What a better way to celebrate spring then sowing green manure by hand through the vine yards under sunny march skies?
Like so many of the gentle and environmentally sound farming techniques green manure is no new invention. People have been sowing seeds and growing crops specifically to benefit the soil's health for centuries but after world war 2 when man made chemicals were made to improve plant growth green manure sadly fell quickly out of fashion.
I am happy to say we are bringing it BACK!
Green manure is a crop that is grown specifically for the benefits of the soil, instead of being harvested the crop is turned back into the soil replenishing it's nutrients and energie. Green manure not only adds nutrients but also improves soil structure, aids in weed suppression, protects soil from erosion and drought and aids in pest control.
We sowed four different types of green manure between the rows of vines in each of our vineyards. Each soil is different and so we chose specific plants for each vine yard, including mustard, oats, phacelia and vesce. It was a big job (my arms are well defined) but it was also very rewarding. I can't wait to see all the flowers blooming between the rows of grapes growing this summer.
Now if we could organise a little spring rain......