When are weeds not weeds? When they enhance the growing environment for wine grapes.
Grape farmers have many options when it comes to selecting cover crops and each contributes differently to grape production. While the common mallow is not the first choice for a springtime vase filled with flowers and is often considered a weed, for the wine grape farmer, it is a welcome addition to the cover crop arsenal.
Common mallow is a hearty plant and is tough to kill, so while it may be the bane of any home gardener, its tenacity benefits the vineyard during less than ideal conditions. Like other cover crops, common mallow increases biomass of the soil when it’s tilled or mowed back in the spring and assists with frost protection by acting as green manure.
The mallow seed pod is also edible and looks like a cheese wheel, which is why this cover crop is sometimes referred to as cheeseweed.