While the normal time to plant turnip and mustard greens is now, Joe Kemble, Alabama Extension vegetable specialist, advises farmers and homeowners to wait a few weeks so temperatures can cool off.
During a webinar on Aug. 19 that can be accessed on the Alabama Extension Commercial Horticulture Facebook page, Kemble said growers typically plant both greens in August through October, but high temperatures can impact stand establishment if planted too early.
“I will say with the temperatures where they are right now, I’m going to want to hold off probably until mid-September before I start actually sewing these. Unfortunately, one of the issues you run into with cole crops is there can be an inhibition of the seed to germinate well when the soil temperatures are very hot. When the soil temperatures are above 85 or so they can really affect your stand establishment,” Kemble said. “My tendency is to wait for things to cool off a little bit. It doesn’t mean you can’t do it but what normally happens is you just don’t get a very good stand compared to what you would normally get under cooler soil conditions.”
Kemble reminds growers that when they begin planting their fall crop, yields are better if planted in rows. The greens attract fewer disease issues and it produces a more uniform crop.
Top mustard green varieties include Florida Broadleaf, Green Way, Savannah, Southern Giant and Red Giant (red-leaf type). Top turnip greens include Alamo, All Top, Just Right, Purple Top White Globe, Seven Top, Shogoin, Southern Green, Top Star, Topper and Tokyo Cross.