Row by Row Episode 33: Using Biofumigation to Manage Garden Pests

Biofumigation in the Vegetable Garden

On this week’s episode, the guys discuss using biofumigation as a sustainable technique for controlling harmful soil pests like nematodes. Travis begins by describing how biofumigation works so different plants like brassicas will release certain compounds when their leaves are broken down into the soil. Brassicas and mustards both have those different compounds known as glucosinolates. Broadleaf mustard is a great cover crop to use for biofumigation. Travis talks about a plot that he has grown throughout the fall in an attempt to remove nematodes that he found on an okra crop. When certain crops (like mustard) are chopped and incorporated into the soil, they release chemical compounds that fumigate the soil and kill harmful soil pests. Biofumigation is great for nematode control, weed pressure, and fungal diseases. Also, it helps with Verticillium and Fusarium Wilt.

They talk about best practices for incorporating the biofumigant crop into the soil, including what equipment to use and when to do it. Travis says they recommended having your soil pH as close to neutral or 7 as possible. Another recommendation is adding nitrogen or the nutrients before you plant. They mention that the plant leaves must be adequately chopped for the biofumigant chemicals to be released. This is best done with a tiller or a harrow. The chopping and incorporation of the biomass are also best done when the soil is somewhat moist. Due to the release of the biofumigant gases, it is important to not plant anything in that area until the cover crop is completely decomposed. This will ensure any of the biofumigant effects do not affect the following crop.

Show and Tell Segment

On the show and tell segment, the guys talk about the large amounts of rain they’ve been having and how it has impeded their ability to cultivate the garden. They mention that they have been unable to inject fertilizer through the drip system, but have been side dressing using Chilean Nitrate. Greg used the fertilizer on his onions, radishes, mustard, and beets in the vegetable garden. Travis talks about his onions and how he’s been fertilizing them regularly lately. They guys also answer some questions that viewers have been having about when you can suspect to see our new seed lineup on the website. They also talk a little bit about the start of construction on our new climate controlled seed room. The guys share their tool of the week which is Broadleaf mustard. It is not only great to eat, but it also offers disease and weed control in your garden. We offer the mustard in a one, five, and ten-pound bags.

Viewer Questions Segment

On the question and answer segment, the guys answer a wish from a viewer. Travis reads a letter from a 16-year-old boy who raises chickens for egg production to sell at the farmers market. The boy grows his own corn for feed and was having trouble with weeds hampering his corn production. The guys were glad to grant his Christmas wish and send him a new High Arch Wheel Hoe and some attachments to help him grow more corn for the future.

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