With the ground temperatures soon starting to drop (it is early November after all!) at Tenuta Le Mandorlaie we were deciding on the best way forward relating to fertilising our vineyard organically.
Last year due to excessive workloads and many farm projects we did not manage to get cover crops inut it was how it was then, the ground, I was very disappointed, this year we were determined to be more organised and get the organic BIO vineyard cover crops in late October or early November.
What are Vineyard cover crops, why are they used?
When you grow in soil, any soil, the plants you grow take water and nutrients from the soil, some plants are good at storing it and returning the nutrients as they die, other just require new nutrient sources every year. Vines are required to have nutrients in order to create foliage, stems and ultimately grapes so soil management is highly important to not only ensuring that our vines have the nutrients they need, but also that we are helping the eco system in the vineyard, ensuring that any pests that live there, also have natural predators, all in all we want to ensure that the vineyard eco system is as healthy as the soil.
Cover crops are usually a mix of grasses, legume/beans and clovers, these are all particularly good at working with the soil to not only make it healthier, through opening up the soil thus reducing compaction, but also to lock in nutrients that can be used by the grape vines.
Which cover crop did we choose?
As we wanted an overall mix of cover crops, we decided to work with SEMFOR seeds (Semfor semati italia) who have specifically designed an organic line of seeds that bioOrganic farmslike Tenuta Le Mandorlaie can use on their crops, vines and trees. The specific BIO seed mix we used is called ‘SEMFOR Special Vigneto BIO‘ and is available in 25kg bags.
For the size of the vineyard that we would be treating, we needed 100kg, this would cover half of the vineyard rows, we would be doing alternative rows, which would still then give us access to work through the winter without disturbing the vineyard cover crop.
How was the seed sown?
As this is the first year of using cover crops, we do not have the seed machinery required to most efficiently put the seeds into the ground, so the seed was hand sown into the vineyard rows after a very light disturbing of the soil. We hope that this will work out, grasses and the seed types present in the mix should germinate if the soil is moist and the temperature is higher than 5 degrees
Running the Farm estate of Mandorlaie is my full time job, ensuring that the grapevines, olive trees and vegetable garden is all healthy and producing excellent organic products for our clients. We produce Organic extra virgin Olive Oil and Organic wines which you can buy online.