You might have the joyful squeal that I let out a few weeks ago when I got my first seed catalog. Then, to my ultimate delight, there was not one, but three in the mail that day.

Now is the time to plan your garden. If you fail to plan, you plan to fail, you know.

As I’m planning for 2020, I’m excited to try some totally new things -- like growing mustard for greens and seeds.

I like mustard, but not a lot. I prefer ketchup to mustard on hot dogs, landjaegers, brats and corn dogs, for example. However, I love a challenge. Mustard will provide me with that this summer.

Most people grow mustard as a green. It’s a staple in spicy mesclun mixes. (For anyone not familiar with mesclun, Wikipedia defines it this way: Mesclun (French pronunciation: ​[mɛsˈklœ̃]) is a mix of assorted small young salad greens…”)

Like most greens, including lettuce, mustard is ready to eat when it’s ready to eat, then quickly bolts to seed. If you miss harvesting it on its best date, you’ve got a great chance of getting a whole new crop next spring because of the rapid slide to seeds. The plants are prolific in providing seeds.

The seeds grow in pods, similar to radishes. The radish pods are so tasty in salads, a variety was bred to go directly to seed without producing an underground radish. The breeders named them “Rattail Radishes.” When I took them to Farmers’ Market several years ago, one mother turned up her nose because of the name, but her young son convinced her to buy them. Once she got past the name, I know she was not disappointed.

I don’t yet know if the mustard pods, when young, will be tasty in salads. I can let you know.

In the first three seed catalogs, I counted 12 different kinds of mustard. I assume a combo of these seeds will make a good prepared mustard. Then again, you know what they say about assumptions….

It appears there is one kind of mustard seed used to make plain, mild yellow mustard. Others make Dijon mustard.

Dijon recipes I’ve found call for dry white wine, beer or water – whichever you have on hand. Some require horseradish.

I was thinking about buying horseradish roots to plant, until I remembered that we had that once, and we had to pour a cement slab over it to get rid of it. It was impossible to dig out! Fortunately, a friend struggles through the horseradish process each fall and has a little to spare. But don’t feel sorry for him – he has a party and they all burn their noses and eyes together and call it fun.

Before I go whole hog into growing mustard, and risk growing mustard everywhere because of the prolific nature of the plant, I’m going to purchase some seeds now, grind them up, make a quick batch and see if it’s worth it. Like I said, I like mustard, but not a lot.


If you are buying your seeds now and in the coming months, I urge you again to pay attention to varieties you plant. A good friend told me (bragged?) she had the best tomato crop ever from her containers.

I asked her what varieties she had grown, and she said she didn’t know.

I said as kindly as possible, “WHAT???”

If you don’t know what you grew this year that brought success, you can’t duplicate it next season. If you don’t know what you grew that you regretted, you can’t avoid it next season, either.

I learned the value of knowing what I’m growing the summer I planted all yellow tomatoes. I didn’t make any spaghetti sauce or chili that year.

Write the varieties down on your map. Don’t tell me you don’t make a map…..


As you’re taking your dog outside to take care of business at night, listen for the owls hooting in the distance. They are looking for mates this month, and the chorus can be quite entertaining.

And take heart – the days are getting longer – spring is coming!

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