Monday, September 8, 2014

Mustard Seeds

I took advantage of some very rare cloud cover this morning to take on some fall garden tasks. (Fall in spirit only because the temp today should be just under the 100 mark.). More experimentation regarding root knot nematode control by planting a cover crop of mustard got under way by cleaning and raking the soil. Two beds are being set aside for this green manure application. Once the mustard blooms, it needs to be cut down and turned under before seed is set.  The chemical formed is repulsive to root knot nematodes plus nutrients are added back into the soil.

One of the two beds was solarized for over 8 weeks this summer.  The other bed grew peppers and tomatoes without any signs of the pest. Tomato roots show now galls formed.  These tomatoes were not nematode resistant; so I'm feeling better that the pest is being eradicated. 

No rows were formed. I purchased the seed by weight to insure the bed will produce a full cover crop. As the temperatures cool, an application of beneficial nematodes will be introduced to all the beds. The beneficials will attack the bad bugs - including grubs. Earthworms are supposed to be safe from their attack.

 The current predator in the garden are the mourning doves feasting on my mustard seeds.  If they don't munch on my onion seeds, it's the mustard seeds.  Pinwheels from the 4th of July have been re-purposed as scarecrows.  So far so good.  But it's only been a few hours.  I'm a bit concerned if this mustard program goes biblical.

"He put another parable before them, saying, “The kingdom of heaven is like a grain of mustard seed that a man took and sowed in his field. It is the smallest of all seeds, but when it has grown it is larger than all the garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and make nests in its branches.”"  Matthew 13:31-32

Garden hopes are are high that a cover crop of mustard will be great green manure making the soil fertile for seeds to come.

Garden side note:
This morning, a bloom finally developed on a morning glory vine. For some reason, these plants have not been vigorous and will soon be replaced by peas. Flying Saucer morning glories were planted on June 19 and just now had a pitiful bloom.  Early Call morning glories were planted two days earlier on June 17. Only one vine germinated. Slug? Snails? I don't know. The 1st bloom on this puny vine occurred this morning. I would have to seriously consider ever planting morning glories again. Pitiful.

Wando Peas were planted this evening on the north side of the west bed where this morning glory remains


David said...

Maybelline, ugh, here in Nebraska morning glory is considered a noxious weed by most farmers and always destined for eradication. Of course now with no till fields, nothing grows except the round up ready seed. I've not really tried ground covers. I bag all the grass I can get from my yard which is chemical free and use it as green manure during the growing season. In the fall I gather up tree leaves and grass mixture to use as mulch. Last year as you remember I had nearly 1000 bags of mulch for a 60X90 garden. It kept all but the hardiest of weeds from growing. This year was a very weedy year with the over abundance of rain. It was tough to keep them under control .... I didn't keep them under control and garden clean up this year was be a mess.

Have a great root knot nematodes killing day.

daisy g said...

Our morning glory grows like crazy here. I have it surrounding our square-foot veggie bed to soften the edges.
I look forward to seeing how your solution for the nematodes work. Enjoy the fall garden!

dorothy said...

I hope your beds will be nematode free by next planting season. It sounds like you have done everything humanly possible to eradicate them! I think the variety of Morning Glories I planted was 'Grandpa Ott's. They are supposed to be one of the most reliable. My single package planted so many years ago reseeds year after year. I don't know that my yard will ever be rid of them, although in this year of drought, I welcomed the blooms!

Lisa Paul said...

I admire the natural technique, but mustard -- gack! Up here in Sonoma, mustard is invasive as hell. It used to be fashionable to plant it between rows of grapes, but smart vineyard managers haven't done that for ages now. Mustard carries some of the same diseases that plague grapes, so putting them in vineyards creates a big ol' monoculture smorgasbord for disease. Not sure what would quell your nematodes. We use native lupine to add nitrogen. Or fava beans, which are not native, but aren't invasive because they can spread to unirrigated places.


Oh Lisa, I do hope this mustard will not get out of hand. It will be mowed down before seed is set.