The Microbial Matrix

By Ron
on January 27, 2020

The Microbial Matrix

  The “Plant / Soil / Biological Matrix” is the foundation of all dynamic and sustainable eco-systems. Healthy soil is supported by a vast world of microbes: bacteria, viruses, and fungi that live in or around the plant system. Microbes support plant health by increasing the availability of nutrients. Microbes also enhance plant root growth and neutralize toxic compounds in the soil, making plants more resistant to disease, heat-flooding, and drought. Additionally, microbes deter pathogens and predators that could be harmful to plant establishment and longevity.


All members of the animal kingdom, including humans, require billions of microbes within their stomachs to help process foods, protect them from disease, and maintain a healthy biological and metabolic balance. Plants don't have stomachs; however, they do have roots, and many of the symbiotic functions that occur in stomachs are replicated on or near the roots of most plants. Exudates are released into the rhizosphere (the area of soil dominated by a plant's root system) which becomes both an environment and food source for a wide range of microbes that form a symbiotic relationship with the host plants.

The Power of Biological Microbes


    The symbiotic association known as mycorrhizae has been around for over 450 million years, becoming a fundamental support system that enables most plants to survive and thrive in a terrestrial setting. Mycorrhizal fungi make up over 90% of the living microbial biomass that is present in most soils.  The picture to the right provided detailed mycorrhizal hyphae connecting the fine root hairs to vast regions of the soil, where the hyphae transport carbohydrates to other beneficial microbes, particularly plant growth-promoting rhizobacteria (PGPR). The mycorrhiza fungus obtains the carbohydrates that it requires from the roots, and in return provides plant nutrients including nitrogen and moisture through the hyphal network. 

Mycorrhizal Hyphae extend through the entire rhizosphere, the area from which plants can access both moisture and nutrients. A gram of soil may contain around 100 meters of hyphae. The microscopic size of these filaments allows them to penetrate pores and cavities in the soil that much larger roots are unable to access.  While some plant nutrients such as nitrogen are soluble and move freely through the soil, others such as phosphorus remain locked in the soil and must be mined by microbes on behalf of the host plant. Mycorrhizal fungi release phosphates, and enzymes that can unlock phosphorus and send it back to the plant. 


Helpful mycorrhizal associations are found in over 90 percent of the plants on earth, in many crops including trees, especially in forest and woodlands all the way to agricultural, landscaping and garden plants. Here the mycorrhizae create a fine underground mesh that extends greatly beyond the limits of the tree's roots, greatly increasing their feeding range and actually causing neighboring trees to become physically interconnected.          


Communities of plant growth-promoting rhizobacteria, or PGPRs, congregate along mycorrhizal hyphae where they can transfer elemental nutrients for use by plants in exchange for a food source. A wide range of these PGPRs, including  Azos, are responsible for the supply of 11 of the 14 nutrients required before plants. Ranging from Nitrogen to Phosphorus and Potassium all the way to Copper, Iron, and Zinc. The dynamic interaction between mycorrhizal fungi, plant growth-promoting Rhizobacteria, and their host plants comprise the central components of the “Microbial Matrix.”

Benefits from Biological Inoculation


Glomalin, known as Soil Super Glue, was identified by the USDA / NRCS in 1995. Glomalin is a polysaccharide that is released through mycorrhizal hyphae into the soil. Its primary function appears to be a means by which the soil structure can be modified to enhance the soil texture and stability so a better physical environment is created for aerobic bacteria and fungi. Beneficial microbes that provide nutrients, moisture, and protection to plants prefer an environment with an abundance of air, while pathogens tend to function better in anaerobic environments such as compacted soils. Glomalin also binds coarse sandy soils, reducing the effects of eroding winds and/or water.


Increased access to moisture and nutrients is a direct function of the root surface area, which is multiplied by the addition of mycorrhizal hyphae. Plants colonized with mycorrhizal fungi produce significantly larger root mass and are therefore more capable of handling stress from drought, pathogen attacks, and other forms of environmental stress. Mycorrhizal plants have access to more volume, and therefore more moisture compared to plants that are not colonized by mycorrhizal fungi.    


A tablespoon of soil from a healthy ecosystem contains billions of beneficial microbes and enough mycorrhizal hyphae to stretch the length of a football field. 

A soil without biology is not complete if all the factors that combine to create a self-sustaining ecosystem. With a symbiotic relationship that dates back 450 million years, mycorrhizal associations have evolved into a critical component of successful restoration projects across several continents. 

What are Mycorrhizal Propagules?

By Ron
on January 27, 2020

What are mycorrhizal propagules? Propagules are an average count of colony forming spores, hyphae and root fragments per gram. Spores act as a mycorrhizal seed that will geminate in the presence of a host plant. Hyphae is the fungal body that acts as a cutting, being able to quickly colonize a root system.

Why are root fragments considered a part of the propagule count? Endo mycorrhizae, also known as Arbuscular Mycorrhizal Fungi (AMF), form a symbiotic relationship within the root cell. Ecto mycorrhizae also form symbiosis but are not arbuscular, they tend around the outside of root cells. Endo mycorrhizae are able to produce spores and hyphae within roots, all viable sources of mycorrhizae that can colonize a root system upon application. What type of mycorrhizae is right for my garden? Propagules are the most up to date form of mycorrhizal accounting.

Be aware of the figures shown when you are buying mycorrhizal inoculants. Not all mycorrhiza is created equal! Ecto mycorrhizae only tend to associate with conifers, oaks and other forestry trees. They will also pull nutrients from rich areas to feed hungrier trees and shrubs. To make sure your garden plants are getting their nutrients, inoculate with Endo for best results! Endo mycorrhizae forms a symbiotic relationship with over 95% of plant species. That includes your most popular types of plants like tomatoes, peppers, fruit trees, herbs, flowers, leafy greens, cannabis, hemp, native plants, grass and ground covers, and many other types of wonderful plants. It is honestly easier to name off the 5% it does not associate with!

There is a family of plants that are completely not mycorrhizal and that is the Brassicas. That includes but not limited to Beet, Broccoli, Brussels, Sprouts, Cabbage, Cauliflower, and Kale. There is something about these plants that do not need the help from mycorrhiza so do not bother trying to inoculate your Kale! Blueberries are some of a small few of plant varieties that are mycorrhizal but only associate with a very specific species of mycorrhizal fungi. That species is known as Ericoid mycorrhiza. Cranberry, Huckleberry, and Lingonberry are also a few of the plants that only associate with Ericoid. Please feel free to contact us if you have any questions about mycorrhizae and if you want to find out a more detailed list of mycorrhizal plants.

Phosphite- A Nimble Compound with a Powerful Punch

By Ronald Wallace
on April 05, 2016

Wallace Organic Wonder is proud to have Keith Giertych from Growth Products as this week's guest blogger!

Hi, it's Keith Giertych from Growth Products.

Everyone knows about phosphate – the ever-important ‘P’ in N-P-K fertilizers. But fewer people know about phosphite or understand what a powerful effect it has on trees, turf, and crops. Phosphite improves plant color, stimulates bloom, increases root mass, and significantly bolsters plant health. Let’s take a look at how it works.

Symplastic Ambimobility – Who Knew?

With one less oxygen molecule than phosphate, phosphite is highly soluble in water and is easily absorbed by a plant’s leaves, branches and roots. Since it is “lighter” than phosphate, it is also more nimble, and once inside a plant it moves very quickly. In fact, phosphite is uniquely able to both move up a plant’s xylem and down its phloem, giving it the rare quality of symplastic ambimobility.



Phosphite not only moves quickly through a plant, it acts very quickly, too. One of phosphite’s many benefits is increasing the production of chlorophyll in plants. In some cases turf begins to green up within 24 hours after a phosphite spray, even when the turf is in shade. This is possible because phosphite plays a key role in the Calvin cycle – the part of the photosynthesis process which occurs in the absence of sunlight.

The increase in chlorophyll that occurs during the Calvin cycle contributes to what is perhaps the most fascinating aspect of phosphite: its ability to strengthen a plant’s cell walls. Stronger cell walls make a plant – whether it be a blade of burmudagrass, a blueberry shrub, or the tallest oak – stronger, tougher, more resilient, and better able to resist environmental stress.

There are also additional avenues through which phosphite bolsters stress reduction. Phosphite triggers a plant’s natural defense mechanisms through Systemic Acquired Resistance (SAR) and it signals plants to secrete stress-fighting enzymes. It also stimulates metabolic pathways that are involved in the producing phytoalexins. Phytoaxelins are akin to white blood cells in humans, in that they rush to a wound to stave off infection. When a plant encounters a pathogenic infection, antimicrobial phytoalexins take on a warrior role.


With phosphite, a plants natural defense mechanisms are heightened so that diseases are more easily repelled. Phosphite encourages the nucleus of a plant cell to produce defensive molecules such as phytoalexin, which attacks the disease directly. The production of polysaccharides strengthens the cell wall adding additional protection. The cells also send “alarm signals” to other cells that have not yet been attacked.


Putting The Power of Phosphite To Work

The chemistry associated with phosphite is complex, but Growth Products’ TKO Phosphite 0-29-26 makes capturing the power of phosphite easy. A clear liquid, TKO Phosphite™ is easy to apply as a foliar spray or soil drench. It has a neutral pH and low salt index, so it can be used with confidence on all plants without fear of burn or crop loss.


Potatoes grown in Egypt with the help of TKO Phosphite.


With TKO Phosphite, a little goes a long way. And by using phosphite you can reduce your reliance on granular phosphates, and thus eliminate concerns about groundwater or lake-water contamination.

I would be glad to talk with you to discuss the ways in which phosphite can make amazing changes in plant growth and health. Just give Growth Products a call at (800) 648-7626 and ask to speak to me or another Growth Products technical specialist. We’re here to help!

All the best,

Keith Signature

Liebig's Law and Maximizing Garden Potential, by: Joe Ailts

By Ronald Wallace
on March 10, 2016

Wallace Organic Wonder is proud to announce our guest blogger for this week is Joe Ailts. His Bio and Blog are below. Enjoy!

Ron Wallace, Wallace Organic Wonder



Joe Ailts lives in Western Wisconsin and has been a competitive pumpkin enthusiast for 16 years. A scientist by training, he earned a bachelor’s degree in biotechnology, a master’s degree in clinical nutrition, and a master’s level professional certificate in crop production & soil fertility. He co-founded and currently manages the St. Croix Grower’s Association as well as Stillwater Harvesfest, home of the #1 giant pumpkin weighoff site in the world in 2015. 



Liebig's Law and Maximizing Garden Potential
To date, scientists have discovered that all plants need 17 different nutrients for life. Let's review these quickly: You've got Carbon (C), Hydrogen (H), and Oxygen (O) that make up the vast majority of all plant material and because they are derived from CO2 and water, are rarely limited in plant systems.  The remaining 14 nutrients are found in the soil and are broken into two categories: macro nutrients and micro nutrients. 
Macro nutrients are those that the plant uses in relative abundance.  The most commonly recognized macros are Nitrogen (N), Phosphorus (P), and Potassium (K). The secondary (but no less important) macro nutrients include Calcium (Ca), Magnesium (Mg), and Sulfur (S).  
The remainder of plant nutrients are classified as micro nutrients, due to the fact that the plant needs only very small amounts to satisfy its needs.  These include Iron (Fe), Manganese (Mn), Zinc (Zn), Copper (Cu), Nickel (Ni), Chlorine (Cl), Boron (B), and Molybdenum (Mo).
So there's the line up.  Take away any one of these 17 players and there wouldn't be plant growth.  All are absolutely essential for life.  It would be awfully rare to find a soil that is 100% devoid of a specific nutrient, but many soils can show deficiencies in one or more of these.  And those deficiencies have a definite impact on garden productivity. 
The concept of a single nutrient limiting the potential for growth is called "Liebig's Law of the Minimums".  And it is best described using the metaphor of a barrel with slats of varying heights, each representing a nutrient.  The lowest height slat represents the maximum amount of water that the barrel can hold (see graphic below).  The water level is kind of like your top yield or productivity potential.  If sulfur is your limiting nutrient (the shortest slat in the barrel), then regardless of all the other levels of nutrients in your soil, your productivity is capped due to the low sulfur.  The idea then is to identify which nutrients are the "short slats" in your garden. 
Soil testing, combined with in-season tissue testing, is the ONLY way to get an accurate read on your barrel's status. Once imbalances are identified, organic fertilizers and the use of mycorhizzae, products available here at Wallace Organic Wonder,  can significantly help restore balance in the soil.   In summary, if maximizing garden potential is part of your goal this summer, then make sure your potential isn't limited by a single member of 17 plant nutrients. Perform the analyses and hone in on whatever is holding you back! 
Liebig's Law of the Minimums barrel analogy. Source: Wikipedia


Growing Organic Tomatoes with Russell Landry!

By Ronald Wallace
on March 03, 2016

Wallace Organic Wonder is proud to announce our guest blogger for this week is Russ Landry.  Russ is a respected member of the Giant Vegetable community. His Bio and Blog are below. Enjoy!

Ron Wallace, Wallace Organic Wonder
Russell Landry, is a Hall of Fame member and former Vice-President
of the Great Pumpkin Commonwealth and its many competitive weigh
off sites held worldwide. He is also past president of the Giant Vegetable
Growers of Ontario ( and is former editor of Over the Top.
Russ is a contributing writer to Maximum Yield (USA) and is often
knows as Rocco Brewer.



Mater matters > one of the things I like to do best is to grow my maters in virgin soil with organic fertilizer. They don't need a lot of soil so a good fresh mix of peat with potting soil and organic fertilizer is money well spent. Not sure if you can find Pro-Mix in your area. IMHO it is simply the best organic fertilizer and soil type mix available.
Treating the new soil with Azos and Wallace Organic Wonder, Mycorrhizal Inoculant is of course a must as well. I also like amino acid blends of fertilizers like Essential mixed with phosphites and fulvic acids as they are proven to distribute micro nutrients into the plant. The micro I'm talking most about is calcium of course. 
So why virgin soil and organic fertilizer? Well there are a few compelling reasons.The first being drainage and compaction of soil and disease reduction. New soil comes free of all these pitfalls.
The second is Nematodes and disease. These are certainly the two most unseen and hidden hindrance's for a tomato grower. In parent soils Nematodes are rampant root scavengers. They will suck juice from roots and vector in so much opportunity for disease its literally incredible. The problem is most growers never talk about these unseen critters. Lastly Organic Fertilizer is natural way of provided fast available nutrients to the mixture.
Another thing I like to do is grow in large pots. 5 to 10 gallon pots work wonderful as long as they drain well. I have found that Air pots placed within a bigger, larger pot are an even better option. They certainly breath and drain easier. The outer shell of the larger pot also keeps nematodes and other soil disease problems at bay. Preventing them from encroaching into the virgin soil is paramount to a happy and healthy Rhizosphere.  
The between layer can be made of a soilless mix and organic fertilizer as this will further help in reducing disease and pest migration into the root zone.
I bury the whole two pot assembly into the gardens parent soil chiefly to protect against drying. If your like me it is often hard to ensure consistent moisture. Burying helps to reduce soil desiccation somewhat.
So for very little money a grower could easily have dozen or so plants that would remain healthy and vibrant producing Mega Blooms all season long. 


Ron Wallace "Could Change The Way The World Grows Vegetables"

By Ronald Wallace
on October 26, 2015

Could giant pumpkins carry the secret to better crop yields?

Ron Wallace is world-renowned for his giant pumpkins, but he may soon be famous for increasing yields for a variety of crops.


Ron Wallace is known for breaking records. In 2012, he was recognized for growing the first pumpkin to top 2,000 pounds. This year, his 2,230-pumpkin set a new record, the largest ever grown in North America. Soon, however, he may become famous for pioneering techniques to get the largest yield from crops.

"I really feel that giant pumpkin growers are shaping how the world grows produce," Mr. Wallace told the Associated Press. "We are doing a lot for farming."

Some people already agree with Wallace. Medical marijuana growers, who are interested in maximizing the size of their yields, have already approached them and begun developing methods and techniques that they believe would be applicable to a broad spectrum of crops.

With the global population on track to reach 11 billion by the end of this century, improving crop yields has become a vital concern – especially considering that one in nine people around the world already don't have enough food to eat.

Wallace points to his own garden as evidence that his techniques can be applied to a diverse group of crops. His pumpkins grow to be thousands of pounds, his sunflowers have reached heights of 18 feet, and his largely inconspicuous tomatoes might weigh as much as five pounds. Growing award-winning-sized pumpkins may sound like an amateur sport, but it is serious business for many.

"For growers who are competitive, it's year-round. They're studying, they're researching, they're building greenhouses, they're looking at genetics," Wallace told the AP.

Wallace spends around 40 hours a week on his hobby. He has a host of tasks to accomplish, including checking his pumpkins daily, covering them to protect their skin, checking the field for mice, and burying vines. Wallace also frequently checks his plants for diseases, which can ruin otherwise perfect crops. He estimates that his 2,230-pound pumpkin lost at least 150 pounds as a result of disease.

Wallace has spent more than 20 years studying soil and conducting experiments. The seeds from his giant pumpkins sell for thousands of dollars and this year he has introduced his own line of farming products. Chief among the long list of products is his mycorrhizal fungi, a superfungus designed to increase how much water and nutrients can get into the plant. He thinks those same strategies could be used to improve crop yields of a variety of commercial produce. For now, though he has his sights set on the next pumpkin milestone: breaking 2,500 pounds.

Ron Wallace New York Botanical Garden Event

By Ronald Wallace
on October 15, 2015

MEDIA ALERT Giant Pumpkin Carving Weekend at The New York Botanical Garden Features North America’s Largest Pumpkin on Display Pumpkin Sculpture of Day of the Dead Tableau, Carved by Ray Villafane and His Team, Also on Display Saturday and Sunday, October 24 & 25, 2015 For Immediate Release October 19, 2015 What Giant pumpkins, including the largest in North America, will once again be on display at The New York Botanical Garden on Saturday and Sunday, October 24 and 25, 2015 from 10 a.m.–6 p.m. at the Clay Family Picnic Pavilions, arranged in collaboration with the Great Pumpkin Commonwealth. This year’s North American record breaker, weighing 2,230.5 pounds, was grown by Ron Wallace from Rhode Island. Ron is a repeat winner, previously breaking the record in 2012 and 2006. Master Carver Ray Villafane and his team from Villafane Studios will transform the giant pumpkins into a Dia de los Muertos tableau. Visitors will enjoy daily Q&A sessions with him and his additional carvers as the pumpkins are shaped into whimsical Day of the Dead skeletons. In addition to the 2,230.5 pound North American record holder, two other winning pumpkins will be on display at the Botanical Garden – a 2,185 pounder grown by Josiah Brandt from Rudolph, Illinois, and one weighing 2,145 pounds, grown by Gene McMullen from Streator, Illinois. All the winning pumpkins break last year’s North American record of 2,058 pounds. Who • Ray Villafane, Master Carver and his team from Villafane Studios • Growers from The Great Pumpkin Commonwealth, the recognized standard of weights, measurement, and fairness of competitive growing. When Saturday and Sunday, October 24 & 25, 2015, 10 a.m.–6 p.m. Where The New York Botanical Garden Clay Family Picnic Pavilions, Bronx River Parkway (Exit 7W) at Fordham Road in the Bronx Media Contact Nick Leshi, Director of Public Relations, NYBG, 718.817.8658 or

WOW Wins Rochester Fair!

By Ronald Wallace
on September 24, 2015

  • ROCHESTER – Weighing in at 1,975 pounds, a pumpkin grown by Ron Wallace of Rhode Island beat last year's Rochester Fair's winner by 75 pounds.
    Wallace beat Farmington grower Hiram Watson's 1,900-pounder, earning himself the grand prize of $2 per pound, or $3,950. While Wallace walked away with the prize this year, Watson still holds the record for biggest New Hampshire pumpkin, as the fruit has to be grown in-state to break state records.
    Wallace said he has been growing giant pumpkins and showing them for 26 years.
    “My father got into this first,” said Wallace, who farms under the name Wallace Organic Wonder. “I like Halloween and this is a good way to get involved and take the pumpkins to many places. My biggest won a world record, at 2,009. It was exhibited in New York City.”
    Jim Beauchemin, competition announcer, said the current world champion pumpkin, weighing more that 2,300 pounds, was grown in Switzerland. The Goffstown resident had an entry, too. His pumpkin weighed 1,185 pounds.
    “Actually, it is the seeds that are the most valuable,” Wallace said. “Growers trade them with each other to create new strains of giants. They are a special breed and reach their huge size in a mere 90 days.”
    Watson's entry this year tipped the scales at 1,250 pounds. “It takes a lot of care to grow these,” he said. “When they are really growing, they can add 25 to 50 pounds each day. They need a lot of room.”
    New Hampshire Giant Pumpkin Growers Association members served as judges except for member Barry LeBlanc, who had an 1,100-pound entry.
    “Deflategate” made its way into the competition. Beauchemin's pumpkin, instead of growing round, was sort of flat. He named it “Deflategate,” spoofing the NFL’s deflated football scandal, and said the reason for its flatness was “still under investigation.”
    Norm Gansert of Rhode Island won the Howard Dill Award for prettiest pumpkin,with his weighing 851 pounds. The award is given in honor of Howard Dill, a Nova Scotia grower who invented the genetics for giant pumpkins.

Plant Tissue Testing

By Ronald Wallace
on June 08, 2015

Tissue testing: How to, when and why

    I have been starting to get allot of emails concerning tissue testing. I went back into the “archives” and found an article I wrote in May of 2006 about how we needed as a “community” to start tissue testing, so labs would have enough data on us to determine what nutrients we would need during fruit load stress. I have taken bits and pieces of that article and “revamped” it a bit for today’s growers.

 Why should you test? Tissue sampling is an important part of a plant’s fertility program. Nutrient deficiencies in plants will result in lower weights. I have often been told, “I don’t want to spend the money to test and my plants look great”! Even if   symptoms are not yet visible, you could be suffering from “hidden” hunger. For example, when a giant pumpkin starts to “ramp” up and sustain 35 plus pounds a day for 30 days or more, the fruit load stress put on your plant is enormous! If you are lacking in any one area, it could lead to the collapse of the plant and reduced yield. Different deficiencies can also show similar symptoms, so searching photos on the net or asking friends for advise, could prove to be a big mistake. Tissue testing will provide valuable information on nutrient levels and can help prevent further crop damage.

 When should I tissue test? The timing of when you take tissue samples is critical because the optimum nutrient levels for each crop are established at specific growth stages. For giant pumpkins I submit my first sample prior to fruit set (Usually June 21st) I send tissue samples in every 3-weeks, with my last one being the first of September. After a few years of testing you will now have a ‘baseline” of what your plants will need at critical stages and how much nutrients you will need to apply to correct any deficiency’s.

 How to sample: If all plants are growing the same and exhibit the same color, I will remove 1-petitole from each main vine. The petiole

(Leaf stalk) should be the 3rd or 4th one from the tip of the main vine. Carefully cut the petiole away from the main vine with a sharp sanitized knife. I usually submit 3-4 petioles from my patch for testing. Do not take samples from weak or diseased plants. If you have a plant that is different from the others, it would be best to test that separately.

After cutting, I trim away the leaf and thoroughly wash the petiole with cool tap water to remove any chemicals, fertilizers and soil particles. I then place them on clean paper to air-dry. Once dried carefully place petioles in a brown paper bag, with the labs submission form and send priority mail to your plant tissue-testing lab. I have been mailing samples with the USPS in a flat rate envelope. Be careful when packaging not to contaminate the petioles with any foreign material.

 What lab do I use?   There are many labs that offer plant analysis testing with recommendations. I have been tissue testing with Western Labs in Parma Idaho since 2005. Owner John Taberna has reviewed results from hundreds of extreme gardeners and has come up with a nutrient sufficiency table based on what he feels we need to maintain “peak” growth.   He is also there to answer any questions you may have about your results. John has helped many growers over the last 9 years. Go to for more information, test 11a is the one most growers are using.

 Ron Wallace

 Wallace Organic Wonder


By Ronald Wallace
on May 11, 2015

Resting an area for 2016 planting? Try Mighty Mustard!

Below is an article on Mighty Mustard from a few years ago. For complete planting instructions visit

Are you just not getting enough umph out of the same old Winter Rye, Sudan Grass or or Buckwheat cover crop in your Giant Pumpkin Patch? Want to get more than just a trace amount of Green Nitrogen and a little organic matter.   How about “cleaning” the soil in your patch. Then you got to read this article and watch the You Tube video referenced below in red. . It contains garden tested information that is catching on all over the world. The very informative video about the benefits of this cover crop are on you tube: Go to www. Then when you are in, type the following

Mustards are a good cover crop for Giant Pumpkin growers for a variety of reasons. One of the main reasons is that because many of us are forced to plant our Atlantic Giants in the same place every year. We sometimes find ourselves stuck in the yearly loop of infestation of various diseases and soil borne pests which can ruin a growers chances to grow the Big one,   year after year. Now we are finding that farmers world wide are talking of the bright prospects of Biofunigatipn due to the high levels of Glucosinolates in Mustard. BIOFUMIGATION is simply the suppression of various soil borne pests and diseases through naturally occurring compounds. All brassicas, such as Mustard plants naturally produce glucosinolates, which are the compounds that make the brassicas “HOT”. Brassicas sold as cover crops (such as Kodiak, Pacific Gold and IdaGold have been identified or specifically developed to contain very high levels of these glucosinolates. The higher the level of glucosinolates present, the better the Biofumigant effect. The process works as so: When mustard plant cells are damaged, such as by Tilling, gluocosinolates are released and come in contact with and enzyme (myrosinase). In the presence of water the reaction produces a natural gas (ITC).   This natural “mustard gas” is responsible for the suppressive effects of the practice. In addition to the soil Biofumigation benefits, Mustard plant cover crops are ideal for adding organic matter to the soil and improving many soil health related characteristics due to the large quantity of “Green” or fresh biomass produced and tilled into your patch.  

Why are there three varieties of Mighty Mustard®? They contain different glucosinolates.   IdaGold glucosinolates suppress weeds. Kodiak and Pacific Gold glucosinolates are biologically active against nematodes and fungal pathogens.

 Can I blend IdaGold, Pacific Gold and Kodiak? Yes. Based on experience, the IdaGold will bolt first, then be taken over by the Pacific Gold or Kodiak.

 Can I inter-seed Mighty Mustard® with other cover crops? Yes, if you reduce the seeding rate to 4-10 pounds per acre. If you want Mighty Mustard® to play a dominant role in the cover crop “cocktail,” aim for 8-10 pounds per acre. If you want Mighty Mustard® to play a less prominent role, plant 4-5 pounds per acre. This is a new area of study, so more precise recommended seeding rates are still being researched.

 How much seed should I plant in my patch? For all three varieties you should plant 8 ounces per 1000 ft2 .

 How much biomass will Mighty Mustard® produce? Approximately 189 pounds per 1000 square feet.

 How does Mighty Mustard® weather the cold? It will withstand a light frost down to 26F but the mustard cover crop will succumb to killing frosts. If an unexpected killing frost occurs, you should quickly chop & till in the mustard for a good biofumigation of your patch soil or leave it on the ground over winter and till it in the spring.

 When should I chop my Mighty Mustard® for green manure? To reap maximum benefits from your Mustard cover crop, mow it down and till it under with a good watering when the plants flower. If you allow the mustard to go to seed, you could wind up with unwanted plants , just as will happen with Winter Rye. Timing is important,as you must wait at least three weeks between incorporating (tilling) the Mustard cover crop and planting your crops. If you don’t wait, the glucosinolate that suppress the weeds and soilborne diseases may also suppress your Giant Pumpkin plants and vegetables.

 Can Mighty Mustard® replace chemical pesticides & herbicides? Some growers have used Mustards to replace chemicals, while others mow it down and till it in, as part of their integrated Pest Management strategies. For general information about this read, /agriculture/covercrops/green_manures/index.htm


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From the Blog

The Microbial Matrix

January 27, 2020

The Microbial Matrix ​   The “Plant / Soil / Biological Matrix” is the foundation of all dynamic and sustainable eco-systems....

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What are Mycorrhizal Propag...

January 27, 2020

What are mycorrhizal propagules? Propagules are an average count of colony forming spores, hyphae and root fragments per gram. Spores...

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