Great for opening up heavy or compacted soils, attracts beneficial insects
Common mustard used to open up heavy or compacted soils. Mustards attract beneficial insects (when flowering), provide substantial quantities of organic matter and have a large deep root system, which increases water penetration. Grows to 4'. Seed at 12-15 lbs/acre or 0.5 lb/1,000 sq ft. (No inoculant is required because it is not a member of the Bean family and does not fix nitrogen)Brassica spp
This fast growing plant has a tremendous root system and is commonly used to open up heavy or compacted soils.
There is a potential problem in using mustard as a cover crop and that is because it is a member of the cabbage family (Brassicaceae). This means it can act as a winter host for various cabbage pests and diseases, enabling them to survive the winter.
- Ease of Growing
- Grown as
- Days to Maturity
- 35-180 (Fall/Winter)
- Growing Habit
- Growing Season
- Short, Long
- Cultivar Type
- Growing Conditions
- Cold, Cool
The ideal spot for mustards depends on the weather. If it's cool they should be planted on a sunny site.
- Outdoor Growing Temp
- 45°F - 75°F
- Min Outdoor Soil Temp
Mustard germinates and grows quickly (if the soil is at least 45 degrees) so is usually direct sown.
- Start Indoors
- Start Outdoors
- Sun: min. 6 hours daily (Cold, Cool)
Cover crops need full sun when growing in winter, as days are shorter and the sun is lower in the sky. If grown in summer many will tolerate light shade (though they grow best in full sun).
Most of these crops are not particularly drought tolerant and will need regular watering in dry climates (especially when germinating and getting established). However they are mostly grown during the winter when the soil is fairly moist, so don't usually require much irrigation.
You do not need to fertilize cover crop in established gardens, as there will be plenty of nutrients in the garden to meet their needs. Since you will be incorporating them back in to the soil, growing them doesn't remove any nutrients from the soil.
The leguminous cover crops also fix nitrogen and eventually add it to the soil.
- Tolerates light frost
- Small Gardens?
- Attracts beneficial insects?
- Fruit Size
- Plant Height
- Plant Diameter
- Hardiness Zone
- Disease Resistance
- Taste Profile
Mustard leaves are tender, mild and tasty when growing in cool weather.