Soil Fertility the organic/biodynamic way
Fertility without chemicals
In order to grow and produce fruit, vines like any other plants, need ‘feeding’. In conventional vineyards vines are fed by spreading water soluble ‘chemical’ fertilizers on the land. In organic (and biodynamic) viticulture these fertilizers are prohibited and alternative methods are used. These can be farmyard manure, composts or green manure cover crops.
At Sedlescombe we use a variety of green cover crops which are chosen for their effects on the soil structure and soil fertility.
Not only do these crops improve the soil they also improve the vineyard as a habitat for wildlife. When they are in flower they attract a wide variety of insects into the vineyard and some bird species are also drawn into the cover and food source.
They also make the vineyard more colourful as you can see from this video.
After the green cover crops are cut down and turned under into the soil, soil microbes and earthworms set to work turning them into more food for the vines. Clovers, vetches and Lucerne are always part of the seed mix that we sow because these are ‘nitrogen fixing’ plants that capture nitrogen from the air and make it available to the vines as a food to help them grow.