Vineyard Cover Crop January 21, 2019 22:27

Winter Time
All the leaves are gone and the vines stand bare
like woody sculptures.

But there is something green out there.
It is this Cover Crop.
This is how it as it looks right now in January.
It will often grow to be nearly 4 feet high.

These are the organic seeds. A blend of peas,
fava beans, barley and oats.

To improve the health of my vineyards
I introduced a yearly cover crop.
It builds tilth in my rocky soil. It develops a spongy
top soil that will retain rain water longer into summer.

The cover crop is food for many earthworms that nourish the soil.
Tons of additional organic matter, plowed in,
increases the volume of top soil.
Legumes release nitrogen to be available to vine’s roots.

A healthy vineyard means beautiful grapes,
a happy winemaker and delicious wines.

How I Do It.

In the fall.
I soften the soil by plowing with a disc harrow.

Then I drill the seeds.
Wait for rain to germinate the seeds and 
let the cover crop grow all winter until April
when it is big and tall.

In the spring
I mow down the cover crop and
mix the organic matter into the soil with Disc.
Then I've got some nice dirt for my grapevines.

Normally I need to mow down the cover crop before the legumes
and grains ripen. But occasionally timing allows me to be able to pick some favas. I enjoy them as a nice fava bean salad with a glass of cinsaut.