Vintage Journal

  • Finding What Thrives in a Messy Vineyard

    The vineyard looks very different now than it has ever looked.  We have 12″ to 18″ of shoot growth which is not unusual, but underneath, in the tractor rows, we have cover crop that is still at least half a foot high.  Previously, I wrote about our conversion to no till farming as a way to improve the health of our soils and to reduce our carbon footprint.  Usually, by now, we would have mowed the cover crop close to the ground and tilled, on average, every other row.  This year when we mowed, we set the mower as high as we could, cutting tall plants like mustard but leaving the smaller plants underneath.  Now the blocks with the most mustard are filled with red clover and across the vineyard, flowers and other plants that would never have had a chance are thriving.  I’m sure our bees will love that.  It’s also a bit nerve wracking because we still have plants competing with our vines for water.  We don’t yet know what that will mean for the vineyard.  In the meantime, we are waiting, and watching, and learning. -Bill Sweat, Proprietor

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