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2019 Season Recap: Planting Kodiak Mustard in our Central Arkansas Raised Beds as a Cover Crop

Once my 2019 raised bed garden was pretty well finished I cleaned and tilled my beds and placed all of the remaining materials into compost and began researching cover crops. I have had the privilege of working w/ multiple commercial growers the past few years that utilize cover crops on their large scale farming operations and the science (as well as the results) pretty well speaks for itself –so I knew I was going to throw something into my soil to build it up for the 2020 growing season.

After doing a lot of research I finally arrived on Kodiak Mustard as the specific cover that I would use, found the seeds on amazon pretty cheap.

Kodiak mustard is a soil building “green manure” cover crop. Sown after your spring, summer and early fall crops are finished, it will protect and restore your garden soil for future plantings.

This especially high biomass mustard germinates and grows quickly, producing an abundant leafy canopy that suppresses weeds and captures and stores soil nutrients, preventing them from leaching out in wind and rain.

When returned to the soil, plants release nutrients, improve drainage and aeration, and add abundant organic matter that feeds beneficial soil microbes and increases earthworm populations. Kodiak mustard also has a natural bio-fumigation effect on the soil, helping to control soil borne diseases and suppress nematode activity.

See the photos below to view the cover crop from beginning to end…

There are three ways to incorporate or terminate your mustard crop:

Method 1: When mustard is 5 to 6 inches tall, use a garden fork, shovel or rototiller to turn plants into the ground to break down and enrich soil for planting, which takes about a month.

Method 2: When mustard is about 1 foot tall, pull plants out, shake off soil, and then compost plants to incorporate into soil later as finished compost. Timing depends how long your composting process takes.

Method 3: When plants are 1 foot tall, weed whack the mustard to chop it down. Cover the chopped crop with black plastic to hasten decomposition and then turn the nutritious residue into the soil 2 to 3 weeks before sowing garden crops.

Have you ever used a cover crop on your raised bed garden? If so, feel free to share more in the comments below…

About Cotton Rohrscheib

I've been an entrepreneur my entire life and have been blessed to have been associated with hundreds of startups and projects throughout my career. A few years ago I started offloading many of my business interests to spend more time w/ my family and retool my focus toward the agricultural industry, ultimately I landed at Farmers Business Network, Inc. w/ a great team of people w/ shared mission / vision and the rest is history! I still operate my personal website & blog occasionally on topics of interest to me including; parenting, agriculture, technology, and whatever else comes my direction! My blog, cotton.buzz, is the product of over 20yrs worth of content, photos, podcasts, videos, etc., and all of the content I produce is mine personally, and only represent my views and/or opinions on topics and do not represent any of the businesses or associations I'm affiliated with.

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