A really informative interview from one urban farmer to another. Curtis Stone the SPIN Farmer interviews Chris Thoreau from The Food Pedalers a co-operative growing microgreens for Vancouver. They are growing in a modified shipping container that is fully insulated and used for year round growth, it takes advantage of natural light as well as using artificial.They sell to anyone local; restaurants, wholesalers, grocers, farmers markets and families, all delivered on their push irons (bicycles).
Caliente Mustard Seed is not just a green manure it also acts as a “biofumigant” for the soil. Biofumigants suppress various soil borne pests and diseases by releasing naturally occurring compounds when you incorporate them back into the soil.
The foliage must be crushed or finely chopped for it to release a natural gas (isothiocyanate) which effectively reduces and suppresses a range of harmful nematodes and diseases in the soil.
The combination of biofumigation plus the digging in of the green material (organic matter), increases beneficial soil microbes, which out-compete pathogen microbes helping to keep soil diseases down.
Caliente Mustard is a Brassica so if problems are present with Club-root, Caliente Mustard will succumb to the disease so use appropriately within a rotation
The benefits of use for the home gardener for most crop and soil types are:
-Improved root systems and a measurable increase in yield of following crops
-Suppression of a range of soil-borne diseases including Verticillium wilt, Rhizoctonia, Pythium, Fusarium, and Sclerotinia
-Suppresses a range of harmful nematode species
Improved soil structure and fertility
-Suppresses weeds; mainly soft-seeded annuals, soon after incorporation
Caliente Mustard can be sown in spring or late summer for a quick crop, or mid-autumn for over-wintering in milder areas.
The finer the chop the better the result, running over the area with a rotary mower or strimmer to chop well before digging the chopped up foliage and roots into the top 15-20cm (6inches) of the soil within 20 mins of chopping up, otherwise 80% of the beneficial gases will escape into the air.
Rake the soil to a fine tilth and firm or roller to keep gases locked in. Water the area thoroughly.
Rest the soil for 14 days before sowing/planting new seeds/crops, then sow/grow crops as soon as possible to get the best benefits from Caliente Mustard.
Although I’m in the colder area I’m going to experiment and mix this in with my “field bean” crop for over wintering and cover with fabric, hopefully some will survive in amongst the field beans and I’ll dig the lot in come Spring 2015. I’m hoping they’ll survive in little “micro climate” pockets with the added assistance of the horticultural fabric.