by Sandy Swegel
Did you have fungus problems in your garden this year? Maybe powdery mildew on the squash? Or fungal blight on the tomatoes? One very natural way to treat your soil (rather than try to kill the fungus once it’s on next years’ leaves) is to plant mustard plants. Mustard planted now or in early spring, and then cut up and turned into the soil, acts as a “biofumigant” that can kill the unhealthy fungus that has made a home in your soil.
A big plus of planting it now is that you might get cute little plants now that will be a lush cover crop for winter. Some mustards turn a pretty purple once it gets cold. Some plants will die if you are in a very cold or dry area, but often mustards manage to survive and put out yellow flowers in Spring that are excellent first foods for bees.
Another excellent reason to plant mustards now is that just a few spicy leaves go a long way to making a salad interesting. I especially like the curls of the Japanese mustard mizuna. Mizuna pairs beautifully with the richness of feta cheese, some red onions, and a sweeter vegetable like cucumber. Yesterday a friend served a wonderful mustard salad with the last red raspberries of the year.
Photo credit: foodandstyle.com/mizuna-and-cucumber-salad-with-red-onions-feta-tarragon-and-champagne-vinaigrette/