Keeping in mind you will need to purchase seed, purchase or hire special equipment, possibly irrigate and spend time on management, why would you plant between your vines?
The answer lies in the potential that different cover crops have and history delivers the proof.
The Romans, anchient Chinese and Indians have already used crop rotation in fields, orchards and vineyards to help break down soil borne and pest related disease cycles. Back then they also understood that one can use them to help control erosion, manage weeds and lift Nitrogen levels.
Agri chemicals and synthetic fertiliser abandoned the use of cover crops in conventional farming systems around the late 1940`s worldwide in order to enhance fertility, pest, weed and disease control.
Since late 1980 different groups of grower started to understand that cover crops are sustainable, reduce the risk associated with monocultures and are a very handy tool to manage soils in multiple ways.
Cover crops assist in regulating vine growth, water and wind erosion, weed control, improve soil fertiliy and the nutrient cyle in general, improve soil structure, stability and waterholding capacity, enhance biological diversity and activity in the root zone, provide habitat for beneficial insects, provide firm footing for harvest and cultural operations and are also very aesthetic when flowering.
The list of cover crops benefits is long but the increase of economic and ecological value of a vineyard strongly depends on choosing a suitable crop or mix for a particular setting together with an appropriate management strategy for that situation.
This is the real challenge, since every vineyard and every year is different. Our Newsletter provide information to help you make a better choice, sign up or download here.