take 30% of the plant at one time

Different Varieties for Growing Mustard Greens Hydroponically

Curled Leaf – Ford hook Fancy, Red Giant, Green Wave, and Southern Giant Curled.

Plain Leaf – Florida Broad Leaf, Tender green.

Oriental Mustard Cabbage-green stalks – Chinese Pac Choi, Choi Sum, and Dai Gai Choy.

Oriental Mustard Cabbage-white stalks – Bok Choi, Chinese Flat Cabbage, Green-In-Snow, and Joi-Choi.

Red Giant– Red Giant is a popular Mustard green variety. It is excellent in salads, and the thick leaves stand up to cooking. Matures in 40 days.

Scarlet Frills – This is a spicy plant variety that looks as good as it tastes. The plant leaves are deep red and serrated.

Green Wave – It is slower to bolt than other varieties. It has a hot, spicy flavor. It’s cold-resistant and matures in 50 days. It is high-yielding and can reach 2-feet in height.

Ruby Streaks – This has gorgeous purple, lacy leaves. They are pungent with a slightly sweet note that isn’t quite as powerful as other varieties. You can eat spicy flowers. This Mustard green is cold hardy and grows quickly baby leaves are ready in 20 days, and full-size leaves are ready in 45 days.

Southern Giant – This plant has a milder flavor than some others. It is cold-resistant and perfect for freezing. Young leaves mature in 50 days.

Purple wave – The plant is cold hardy and grows up to about 18-inches tall. As a microgreen, you can harvest in about 5 days. Young leaves are ready in 20 days, and mature leaves are good to go in 40 to 55 days.

Carolina Broadleaf – It’s tasty and can get large up to 2-feet tall. Matures in 42 days.

Mizuna – This has a subtle flavor. As good cooked as it is raw and it matures in 40-50 days.

Benefits of Growing Mustard Greens Hydroponically

  • The method is environmentally friendly.
  • The system does not require wider land.
  • Less water – You can re-use the water in your hydroponics, meaning they require about 20 times less water than growing in soil.
  • They can grow anywhere – A hydroponic setup can go indoors, a garage, or even inside of a shipping container. You can grow microgreens all year round.
  • More control – Growing Mustard greens hydroponically means you have complete control over how much of each kind of nutrient your plants are getting. You can adjust fertilizer balances for each Mustard green crop that you grow.
  • No composting, no mess – You don’t want to worry about tracking soil all through your house or accidentally spilling a tray of dirt on your carpet. Also, you don’t need a place to dispose of all your used soil, so hydroponics are great for growing for instance in apartments.
  • Mustard greens grow better hydroponically – Mustard greens will produce better yields than if they were grown in soil.
  • Hydroponic production increases 3 to 10 times in the same amount of space.
  • Many crops can be produced twice as fast in a well-managed hydroponic system.
  • The system is not very dependent on the season.

Planting Tips for Growing Mustard Greens Hydroponically

  • Firstly, prepare a bottle or pot that is a Mustard growth media.
  • Then, adding water that has been mixed with certain recommended nutrients.
  • Prepare pipes or Styrofoam. The tool is used to support the top of the pot (net pot) so that the plant does not touch directly with these nutrients.
  • Prepare husk ash, which is a planting medium. Then, the Mustard shoots will be planted and grown in the husk ash.
  • If you plant Mustard buds in the husk ash which is a new medium, then you should include a little old planting media.
  • Plant these shoots as deep as 2 cm.
  • These plants also need excessive sunlight.

Process of Growing Mustard Greens Hydroponically

Preparation of Equipment and Materials

Before entering the planting procedure, you must prepare the tools and materials needed first. Tools and materials that should be prepared include;

  • Green Mustard seeds
  • Rockwool
  • Tweezers
  • Water spray

After the tools and ingredients are prepared, soak the Mustard seeds for 12 to 24 hours in advance to break the dormancy period and speed up the germination process.

Light requirement for Growing Mustard Greens Hydroponically

T5 fluorescent lamps are usually preferred by Mustard greens growers, but regular T8 lights will work as well and are normally cheaper.

Planting Media Preparation for Growing Mustard Greens Hydroponically

For planting media, use rock wool with a size of about 1 x 1 cm and a thickness of about 2.5 cm. If the Rock wool is still in sheet form, cut it according to the size stated. Cut each rock wool surface that has been cut using a toothpick for planting seeds.

Planting Seeds for Growing Mustard Greens Hydroponically

  • It’s best to buy organic seeds that are bred specifically for growing Mustard greens. Then, make sure to avoid any seeds that have been treated with fungicides.
  • Spray the seeds that have been put into rock wool by using a sprayer to keep it moist.
  • Don’t forget to place the seedling container in a place that gets full sunlight to speed up the growth procedure.
Transfer of Plants to Hydroponics

After the Mustard seed grows about 3 leaves, the plant can be transferred to hydroponic media and given a hydroponic nutrient solution. Normally, Mustard seeds can be transferred to hydroponic media when they are around 7-10 days old. Separate plants from rock wool media based on slices that have been made before.

Tips to Sow Mustard Seeds

  • Before planting seeds in the growing media, the first Mustard seeds are sown on rock wool.
  • Rockwool is an excellent seedling media to sow seeds because it is clean, practical, and absorbs water well.
  • After the Rockwool is cut, wet with clean water, and then place it on a tray.
  • About 1-2 planting Mustard seeds for one of the rock wools and put the seed tray into a dark place.
  • Usually, seeds will grow within 24 to 48 hours.
  • Then, move to places that have sun, but still shade, for example, on the front porch or near the window.
  • Spray water in rock wool every morning and evening.

In case if you miss this: Growing Strawberries In Greenhouse.

Different Hydroponic Systems for Growing Mustard Greens

Seeds that have been removed can be planted using the hydroponic system. You can use the wick or NFT system for Mustard greens.

NFT System for Growing Mustard Greens
  • NFT hydroponic systems are best suited for, and most commonly used for growing smaller quick-growing plants. Some commercial growers also grow different types of greens using NFT systems. 
  • For NFT hydroponic system, insert the rock wool slice with the plant into the net pot that has been given the axis.
  • The nutrient solution allows the plants to get the required nutrients needed to produce.
  • Enter the pot into a series of hydroponics and then give a nutrient solution. For the initial plant growth stage, you can provide nutrition with an initial thickness of around 600 ppm.
  • After 5 days, increase the concentration of the nutrient solution to 800 ppm, and then increase it again to 1200 ppm. Keep the density of nutrients so they are always stable until the plants enter the harvest period.
Wick System for Growing Mustard Greens
  • Wick system design is simplistic. The plants are grown in a container and then supported by a growing medium. The roots stick out underneath.
  • One of the simple hydroponic technology wicks hydroponic systems. In a hydroponics system, the wick system is passive because there are no moving parts and utilizes the capillarity principle in such a way nutrient solution is directly absorbed by plants through the wick.
  • Each type of nutrient has a different composition and should be dissolved in water, so the concentration of fertilizer solution should be carefully calculated according to plant needs. The concentration of the nutrient solution needs to be known because all of the plant nutrients needs in hydroponic is fed from a given nutrient solution.
  • There is a nutrient solution beneath the plant, and a wick runs from the solution to the plant. Then, this gives the plants a constant supply of nutrient solution without it sitting directly in the solution.
  • In the axis system, you can plant green Mustard only use bottles. Then, cut a used bottle with a cutter or knife into two parts. Then, make a hole in the bottle cap to place the wick.
  • Insert the cloth into the prepared bottle hole. Fill the top of the bottle by using the husk charcoal media then transfer the cut rock wool to the media.
  • Then, fill the onion bottle with a hydroponic nutrient solution then pair it with the top of the bottle that has been attached to the wick and green Mustard plants.
  • Wick quality is important to drain water and nutrients from the nutrient solution basin into the planting medium. The size and type of the wick which has lower capillarity can inhibit the supply of nutrient solution. The planting medium used in hydroponics must be free from harmful substances, inert, having good water holding capacity, good drainage, and aeration.
Growing Mustard Greens by Using Bucket Hydroponics
  • Mustard is one of the most flavorful greens to grow in hydroponics. Young leaves have a mild flavor, but as the leaves get older they seem to develop a strong flavor.
  • Mustard plants started from seed. Then, seeds sowed in a 1.5-inch rock wool cube in a 2-inch net-pot and moistened with Seedling Blend, a dilute blend of fertilizers.
  • Plant germinated and then placed directly under a fluorescent light for 16 hours per day.
  • Thinned to 1 plant in net-pot and installed plant into a 3.5-gallon bucket using Jungle Juice Blend, a regular-strength fertilizer blend. Moved plant to indoor grows room, receiving 9 hours LED grow light per day.
  • Began harvesting lower Mustard green leaves for use in salads.
  • Added 1 gallon of fresh fluid and then leaves are now developing a spicy flavor. Also, the indoor grow room is very hot more than 26°C during the day, so the use of the LED grow light was discontinued. Then, the plant is now receiving 3 to 4 hours of direct sunlight per day.

Nutrients Requirement for Growing Hydroponic Mustard Greens

  • The success of the Mustard greens production in the wick hydroponic system is influenced by the composition of nutrient solution, size, and type of wick cloth, growing media, and substrates, Electrical Conductivity (EC) value, pH solution as well as the microclimate in the area.
  • The nutrient solution is an important factor for the growth and quality of hydroponic Mustard green plants.
  • Provide the right hydroponic nutrition is very important for plant growth. In addition to mixing with water under the planting medium, hydroponic nutrition can be given by spraying 1 to 2 times per day. This hydroponic nutrient can be formulated on its own or can be purchased at a farm shop.
  • Before planting, the Mustard is seedling at 53 cm x 28 cm of seed tray using rock wool growing medium. Before sowing, the Mustard seeds soaked in a Dithane M-45 solution to sterilize from pathogens. Once the seeds were sown in the seed tray, then watering was conducted using a hand sprayer and covered with a plastic sheet for 3 to 4 days to maintain moisture in the seed tray.
  • Though waiting for seedlings growth in nursery, a 40 cm x 30 cm of the square basin was prepared as net pot, flannel cloth, and Styrofoam sheets which cut based on the size of plant container surface and punched into the planting hole with a distance of about 15 cm x 15 cm. Then flannel cloth fitted in the bottom of net pot according to treatment wide, which is 1 cm, 2 cm, and 3 cm. The flannel cloth hanging down to the base of the net pot to drain the nutrient solution to the planting medium.
  • Applied Nutrition is synthetic with a composition of about 4% N-total, 4% K2O, 3.5% Ca, 0.13% Fe and 0.07% Mn. Then, the nutrients were dissolved in water at a ratio of about 1: 1. Once the nutrients are dissolved in water, then nutrient solution prepared at corresponding treatment 0.0 mL/L, 2.5 mL/L, 5.0 mL/L, and 7.5 mL/L of water and put in the planting container. The applied nutrient solution must be stirred daily so that the nutrients are not settled because the wick system hydroponics does not use an aerator to circulate the nutrient. The nutrient solution is replaced once a week, by removing the net residual nutrient solution inside the planting container, and then enters the new nutrient solution by the treatment.
  • In a hydroponic cultivation system, the appropriate provision of nutrient solution will produce optimal results for the growth and yield of Mustard.
  • Mustard requires sufficient and available nutrients for vegetative growth to generate maximum production. Nitrogen serves to increase vegetative growth, so that plant leaves become wider, greener, and more quality.

Care and Maintenance of Hydroponic Mustard Greens

Care and maintenance of the green Mustard plant are easy. To control pests and diseases, spray plants using natural insecticides.

Pests – The Mustard plant can be attacked by flea beetles and aphids. Then, wash these pests away with a blast of water.

Diseases – Mustard is susceptible to white rust. Remove leaves that have white rust. Water plants at the base of the stem keeping moisture off the plant leaves.

When and How to Harvest Mustard Greens in Hydroponics

Mustard planted with the hydroponic system can be planted when entering the age of 30 to 40 days. To harvest it, you can immediately pull the Mustard plant from rock wool slowly.

Pick individual plant leaves when they are young and tender, 3 to 4 inches long, or cut and use the entire plant. Then, complete the harvest before the weather grows hot; hot weather will cause leaves to become tough and strong flavored.


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