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Mustard bad for cover crop?  RSS feed

 
J. Cardina
Posts: 19
Location: Zone 7A, Comox Valley, Vancouver Island, Pacific Northwest, Canada
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Hello everyone!

I keep reading that people use mustard for cover crop / green manure purposes on ecologically minded information sources however I also keep reading that mustard "inhibits weeds" on the more botanical type information sources.

I want to plant a wide variety of seeds for generating healthy living topsoil on a former lawn area but I'm concerned the mustard might negatively affect some of the other stuff I'm planting.

Is this an issue or not worth worrying about?

(The tentative list is: Alfalfa, crimson clover, phacelia, white clover, buckwheat, common vetch, oats, daikon radish, yarrow, comfrey, alyssum, dill, fennel, mustard)
 
Jordan Lowery
pollinator
Posts: 1528
Location: zone 7
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Some mustards are allopathic but that's when there in mass patches. And IMO that's usually on disturbed sites where they are healing the soil. I have mustards growing in all my polycultures and wouldnt have it without them.

Mustards are known to hinder harmful nematodes in the soil. There great dynamic accumulators. Eatable in more than one way.
 
Craig Dobbson
steward
Posts: 2023
Location: Maine (zone 5)
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I've never had a problem with mustard. They do inhibit nematodes so they are a good preceding crop for things susceptible to nematode attack. They've always done well in my poly-cultures.
 
Judith Browning
Posts: 6036
Location: Arkansas Ozarks zone 7 alluvial,black,deep loam/clay with few rocks, wonderful creek bottom!
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We plant lots of mustard for all of the above reasons and I haven't noticed a problem. I sometimes plant it really thick before tomatoes and then cut off at ground level when I plant. Right now it is growing along with some of my herbs, arugula, anise hyssop, oregano, parsley, feverfew, cilantro, etc. and all are fine
 
Noah Figg
Posts: 57
Location: DFW Area, Texas
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I grow mustard heavily interplanted with other things and I haven't noticed any problem compared to before I started growing them. I find it to be a great easy biomass producer that is prolific in seeds. I would be interested to know any information you find out about mustards effects on remediation.
 
J. Cardina
Posts: 19
Location: Zone 7A, Comox Valley, Vancouver Island, Pacific Northwest, Canada
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Thanks everyone. I said "remediation" but I may have used the term incorrectly, what I mean is that it's a pretty barren area with the only topsoil being what is immediately attached to the grass with sandy rocky dirt underneath so I'm trying to build up the topsoil and healthy organisms that go with it. I've heard mustard is useful for that purpose amongst others.
 
C Olgren
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I used giant red mustard in the same bed with cucumbers because it was supposed to protect them from powdery mildew, which troubled me the past two seasons. I couldn't get ANY cucumber seeds to germinate and the ones that were planted as seedlings were definitely stunted/inhibited. I didn't know mustard is allelopathic at the time but all the clues point to that. NOT a good companion plant. There were some very unique pollinators visiting the blooms so IMO worth finding a place for it where it won't impede others' growth.
 
Marco Banks
Posts: 615
Location: Los Angeles, CA
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The plant on your list that causes me a bit of hesitation is fennel.  I've got fennel issues.  I'm seeing a counselor about it.  Our company was overrun by fennel in Viet Nam --- lost 27 men.  When I smell it today, I still get PTSD flashbacks.

It self-seeds very easily and once it sinks it's tap root into the ground, it's a beast to get rid of.  I suppose that would make it a dynamic accumulator, which would be good, but in my world, it's pretty invasive.  A little fennel goes a long way.  Stay on top of it or within a couple of years you'll have a fennel forest.
 
Peter Ellis
Posts: 1432
Location: Central New Jersey
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As I understand it, mustard adds sulfur to the soil and helps prevent fusarium along with those nematodes.
 
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