FAQ

What is Mighty Mustard®?
How does Mighty Mustard® work?
What can Mighty Mustard® do for me?
Where can I plant Mighty Mustard®?
Does Mighty Mustard® work in a cover crop mixture (cocktail)?
Is Mighty Mustard® safe to use around children and pets?
Is it safe for animals to eat Mighty Mustard®?
Who developed Mighty Mustard®?
Why are there two varieties of Mighty Mustard®?
Can I blend IdaGold and Pacific Gold?
Can I interseed Mighty Mustard® with other cover crops?
Can Mighty Mustard® reduce nematodes?
What is the recommended growth period of Mighty Mustard® for nematode suppression?
How do the glucosinolates in Mighty Mustard® compare to those in other brassicas?
Is Mighty Mustard® as effective as chemical pesticides and herbicides?
Can Mighty Mustard® replace chemical pesticides & herbicides?
How does the cost of Mighty Mustard® compare to chemical treatments?
How does Mighty Mustard® recycle nitrogen?
Is Mighty Mustard® Non-GMO?
Is Mighty Mustard® certified organic?
Is Mighty Mustard® planting seed grown sustainably?
Where can I buy Mighty Mustard®?
When should I plant Mighty Mustard®?
Pacific Gold seeding rates
Pacific Gold plant height
IdaGold seeding rates
IdaGold plant height
How much biomass will Mighty Mustard® produce?
How to plant Mighty Mustard®
How much water does Mighty Mustard® require?
Optimal growing temperatures
How do I incorporate my Mighty Mustard® green manure into my soil?
When should I chop my Mighty Mustard® for green manure?
Why do I need to chop Mighty Mustard®?
How long do I have to wait between incorporating Mighty Mustard® green manure into my soil and the planting of my fruits and vegetables?
Does Mighty Mustard® work in a no-till system?
Can you direct seed into Mighty Mustard®?
How does Mighty Mustard® weather the cold?
If my Mighty Mustard® winterkills, should I worry about volunteer plants in the spring?
Does Mighty Mustard® require extra nitrogen?
Does Mighty Mustard® fix nitrogen?
Does Mighty Mustard® attract pests?
How do herbicides affect Mighty Mustard®?
Can I save Mighty Mustard® seeds?
Where can I read more about mustard green manures?
How long between planting and flowering?
Will Mighty Mustard® grow following pre-emergent or post-emergent chemical sprays?

 

What is Mighty Mustard®?

It is a fast-growing biofumigant cover crop seed that naturally suppresses weeds, insects, and soilborne diseases. It is plant-variety protected, certified planting seed, and verified non-GMO by the Non-GMO Project. There are two varieties: IdaGold (Sinapis alba, or yellow mustard) and Pacific Gold (Brassica juncea, also known as oriental or brown mustard).

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How does Mighty Mustard® work?

Mighty Mustard® contains high levels of glucosinolates, natural chemical agents that make certain members of the brassica family spicy. Mighty Mustard’s® glucosinolates deliver a deadly punch to many soilborne pathogens and weeds, making them an effective, all-natural alternative to chemical herbicides. Mighty Mustard® is also a fast-growing cover crop that quickly crowds out weeds. Mighty Mustard® has been found to suppress sclerotinia, Verticillium wilt, rhizoctonia, fusarium, and apahanamyces.

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What can Mighty Mustard® do for me?

  • Suppress weeds
  • Reduce insects, nematodes and fungal disease
  • Increase organic matter
  • Recycle & redistribute nitrogen in the soil profile
  • Reduce wind & water erosion
  • Improve the long-term health of your soil
  • Sequester carbon
  • Provide an all-natural alternative to toxic chemicals
     

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Where can I plant Mighty Mustard®?

  • Fruit & vegetable gardens
  • Potato fields
  • Grain fields
  • Vineyards
  • Orchards
  • Hoop houses
  • Tired, fallow soil in need of rehabilitation


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Does Mighty Mustard® work in a cover crop mixture (cocktail)?

Yes, if you reduce the seeding rate to 4-10 pounds per acre. If you want Mighty Mustard® to play a dominant role in the cover crop “cocktail,” aim for 8-10 pounds per acre. If you want Mighty Mustard® to play a less prominent role, plant 4-5 pounds per acre. This is a new area of study, so more precise recommended seeding rates are still being researched.

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Is Mighty Mustard® safe to use around children and pets?

Yes. Mighty Mustard® is non-toxic. However, due to its extreme spiciness, children and pets SHOULD NOT eat the mustard seeds or plants, or rub their eyes after touching the mustard seeds or plants.

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Is it safe for animals to eat Mighty Mustard®?

We recommend that you do not feed Mighty Mustard® to your animals. Mighty Mustard® is not suitable for grazing by horses, cattle or pigs. If you have further questions, please consult your veterinarian, as we want to ensure the safety of all animals.

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Who developed Mighty Mustard®? 

Both IdaGold and Pacific Gold were developed by Dr. Jack Brown, Professor of Breeding and Genetics at the University of Idaho. The research team at the University of Idaho’s Soil Biochemistry & Environmental Organic Chemistry, led by Dr. Matthew Morra, has conducted biofumigation research with rapeseed and mustard plants since 1988. For more information, visit http://soils.cals.uidaho.edu/mmorra/projects/bio.htm

Other university research includes: Kentucky State (need permission!)

http://organic.kysu.edu/biofumigation3.shtml

http://organic.kysu.edu/Geier-KAS2009-Biofumigation.pdf

http://organic.kysu.edu/SolarizationBiofumigation.pdf

http://organic.kysu.edu/BomfordKAS2008.pdf

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Why are there two varieties of Mighty Mustard®?

IdaGold and Pacific Gold contain very different glucosinolates. IdaGold glucosinolates suppress weeds. Pacific Gold glucosinolates are biologically active against insects, nematodes and fungal pathogens, such as sclerotinia and Verticilium wilt.

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Can I blend IdaGold and Pacific Gold?

Yes. Based on our experiences, the IdaGold will bolt first, then be taken over by the Pacific Gold.

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Can I interseed Mighty Mustard® with other cover crops?

Please be aware that Mighty Mustard® may, indeed, kill any other cover crop with which it is seeded. One of our research partners planted Pacific Gold with rye, and the mustard’s natural systemic herbicide killed much of the rye.

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Can Mighty Mustard® reduce nematodes?

Reduce? Yes. Eliminate? No. According to researchers at Washington State University, mustard green manures can “suppress Columbia root-knot nematodes and may be effective against other types of nematodes.” However, mustard cover crops “should be used to enhance, not eliminate, chemical control of nematodes.” It’s also important to remember that if your soil contains a large number of nematodes, mustard green manures will not effectively reduce them. For more information, please visit http://www.grant-adams.wsu.edu/agriculture/covercrops/pubs/eb1952e.pdf
http://www.grant-adams.wsu.edu/agriculture/covercrops/green_manures/index.htm

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What is the recommended growth period of Mighty Mustard® for nematode suppression?

Mustard is a host plant for nematodes, so we advise incorporating it 30 – 35 days from emergence. At this time, your plants should be about 3 feet tall and in full bloom.

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How do the glucosinolates in Mighty Mustard® compare to those in other brassicas?

Glucosinolate levels vary year-to-year, due to growing conditions, planting season, soil fertility, and plant health, so it’s a challenge to find accurate head-to-head comparisons. That said, Mighty Mustard® contains higher levels of glucosinolates than wild mustard and some other varieties of mustard cover crops. Please visit this website for glucosinolate estimates: http://www.grant-adams.wsu.edu/agriculture/covercrops/green_manures/variety.htm

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Is Mighty Mustard® as effective as chemical pesticides and herbicides?

No. Mighty Mustard® is all-natural planting seed, not a lab-created chemical mixture. Like all crops, our mustards are affected by environmental growing conditions, which can impact their growth rate and glucosinolate levels. Please keep in mind that Mighty Mustard® provides additional benefits to the soil that commercial treatments don’t. To learn more about Mighty Mustard’s® benefits, please read, “What can Mighty Mustard® do for me?”

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Can Mighty Mustard® replace chemical pesticides & herbicides?

The answer depends on your situation. Some growers have used our mustards to replace chemicals, while others incorporate them as part of their Integrated Pest Management strategies. For more general information about mustard green manures, read http://grant-adams.wsu.edu/agriculture/covercrops/green_manures/index.htm

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How does the cost of Mighty Mustard® compare to chemical treatments?

As you know, the costs of chemical treatments change yearly. However, Washington State University demonstrated that mustard green manures can be a cost-effective alternative to metam sodium. The research is posted here: http://www.grant-adams.wsu.edu/agriculture/covercrops/green_manures/pubs/2008%20Partial%20budget%20analysis.pdf

Do you have a similar experience? Send it to: info@mightymustard.com

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How does Mighty Mustard® recycle nitrogen?

Both Pacific Gold and IdaGold have taproots that can grow 3 to 6 feet, depending on the growing conditions. These taproots pull nitrogen from deep in the soil profile, and push it up into the plant’s leaves. When you incorporate chopped Mighty Mustard® into the soil, you then redistribute the nitrogen to the top two feet of soil, making it readily accessible to the roots of your fruits, vegetables and other crops.

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Is Mighty Mustard® Non-GMO?

Yes. Mighty Mustard® has undergone third-party evaluation and is verified non-GMO by the Non-GMO Project. Learn more about The Non-GMO Project here:
http://www.nongmoproject.org/

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Is Mighty Mustard® certified organic?

No. Many certified organic growers petition to grow Mighty Mustard® because to our knowledge, there are no organic mustard cover crops with comparable glucosinolate levels to IdaGold and Pacific Gold.

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Is Mighty Mustard® planting seed grown sustainably?

Yes. It is grown by a family of farmers, Pacific Northwest Farmers Cooperative, based in Genesee, Idaho. Our farmers take pride in nurturing and protecting their land through sustainable farming practices.

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Where can I buy Mighty Mustard®?

Click HERE to go to our Where To Buy section for a list of retailers and distributors. We’re constantly reaching out to new retailers and distributors nationwide to find new partners, so stay tuned! For questions, please call Kim or Matt at Davidson Commodities, located in Spokane, WA. Our phone number is (509) 487-0755. You may also send an e-mail to: info@MightyMustard.com

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When should I plant Mighty Mustard®?

Choose the season that works best for your planting schedule. You can plant in the fall and again in the spring or once per year. In the fall, try planting in September for incorporation in late October. In the spring, plant as soon as you’re able to work the soil. Remember that you must wait at least three weeks after incorporating Mighty Mustard® before you can sow your seeds or plant fruit or vegetable starts.  The effects of Mighty Mustard® are cumulative, so the more frequently you plant it, the more your soil benefits.

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Pacific Gold seeding rates:

4 – 6 week growth period:  15 lbs/acre or .5 lbs per 1,000 square feet
8 – 12 week growth period:  10 lbs/acre or .25 lbs per 1,000 square feet

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Pacific Gold plant height

4 – 6 week growth period:  1 to 2 feet
8 – 12 week growth period:  5 to 6 feet at full bloom

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IdaGold seeding rates:

4 – 6 week growth period:  20 lbs/acre or .5 lbs per 1,000 square feet
8 – 12 week growth period:  15 lbs/acre or .25 lbs per 1,000 square feet

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IdaGold plant height

4 – 6 week growth period:  1 foot
8 – 12 week growth period:  4 to 5 feet at full bloom

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How much biomass will Mighty Mustard® produce?

Pacific Gold:  4 to 5 tons per acre
IdaGold:  3 to 4 tons per acre

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How to plant Mighty Mustard®

Work up the ground to a good, moist seedbed. Sprinkle or broadcast seeds onto the surface and lightly rake, rototill or harrow them into the soil to a depth of about 1 inch. Follow immediately with light irrigation. If it is seeded shallow, with good moisture and soil temperatures above 50° Fahrenheit, your mustard plants should emerge within 4 to 5 days. Planting in cooler soil temperatures will result in slower emergence.

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How much water does Mighty Mustard® require?

If you are growing the mustard to full bloom, total water needs should be about 7 to 8 inches of irrigation. Warmer temperatures increase the need for water.

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Optimal growing temperatures

65° - 80° Fahrenheit. Cooler temperatures will result in a slower rate of growth. Warmer temperatures will increase the need for irrigation.

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How do I incorporate my Mighty Mustard® green manure into my soil?

Mow the mustard, then make sure you chop the plants as finely as possible, perhaps running your flail or lawn mower over them a couple of times. Incorporate the green mustard with a rototiller or pitchfork as soon as possible, then water until the top 6 inches of soil is wet. Wait at least three weeks to plant fruit, vegetable or cereal crops.

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When should I chop my Mighty Mustard® for green manure?

To reap maximum benefits from your Mighty Mustard®, mow the mustard at the first sign of pod set. If you allow the mustard to go to seed, you could wind up with a new, unwanted plant problem, as mustard can be difficult to suppress. You may also choose to incorporate Mighty Mustard® in the spring, after it has winterkilled. Timing is important, as you must wait at least three weeks between incorporating Mighty Mustard® and planting your crops. If you don’t wait, the glucosinolates that suppress the weeds and soilborne diseases may also suppress your fruits and vegetables.

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Why do I need to chop the mustard?

The cell walls of the mustard must be broken for the glucosinolates to unleash their biologically active chemicals. When these chemicals come in contact with water, they act as a fumigant. Chopping the mustard before incorporating it into the soil increases the speed of this natural chemical release.

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How long do I have to wait between incorporating Mighty Mustard® green manure into my soil and the planting of my fruits and vegetables?

You must wait at least three weeks! This allows time for the biofumigation properties of the glucosinolates to diminish to the point where they won’t kill your crops.

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Does Mighty Mustard® work in a no-till system?

Yes. If you mow the mustard, you’ll build a “trash layer” on top of the soil. Since most microbial action or breakdown is in the top two inches of the soil, you would still feed those organisms and benefit your soil. You would still recycle nitrogen, as well, but it may take longer for it to become available for the following crop. This is because it takes longer for the microorganisms to feed on the trash and convert it to nitrogen. Be aware that you may lose a lot of the fumigation properties of the mustard if it’s not incorporated into the soil.

The Rodale Institute is experimenting with Mighty Mustard® in a no-till, roller-crimping system. You can learn more about it here: http://www.rodaleinstitute.org/no-till_revolution

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Can you direct seed into Mighty Mustard®?

Yes. Sustainable wheat growers in the Pacific Northwest direct seed wheat into the stalks of harvested mustard plants with great success.

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How does Mighty Mustard® weather the cold?

Mustard will withstand a light frost, down to 26° Fahrenheit, and succumb to killing frosts. You have the option of mowing and incorporating the mustard at the first signs of flowering, immediately after it is killed by frost, or the following spring.

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If my Mighty Mustard® winterkills, should I worry about volunteer plants in the spring?

If you leave the mustard in the ground after it is killed by frost, there will be some dormant seed that may germinate in the spring. However, you should be able to pull, rototill, rake, or spray out the volunteers before planting your crops.

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Does Mighty Mustard® require extra nitrogen?

Like all crops, mustard needs nitrogen. But unless there’s a shortage of it in your soil, there should be adequate nitrogen to grow your mustard cover crop. Applying manure or compost before planting mustard will help the mustard reach its full potential. Mighty Mustard® will recycle any fertilizer you add, making it readily available as rich, organic matter for your crops.

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Does Mighty Mustard® fix nitrogen?

No. Mighty Mustard® excels at recycling nitrogen from deep in the soil. If you’re looking for an all-natural way to increase the nitrogen levels in your soil, we recommend planting Mighty Mustard® Austrian winter peas. They actually grow their own nitrogen and will add 20 to 40 pounds of nitrogen per acre to your soil. Would you like to learn more? Please call Davidson Commodities at (509) 487-0755.

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Does Mighty Mustard® attract pests?

Flea leaf beetles and cabbage aphids are attracted to Mighty Mustard® plants. Based on our experience, other pests avoid our mustards because they can’t tolerate the plants’ natural “heat” or spiciness. If you have a different experience, please send your story to info@mightymustard.com

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How do herbicides affect Mighty Mustard®?

Carefully read the labels of your herbicides, as some have carryover issues that will kill the mustard if seeded too soon after application. Some herbicides have a 2 year plant-back for mustard.

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Can I save Mighty Mustard® seeds?

Yes, you may save the seeds that you harvest from Mighty Mustard® for personal use. For maximum biofumigation, however, it's best to chop and incorporate the Mighty Mustard® green manure before it sets seed.
 

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Where can I read more about mustard green manures?

We suggest you visit these Washington State University sites:

http://www.grant-adams.wsu.edu/agriculture/covercrops/green_manures/index.htm

http://www.grant-adams.wsu.edu/agriculture/covercrops/green_manures/variety.htm

http://www.grant-adams.wsu.edu/agriculture/covercrops/pubs/eb1952e.pdf

And these University of Idaho websites:  

http://soils.cals.uidaho.edu/mmorra/projects/bio.htm

http://www.cals.uidaho.edu/brassica/

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How long between planting and flowering?

There is a 35-40 day average timespan between planting and flowering, depending on soil temperatures.  Incorporating your Mighty Mustard® when it begins to flower is a great way to avoid waiting too long and letting it set seed.

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Will Mighty Mustard® grow following pre-emergent or post-emergent chemical sprays?

A preemergent herbicide will most likely prevent the germination of all plants, including Mighty Mustard®. A postemergent, such as glyphosate, should not prevent Mighty Mustard® from germinating. However, some post-control herbicides have carryover issues that will kill Mighty Mustard®. We advise you to carefully read the label of your chemical treatment for plant-back information.

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Make your soil MIGHTY!

Call 509.487.0755 today to learn what Mighty Mustard® Kodiak, Pacific Gold and IdaGold cover crops can do for you.