The Faith of The Humble Mustard Seed

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Jannie Vaught

Seeds for this gardener have very personal meanings. As a seed grower and a seed saver, I am constantly looking close at many varieties of seeds. And I have a great fondness for seeds that are very tiny. It seems that these tiny bundles of potential hold a big productive plant, producing large tubers or leaves. As a small child, I was given a gift from my Grandmother of a Mustard seed necklace. The seed was inside a round resin globe and had a gold chain. She read me the meaning that was on a paper in the box. The mustard seed is mentioned several times in the Bible, mostly in the parables. It symbolizes faith, God’s kingdom, Humble beginnings, or change. Mustard seed necklaces remind Christians of the power of faith.

A very small amount of faith, even as small as a grain mustard seed can move mountains.

That is what I remember every time I see the bright yellow flowers and tall stalks of fiends of wild mustard. And every time I prepare to plant my favorite fall to winter crop of the many varieties of mustard, I see the symbol of faith. Faith that it will grow into big beautiful plants for us to enjoy. Mustard is in the Brassica family. Grown now for its seeds and greens. For me, it is mixed into the ground cover which is broadcast and also planted in rows and in raised beds now in a greenhouse in a large bucket as a salad green or as a cooked green. This plant is almost indestructible and it does get a sweet taste after a light frost. You can plant these in early fall and have greens within a short amount of time. I grow 2 varieties here The Red giant and the MIzuna variety a smaller frilly leaves. And as of today, they are showing their resilience in frosty weather. They are large enough to pick a small mess and the color of the red variety is showing its brilliance.

To plant prepare your soil. they do mike a fine soil without too many clumps and they will grow in rows or in a patch sometimes mixed with other varieties. I make a row and draw a line down the middle. Not too deep. Then I mix the seed with some good quality potting mix or fine compost and sprinkle this mixture down the line. Then I pat it in so it will make a good soil contact and I also start with damp soil and damp mixture. Wet to Wet for good germination. Then in a few days, it will get a very soft sprinkle of water so as not to unseat the seeds. I have even done secession planting every 2 to 3 weeks and if it isn’t too cold they will often surprise me when we get a few sunny days. During the growing season, I will leave some to make seeds in the warming spring as they will send a flower stalk and make little pea looking pods full of mustard seeds.

Many people will make the mustard sauce by grinding the seeds and a variety of additions. I will ferment the seeds and then grind them for a very spicy addition to our food. Mustard and a little faith are what make winter gardening a success for me. Just have a little faith when you drop that seed into the ground you will be glad you did.

Growing Green With Jannie