Bio-fumigation Potential- Ida Gold Mustard and Pacific Gold Mustard have very high levels of glucosinolates. The interest in glucosinolates, which are allelochemicals that occur throughout the Brassica family, has been generated because of the possibility of using plant tissues as a substitute for or supplement to synthetic chemical pest controls. Glucosinolate degradation produces biologically active products, the most significant of which (for potential biofumigation) are isothiocyanates, which behave as general biocides and have broad-spectrum activity on soil microorganisms. Some commercial soil fumigants use Methyl Isothiocyanate as the chief fumigant or as the active pesticidal agent produced from the degradation of other constituents.
Brenda Groth wrote:Brassicas are all in the Mustard family, I wonder if any of them have alleopathic qualities? Finding more and more alleopathic information out there than I ever knew existed..maybe we need a thread on the permies site listing things that have been known to be alleopathic all in one place?
Erik Lee wrote:Alex - that's a good point, but let me rephrase the original question to express a more balanced concern: If mustard is biocidal and allelopathic, I want to know that so that I can place it appropriately in my system. For example, it wouldn't make sense to add it to a vegetable garden polyculture with a bunch of other tender plants in the case of allelopathy, and it wouldn't make sense to add it to soil where I've carefully shepherded the soil life to a high level in the biocide case. However, if I want to outcompete some undersired species or encourage a crop destroying pest to move on, allelopathic biocidal mustard might be just the ticket. So I'd agree, it's not cause for paranoia or eliminating the plant from the repertoire, it's more about recognizing its best role in the greater system. To that end I still think it would be very good to know how much stock to put in the claims from that ad (both for that variety and for relatives).
It sounds like you have some experience with it in a permaculture setting -- have you found it to work well with garden polycultures?