Ground Covers & Gardeners – bring vineyard practices into your garden.

This past harvest season we decided to splurge on a fancy new piece of equipment – a seeder attachment for our tractor! Not only is it an incredibly useful tool for effectively planting our cover crop, but it is a tool that we are able to share with our community other farming friends. While you may not need such a device for your own yard, you may still want to cover crop your veggie beds! So, we are here to share our cover crop mix and its benefits to the health of our vines, our soil and the overall ecosystem of our vineyard.

Living in a place with somewhat of a real winter, (if you’re an out of town reader, you may or may not be laughing at this) our garden beds usually go from looking lush and gorgeous over summer, to quite sad over winter. Cover cropping after you’ve pulled the last of your veggies can be a great way to spread some color into your winter/spring garden beds, as well as put life and nutrition back into them after a season well done. The mix that we use at the vineyard is a blend of nitrogen fixers such as peas, vetch and the vibrant eye catching crimson clover!

Crimson clover is a gorgeous cover crop to look at, but it also has many benefits to your garden (or your small home vineyard if you are lucky enough to have one of those). It is a sea of red during a grey Oregon Spring, and as mentioned before, a great nitrogen fixer. If you garden even a little bit, you are likely to be aware that nitrogen is good for your soil and good for keeping your plants happy. (There can always be too much of a good thing, as too much nitrogen can kill your plants, but a healthy amount can help them thrive!)

Not only is crimson clover a nitrogen fixer, but it has a lovely root system that helps build your soil structure, and can help to avoid soil erosion during heavy rains. ( whether or not you live in Oregon, this is a good thing!)

Crimson Clover is also a draw to bug and BEES. And we love bees. While grape vines do not need pollinators to continue to produce the delicious fruit that gives you wine – a healthy ecosystem around the vines helps us to produce soulful and lively wines that keep you coming back for more.

So consider this winter sewing some nitrogen fixing plant varieties into your garden beds, or even in lieu of a lawn. Our friends at One Green World nursery in SE Portland are a great resource for gardening tips, and you can read more about the myriad of plant varieties that can survive and thrive in the Pacific Northwest at their website here.