Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Why do wine makers plant mustard seeds in young vineyards?

Mustard planted in vineyard
Lately I have really been into wine making.

Unfortunately I do not  have the space to start making my own wine. All I can do is read books about it, and daydream about the day that I will be able to press my own grapes. As I was looking at vineyards, I noticed that many wine makers planted mustard seeds in the vineyards. In fact, in California´s wine country, many vineyards are awash in yellow mustard flowers.

When soil temperatures reach about 60 degrees, nematodes gear up to start damaging the vines. At this moment mustard seeds destroy the nematode reproductive cycle. Crisis Averted!

 The best type of mustard plants to grow are those with high levels of Glucosinolate, or extra spicy compounds. Examples of these are black mustard, nemfix mustard, ida gold mustard, oilseed radish, diakon radish and wild radish. Mustard plants help break down the nematode population just as they gear up to damage young vines. Young vines cam be very sensitive to nematodes.

Vine attacked by nematoid
Mustard plants are a great winter crop that does the work for the wine makers. They cover the crop, and act as a green manure releasing nitrogen into the soil. The seeds are so hot that they repel insects.

Plant mustard seeds early Fall. They need very little care and love cool weather. Mustard seeds should be harvested  when the plants begin to yellow. You want to leave them on the plants as long as possible, but before the pods burst open and spill their seeds. 

Gather up the seeds, then go over to my Delectable Dessert Collection Blog where I post several  videos on how to make Mustard. 


  1. This is so clever :)

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