Description. White mustard Sinapis alba is an annual plant of Sinapis genus of Brassicaceae family. It is grown for seeds, as a fodder crop or as a green manure.
The plant grows to 70 cm high, has a presentable leaf mass of pinnate leaves, it blooms profusely and forms pods filled with yellow seeds, about 10-15 pieces per pod, seeds 1-1.5 mm in size. White mustard blossoms from June to August, flowers are pollinated by bees, flies, wind. The fruits of mustard ripen in August.
Seed ripening takes place from July to September. The fruits have a weakly spicy taste, are used as seasoning for marinades or for sauces making.
White mustard is sowed at any time from March to August to any type of soil, which can be dug in the same year. In the southern regions, it is usually sown in the early spring and late February.
To fertilize the soil, mustard is sown in August-September, is left for winter and buried the next year. If the mustard has time to grow – it is possible to mow and bury the soil in autumn. But for greater efficiency mustard is sown in spring a month before the sowing time of the main crop, that practically include any vegetables, berries and salad greens.
Sowing of mustard is more effective in the previously prepared beds, and ridges need to be cleaned of weeds and vegetable residues after harvesting the main crop, fertilized with humus, about 1-2 buckets per 1 square. m of the bed, and if necessary, to be added with dolomite flour, dug and grabbed (level with rakes, breaking large clods of land).
Homeland of the white mustard is Mediterranean region, it is spread almost throughout Europe, America from here, got to India and Japan. In wild form it can be found in southern Europe, West Asia, and North Africa. In Ukraine it can be found interspersedly, mainly in Polissia and forest-steppe regions.
As a weed it is spread throughout the territory of Russia, except for its northern regions.
It grows in fields and along roads.
White mustard has a very extensive root system, grows up to one and a half meters, is able to absorb nutrients from sparingly soluble compounds of potassium and phosphorus. Due to this, the plant comfortably feels itself on all types of soils, except for light sandy soils.
The crop is very cold-resistant. Sowing is carried out at a temperature just above zero. Shoots can withstand frosts up to -7 degrees. Thanks to this, it is possible to sow the plant in early spring, so that to improve the soil and enrich it with nutrients before planting of the main crops.
In case of early spring sowing, the mustard does not require watering. Summer sowings should be well moistened immediately after planting.
Application. Mustard white is one of the most popular green manure crops. Plant roots have the ability to release organic acids into the soil, which in turn convert a number of trace elements inaccessible to plants from the soil, into an accessible form. These acids do not allow to accumulate some diseases in the soil dangerous to other plants (especially potatoes). High efficiency of white mustard as a green manure crop is achieved when embedded in the soil, done 8-12 weeks after sowing. Plowdown of mustard reduces the number of pests such as wireworms. Mustard embedded in the soil can prevent the effects of wind and water erosion of the soil after harvesting.
In a young and fresh form it is used as a livestock feed, is sown for a green fodder. It is also a harmful field weed plant. In northern India, white mustard is grown as a garden crop, and young leaves are used as vegetables in winter.
White mustard is an excellent nectariferous plant, gives nectar and pollen. Honey is of pale yellow color, and sugared one is of cream color, has an unusual taste and pleasant aroma, unfortunately it is unsuitable for bees wintering, because it crystallizes quickly.
White mustard is also used in cooking. Mustard oil and mustard powder are highly valued. Seeds of the white mustard are a part of seasonings and spices, they are used for prepared mustard cooking.
The seeding rate of mustard seeds is 10-15 kg / ha.