I planted a bunch of veggies in the garden on May 19th. Went back to the farm(5 hours drive) the May 31 weekend & did a bit of weeding & rotatilled btwn the rows. We went up to the farm last weekend & I was shocked to see 4 foot, thick as grass, mustard. I did find some of the stuff that I planted.
Mustard in the veggie garden
Wow, what a difference, ya'll worked harrrrrrd! We have pigweed and pokeweed in our garden at the new place - I'm slowly making my way through it to the veggies :)
any time you work the soil up, mustard will pop up. It will make a field of oats yellow until the oats overtop it. Very enthusiastic stuff.
Anyone have advice on controlling the mustard this year? Thought we would till it, plant potatoes & carrots, and keep tilling in between the rows during the summer. We are about 5 hours drive from the farm, so we will need to plan a few trips in June. That's when it went crazy last year. Beginning of June was ok, but at the end of June it was solid mustard. We bought a little 16HP John Deer that has a tiller so it should be ok.
This message was edited Feb 12, 2009 7:11 PM
That garden on the farm made me think of a funny picture DH took of me when we were planting the potatoes. I found this thing along the garden. I think a horse is suppose to pull it, or at least someone with more muscles than me. As you can see, my rows got a little crooked with as the fatigue set in. There is a bit of a slope to garden. I laugh every time I see this picture.
Other than planting your potatoes and carrots, getting them up and growing and then applying a preemergent like Snapshot or Treflan I don't have much of a suggestion. The only other suggestion would be to make your rows big enough to get the lawn mower down between and just keep the mustard mowed off....
Course keeping it tilled and hoed out on a regular basis always works well too....
The best long term solution is also the hardest-but if you pull them up by the roots they won't return. They are perrenials, so every year those roots get bigger and deeper. Maybe you could just set a goal of so many feet or rows per year? If you clear out just one area I promise you will be very impressed when that area looks so much better the next year.
Mustard around here is a cool season annual. It's important to understand the life cycle of whatever weed you're struggling with, to devise a useful control system.
Cover cropping can really help reduce and deplete the weed seed bank, as well as suppress the growth of weeds. Many weeds are best able to take advantage of bare earth, and a cover crop can not only improve and protect the fertility of the soil, but out compete the weeds. I'd recommend "Weed the Soil, Not the Crop: A Whole Farm Approach to Weed Management" by Anne & Eric Nordell. Contents include:
Rotational Cover Cropping
Depleting the Weed Seed Bank in the Soil
I got mine through the Small Farmer's Journal. They don't specifically have to deal with mustard, but they've got their own cool-season bug-a-boos and the techniques and thinking might work for you.
Also would recommend the DVD "Farmers and their Innovative Cover Cropping Techniques" Here's a list of the available videos from UVM, of which this is one...
There's a lot of work being done on underseeding cover crops for weed suppression, low till management and sustainable weed control. One source for info would be SARE (Sustainable Agricultural Research and Education) for a region similar to yours there, such as the Northeast Region SARE.
Thanks for the great info. I read an article in Organic Gardening & mustard was listed as a good rotation/companion for potatoes. (prevents disease). Have to say. Those were awesome potatoes last year.
Yeah, you just gotta take 'em down before they flower. I'll store that little bit about disease suppression for potatoes in my leetle memory bank... I want to do potatoes one of these days...
Also forgot to mention... every time you rototil, you bring up more weed seeds to bedevil yourself with. That's one of the reasons for the no-til movement.