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


Ronald Wallace
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