The introduction of nutrients into the soil is a pledge of a rich and high-quality crop. When artificial lures were not yet known, gardeners used natural products from onion peel to tobacco. And even today, this kind of fertilizer is considered the most effective and safe. In particular, mustard was often used to fertilize the soil. But for what cultures? When and how?
Mustard seeds as a fertilizer: principle of operation
If part of the natural fertilizers - tobacco dust, onion peel, etc. - are introduced once and act for a short time, the mustard works a little differently. It belongs to the group of siderats - plants that are planted at the site not for the purpose of obtaining a crop from them, but for the sake of a certain influence on the soil and neighboring cultures. Moreover, the effect can last for several years after the removal of siderats.
In addition to the fact that most of these plants bring nutrients to the soil, they also have a disinfecting effect, preventing the appearance of pests, as well as shading the soil and saving it from the growth of weeds.
A mandatory rule that works with any green manure is to mow its stems at the moment when the protected culture begins to bloom. This is done in order to avoid a shortage of nutrients and fluids that will start to go to the wrong plant. The stems and leaves are embedded in the soil, where they will decompose, while continuing to fill the substrate with beneficial micro and macro elements.
Why is mustard chosen as a fertilizer? The answer lies in the cruciferous deep root system. During life, the plant releases organic acids from the roots, which, due to a chemical reaction with nutrients already in the soil, facilitate their absorption by other cultures. That is, a kind of "unlocking" of previously inaccessible elements takes place. After all, there is no point in rich soil, if its resources cannot be used, and mustard removes precisely this prohibition. Independently, it practically does not contribute any substances, except for those that appear in the process of decomposition of its green mass after mowing.
We must not forget that mustard is a natural orderly along with garlic, onion, and other crops. Its antibacterial action prevents the spread of diseases that have already begun to develop on the plants with which it coexists, and, of course, deter pests (mainly insects). And not the last merit of mustard, which is already peculiar to not all siderats, lies in its action not as fertilizer, but as protection against soil erosion by wind or water. This is relevant in the case when the plot is located on a slope, so it is sown after harvesting, covering the soil with a dense carpet of high mustard stems.
Whitegrass fertilizer: the algorithm works
Of all the types of mustard as fertilizer, only 2 are used: white and gray, the differences between which are insignificant, but affect the growing conditions. It is important to note that, like other crucifers, mustard will not take root in the areas where sunflower, flax and millet, as well as beets, were planted before. And after any of its "relatives", as well as before them, mustard should not be sown: this will entail keel, a fungal disease affecting cruciferous.
The advantage of white mustard over Siza as a fertilizer is noticeable even at the time of its planting. Seeds will begin to germinate when the temperature of the soil barely exceeds 0 degrees. This species has increased cold tolerance, although higher requirements for air humidity and soil, the growing season lasts 2-2.5 months. Best of all, white mustard is adjacent to fruit trees and beans, increasing the yield of these crops, as well as grapes and nightshade. You can make it a forerunner for cereals: the effect of growing mustard as a fertilizer will continue for the next 2-3 years.
Any of the varieties in the role of green manure works the same. First, does not allow late blight and scab to develop. As a result, optimally planted mustard next to the potato, as the most affected by these diseases culture. Secondly, its presence white mustard destroys wireworms and slugs. It also acts against the pea moth, which makes it an excellent pair for most legumes.
The ability of the plant to attract with its pale yellow bead flowers guarantees the appearance of these insects on the flowers that are next to the mustard. That is why its presence alongside fruit crops like strawberries and raspberries, other bushes and trees at the time of their growing season is valuable.
The following factor makes mustard a universal crop. Since its long root system loosens the soil from the inside, it becomes an assistant for those plants that need good air and moisture conductivity. Therefore, if the preliminary drainage before planting any culture has not been done, you can place next to it a few copies of white mustard: this will greatly facilitate the substrate. In addition, mustard can shift the acid-base balance because of its ability to retain nitrogen, which is leached out over time (and due to the life of some crops), resulting in leaching of the soil.
In the autumn, mustard to its leading role gains the title of "mulch" when its stems are mown and overlapped by snow or killed by frosts. So you can prevent the freezing of the soil or the remaining plants in it, which will provide them with a better wintering.
As for the dates of sowing of mustard as a fertilizer, since there is no need to expect the development of seeds, this period stretches for six months: it is allowed to start sowing in March and finish in early September. It all depends on which crops the mustard will be planted with and for what purpose.
For example, to enhance the yield of seeds per 1 square. m. required almost half less than for fertilizing the soil. If you sow mustard for fertilizer in the fall, you should understand that the green mass will increase very little, which means that the main load will fall on the root system, and the number of seeds here will increase to 300 g per 1 hundred part. In the spring enough 200 g for the same area.
- Is this method of fertilizing the soil effective and protecting against diseases and pests? Reviews of gardeners show that such natural methods do not always become more effective than the use of chemicals that destroy insects instantly or actively enrich the substrate, providing an unprecedented harvest. The effect of using mustard as a fertilizer is slightly lower, as with all natural recipes, but it guarantees the absence of side effects such as oversaturation of the crop with chemicals that negatively affect the human body.
- In the comments of summer residents, left on the forums, it is noted that mustard shows the highest result as a fertilizer, if it is sown in spring. First, the seedlings become less susceptible to moisture deficiency and do not die at an early stage; secondly, they have time to gain strength before weeds wake up, and therefore, to nip them in the bud. This is how natural mulching occurs in the spring.
- If siderat is used as a preparatory stage before planting a particular crop, gardeners recommend that it be allowed to reach the flowering stage. Then you need to chop the stalks with a shovel and mix them with the earth, digging up a bed. Roots while chopping is optional. Decomposition may take 1–2 weeks, depending on the weather, therefore, in order to speed it up, during droughts, it is required to constantly water the area with fallen mustard.
In general, mustard as a fertilizer may not be the most versatile option, and a strong tandem does not form with every plant, and it will not protect crops planted in your garden from all possible diseases. But it takes pride of place among organic fertilizers and is worthy of its use at the dacha, especially if you are worried about the harvest of potatoes, tomatoes or crops.