Cover crops video: what we grow and why

by on May 20, 2010

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One of the key parts of sustainable farming is growing cover crops. Cover crops promote beneficial insect flight within the vineyards in early spring, allow us to incorporate high biomass organic material naturally back into the soils, regulate the growth of specific grapevines to enhance vine-to-vine uniformity, limit berry size to further concentrate flavors and help naturally control erosion.

Based on each vineyard block’s needs, we seed different types of ground cover to different rows in autumn, such as clover, mustard, insectary mixes and even fava beans, which like many legumes, help replenish nitrogen in soils that are deficient. Because we precision farm at Jordan, cover crops can even change within a single row if soil profiles vary. Our cover crops are primary annuals, but perennials, such as clovers and chamomile, grow naturally and never need to be seeded. With budbreak complete and flowering just a few weeks away, we’ve mowed the cover crops that have gone to seed and will make a tilling pass to incorporate the ground cover back into the soil.