In comparison with other green manuring plants, all of which have their value, mustard has 1 or 2 other advantages for the garden.
Mustard is so simple to sow and so easy to manage. The easy management helps the garden require only light tools and work. What is more, mustard leaves behind no thick stalks for the spring if care is taken to stop it flowering. The light layer of vegetable matter lying on the frozen ground will fall to powder easy with a rake. No other preparation is needed for sowing; everything has been done without any fuss and bother in the Autumn.
This process continues: Whenever a row is released from the annual round of sowing because it is too late for another crop, the soil is ventilated and sown with mustard. Even when the seedlings are no more than a few centimeters high, the roots go much deeper and provide a valuable root residue, while breaking up soil so that the next plants have channels to follow.
These small mustard plants, are a very welcome supplement in the form of salads and pot herbs; they are mellower than cress and have good bite. What is more they make a valuable contribution to the health and are especially useful at this time of year when the garden’s vitamin producers are in gradual recession.
Mustard is rapid growing, and in a few days a lush, thick green cover can be attained.
Checklist of mustard attributes;
maintains a high quality level of soil,
germinates rapidly (within 12 hours if conditions are optimal),
can disinfect the soil,
can be sown over and over again,
keeps the ground moist,
breaks the ground gently with it’s roots,
has a positive effect,
is really easy to cut down at ground level,
can be sown down to very cold temperatures around -7oc etc.
|Matthew 13:31) Another parable put he forth unto them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is like to a grain of mustard seed, which a man took, and sowed in his field:32) Which indeed is the least of all seeds: but when it is grown, it is the greatest among herbs, and becometh a tree, so that the birds of the air come and lodge in the branches thereof.
Matthew 17:20)And Jesus said to them, Because of your unbelief: For verily I say to you, If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say to this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible to you.Mark 4:30) And he said, Whereunto shall we liken the kingdom of God? or with what comparison shall we compare it? 31) It is like a grain of mustard seed, which, when it is sown in the earth, is less than all the seeds that be in the earth: 32) But when it is sown, it groweth up, and becometh greater than all herbs, and shooteth out great branches; so that the fowls of the air may lodge under the shadow of it.Luke 13:18) Then said He, Unto what is the kingdom of God like? and whereunto shall I resemble it? 19) It is like a grain of mustard seed, which a man took, and cast into his garden; and it grew, and waxed a great tree; and the fowls of the air lodged in the branches of it.Luke 17:6)And the Lord said, If ye had faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye might say to this sycamine tree, Be thou plucked up by the root, and be thou planted in the sea; and it should obey you.
No ground needs to be left empty and without life, mustard can be sown in any empty space.
Mustard sown on rows which are not needed yet, can continue until the vegetable seeds will go in, by cutting down the mustard each time it gets to hand height and starting again. Leave the mustard cuttings to lie where they are, and sow more seeds. It prepares the ground, keeps it loose, moist and prevents other plants from growing. Also, absolutely any vegetable can be planted after it without worry of nutrition deficiencies / conflicts and rotation, provided it is cut down at a small size. Whether grown before plants or around them, it rejuvenates and regenerates the soil life. It gives plants a healthy start and enables the roots to grow properly. Because of small hairs on mustard plants, slugs and snails often avoid it.
It appears that a mis-conception exists where mustard is associated with club root, just because it is in the same family (Cruciferae family) as other plants which are susceptible to club root, like cabbage. This is not true, mustard will not cause club root in other plants. It is best to discard mis-conceptions about rotations and plant families and to focus on the relationship of the soil life with the plants and further environment [even the local birds have a relationship with the soil life in a vegetable area, discreet compared to the relationship of the plants, but still there]. While true mustard can be infected with club root, it is also true that these type of diseases come from poorer and unhealthy soils.
In Autumn/Fall, when the short term vegetables are over, some long term seeds can still begin to germinate and even a slight growth is to be expected. In this now ventilated soil, mustard seed is broadcast. Some may fall into the air-holes made with the fork and the remainder needs only to be lightly raked over. The mustard germinates in a few days to give a thick green cover.
In this way, the land is cared for in the best possible manner: It is overgrown with green to prevent most wild and unwanted plants springing up, the roots keep the soil broken up and the soil is shaded to keep it from drying out. Also, since the mustard will not flower, it will consume less water, than would run off bare top soil. Mustard creates a miniature jungle with a moist and shady floor. Also mustard repels soil pests like nematodes and especially potato root eelworm.
Leave the odd mustard plant here and there to grow to full size, especially around the borders.
Soil that is awaiting mustard seeds;
It doesn’t take long for the mustard seedlings to grow,
Now the mustard has prepared the ground, and is being removed for a row of new seeds (in this case dwarf/french/bush beans);
Now the plants can grow in a healthy soil;
After 2013, my parents chose to make the plot back into lawn. In 2014 i was asked to look after another garden, in a village a few miles away. Additionally in 2015 the neighbour of my parents asked if i would manage half of their back garden (we already used to get the pears each year off of the 3 pear trees). These following pictures are from the garden of the neigbour:
2015 – 2016
2016 – 2017 (During this season, the neighbour extended the garden)
2017 – 2018