White mustard is an annual plant belonging to the Cabbage family. It is also called yellow mustard because of the color of the flowers. This crop is grown as animal feed, and also as green manure. White mustard has a number of useful properties, which we will introduce you to in this article.
White mustard is a herbaceous plant with a deep root system and a lush green part that reaches a height of 80 centimeters. During the flowering period, the brushes, collected in 25-100 pieces, are covered with bright yellow flowers of small size, smelling of honey. The fruits of white mustard are long xiphoid pods with five or six seeds. The ripened pod is covered with small fibers and is not subject to cracking. Very light seeds (1000 pieces weigh no more than 5 grams) are spherical in shape and pale yellow in color.
The plant is considered moisture-loving and cold-resistant, and also has a fairly short vegetative period. From one and a half to two months passes from the moment of sowing to flowering and another 5-7 weeksuntil the seeds are fully ripe.
Mustard seeds are rich in fatty oil, the percentage of which reaches 16.5-38.5. In addition, they contain sinalbin glycoside (approximately 2.5%), about 1% mustard essential oil, up to 10% minerals, myrosin, proteins.
White mustard is an excellent medicine. Its seeds are used in the treatment of sclerosis, hypertension, problems with the digestive and urinary systems, rheumatism and skin diseases. Freshly used as a means of increasing appetite and relieving pain. A well-known mustard-based remedy is warming mustard plasters for external use.
Mature white mustard seeds are actively used in cooking as a hot spice. They are added to vegetable, meat and mushroom marinades, as well as to hot meat and fish dishes. Fresh leaves are used in salads and soups. Mustard powder is the basis of many sauces and gravies, and is also ideal with various meat dishes.
In addition, white mustard is an excellent honey crop. From one hectare you can collect at least 100 kilograms of fragrant, delicate and very tasty honey, which has a pale yellowish tint. However, this honey crystallizes quite quickly, so it is not suitable for wintering bees.
White mustard in gardening
The most important function of this crop is fertilizer and soil disinfection. In plant rootscontains rare organic acids that interact with the soil, which makes it easier to digest and enhance the effect of various organic and mineral supplements. The roots also contain certain substances that have a powerful phytosanitary effect. Root secretions prevent the accumulation of pathogens such as late blight, rhizoctoniosis, scab and fusarium rot. After growing white mustard on the site, the risk of infection of potatoes and other vegetable crops with the above diseases is significantly reduced. Due to its rapid growth and early ripening, mustard actively suppresses the development of weeds, which also protects vegetables and grains from the development of many diseases and pests.
Positive results have also been noted in the fight against such pests as wireworms and other harmful insects. Autumn digging of mustard leads to their death, due to the violation of comfortable wintering conditions. White mustard is actively used as green manure. In a short time, it is able to develop a sufficient amount of greenery, which is used as an organic fertilizer. This culture is an amazing source of valuable trace elements. Moreover, the rapid decomposition process and the optimal ratio of nitrogen, carbon and coarse fiber have a positive effect on the development of a mustard-fed crop.
Grow mustard and those gardeners whose plots are located on the slopes, which leads to wind or water erosion of the soil. This culture significantly helps to reduce, and sometimes completely prevent,development of these processes. Mustard especially saves after the main harvest, when the soil is not protected by anything.
Place in crop rotation
White mustard cultivation technology provides for the selection of areas where legumes and cereals were previously cultivated, as well as clean soil that was not used before. But after cruciferous crops, as well as after sunflower and millet, mustard should not be sown, since they are susceptible to infection with the same infections.
After white mustard, it is best to sow cereals. It not only clears the field early, but also drains the soil well. The remains of the roots in the soil contribute to its disinfection and enrichment with nutrients.
Preparing the soil for planting directly depends on what crops were grown on the site earlier. However, any processing is limited to the following purposes:
- ensure moisture accumulation;
- weed control;
- leveling the topsoil to get friendly seedlings.
A mandatory measure for soil care is peeling, that is, surface loosening to a depth of about 20-25 centimeters. Pre-sowing preparation begins after the physiological readiness of the soil. First, harrowing is carried out by 3-4 centimeters, after which cultivation work and soil rolling.
When and how to sow
White mustard, like green manure, is sown not only in autumn, but also in spring. Acceptable in warm regionssowing in October, since the temperature of -10 ° C is considered quite acceptable for overwintering mustard. Spring planting is carried out a month earlier than the main crops that are planned to be grown on this site. Such terms are considered the most effective for the enrichment and disinfection of the soil. Not too high soil temperature contributes to a better development of the root system and the leafy part of mustard, which is a significant advantage over weeds. In addition, early spring sowing prevents cruciferous flea blight.
Sowing of white mustard is carried out in rows, in which the row spacing varies from 15 to 30 centimeters. When choosing early planting dates, seeds should be buried no more than 3-4 centimeters. When planting mustard later, the seeds should be buried a little deeper - by 8-9 centimeters. The sowing rate of white mustard is from 10 to 18 kilograms of seeds per hectare of land. These figures depend on the row spacing.
As a rule, white mustard takes root on almost any soil. For its cultivation, you can give preference to both light and heavy soils. However, good drainage is essential. The acidity of the soil also does not particularly affect the quality of the plant, but it grows best at pH=6.5. Mustard blooms both in the shade and in open sunny areas. Under favorable conditions, the first shoots can be seen within 2-3 days after sowing. Plant care consists in abundant and regular watering. Suchmeasures are due to the superficial location of a well-developed root system. Especially plentiful watering should be in dry conditions. No need to feed the mustard.
Digging and harvesting
If it is planned to prepare green manure from mustard, then harvesting is carried out during the flowering process. The plant is mowed and crushed, after which it is plowed into the green mass of cultural plantings.
In some cases, the flowering period is not waited, because the stems coarsen, and the duration of the decomposition of the plant increases. Immediately after the bevel of the green part, digging and thorough watering are carried out.
Harvesting for seeds is carried out after their full maturation. The stage of maturity of the pods is determined by their color - fully ripe specimens have a brownish-yellow hue. The collected material is stored in a dry and well-ventilated area. From one hectare you can collect at least one and a half tons of seeds.