Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Cover Crops: Improving Your Soil
Good morning, Growers!
I thought I'd pass this idea along, in case you're wondering if there's anything that you could be doing now for next spring.
Every year about this time, I make a mental note to myself to grow a cover crop in my patch to improve the soil quality by increasing the amount of nitrogen available to my vine in the spring. Plus, the amount of soil amendments I've added the last few seasons has raised the soil level to a degree that the neighbors are beginning to get concerned about their privacy. Last year, I grew some soybeans and the results were reasonable. This season, I am going to try Medium Red Clover (Trifolium pratense) since it will grow well even when planted in December in Southern California. I just ordered some seeds from Seeds of Change, www.seedsofchange.com, since they are organic and there's a 5% discount if ordered online. It looks like with application rates of 4 to 8 ounces per 1,000 square feet of planting area, 1 lb., at $5.50 will be plenty for most growers, with plenty to spare.
I'll be in touch with more ideas as they become available.