If you have visited the mountains of Cyprus during spring then you have definitely noticed the wonderful yellow veil covering the majority of vineyards. This beautiful scenery is created by the Mustard plant otherwise known in Cyprus as Lapsana. For most people mustard might be an annoying weed but in reality it can offer a lot to a vineyard.
In Cyprus we have plenty of white mustard (Brassica hirta / Sinapis alba) because of our sunny weather, limestone soil and limited rainfall. Mustard is used mostly in organic vineyards as a cover crop. Mustard protects the ground from erosion, retains the moisture in the ground and protects the grapevines from nematodes.
Nematodes are tiny worms that feed from roots, this reduces the amount of water and nutrients a plant can take. The grapevines end up been weak, underdeveloped, unable to produce grapes and hopeless against diseases. Nematodes are responsible for spreading the Grapevine Fanleaf Virus (GFLV) which causes chlorosis (yellow leaves) and eventually loss of grapes.
The incorporation of mustard in the ground acts as a natural biofumigant which helps to fight off various diseases and nematodes. Because during the process you incorporate in the ground green material this also improves soil structure and increases soil microbial activity.
At Fikardos Winery’s organic vineyards we enrich the soil and fight off diseases using only natural methods.