As spring approaches, you may want to take a drive through the California vineyards to experience the beautiful mustard blossoms that grow there as winter comes to an end. Sometimes it grows there wild, and sometimes the vineyard manager purposefully plants it there. But why?
In addition to it's beauty, mustard provides valuable nutrients to the grape vines. As it turns to mulch it supplies the emerging vines with phosphorus. Because it contains high levels of biofumigants, mustard also helps decrease the nematode population, which is damaging microscopic worms.
The planting of mustard in the vineyards is not a new tradition. Legend has it that a Franciscan missionary started spreading mustard seed as he landscaped Californian church properties. Planting was as easy as carrying a sack full of mustard seeds on the back. A small hole in the sack would allow the seeds to escape and be scattered as the landscapers walked.