A Vine’s Best Friend
In honor of Earth Day, I bring you – Mustard from Dry Creek Valley blowing in the breeze, giving home to some very happy buzzing bees! This patch of yellow flowers was growing tall, in an otherwise fallow vineyard plot.
Not Just a Beauty
Mustard is not just a beauty. It does the hard work of many other cover crops (protection against soil erosion and compaction, home to beneficial insects, provides Nitrogen and other soil nutrients). But mustard also produces biofumigants – natural sharp, spicy chemicals in its roots and leaves – that naturally suppress nematodes (rude little microscopic roundworms that feed on vine roots).
Hard At Work
Though mustards growing between vine rows are profuse in Winter to early Spring, they’re usually tilled under just before bud break. You can find it growing strong year-round in land being prepared for replanting. Mustard not only promotes soil tilth and drainage, making the soil soft and ready for new vines, but those same peppery chemicals also cleanse the soil of any past fumigants.
*Fun Fact: Mustard seeds can survive in the soil for up to 40 years!
Re-growing naturally, Mustard is the gift that keeps on giving.