The Mustard Plant; Napa and Sonoma Counties

Photo of mustard plants which are common in vineyards in winter.

Sonoma Vineyard with Mustard

One of the visual treats each winter and spring in the North Bay is the mustard that covers the ground in so many places.  It is especially common in the grape-growing areas of Napa ans Sonoma Counties.

Mustard is not native.  It was brought here by missionaries when they were scouting for mission sites. They carried mustard seeds in a sack slung over their backs.  Each sack had a small hole in it.  As they walked seeds would fall out and later grow.  Thereafter, it was easy to return to the sites previously chosen for missions.

Wine growers found mustard beneficial.  By planting it in their vineyards the plants held soil in place during winter rains that might otherwise erode soil around the roots of the vines.  The growers then began celebrating the colorful plant during the slow tourist months of February and March.  Visits to the wine country increased.

The mustard plant is also high in phosphorus.  When the vines start to leaf out the mustard is plowed under.


About Jim Coda

I am a nature photographer living in the San Francisco Bay Area. I specialize in photos of birds, mammals, and landscapes.
This entry was posted in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to The Mustard Plant; Napa and Sonoma Counties

  1. Charlotte Crackbon says:

    I didn’t know the mustard seed story either, beautiful pic. Reminds me of a Lance shot. Hope you
    enjoy taking spring pictures.

  2. John Wall says:

    Interesting story about the mustard. I’d never known it was brought here on purpose.

Comments are closed.