June vineyard update: happy soil, happy plants

The beginning of June is probably the nicest time of the year in the vineyards. The vineyards are covered with flowers and grapes start growing. And finally, the garden vineyard will – fingers crossed – produce a first serious vintage. Accompanied by thyme, lavender, chives and calendula the 20-ish co-planted varieties just had enough grapes to fill one barrique last year and although you can’t expect an enormous depth from such you plants the flavors are incredibly complex and unique. Will be a joy to fill a bigger barrel this year.

We also found time to do a lot of good things for our soil. One is compost tea of which there are all kinds of different versions. I actually find “tea” being the wrong word, as it is all about fermentation. The one documented below for example consisted of rain water (don’t want the chlorine from the tap water), some leftover lees from racking, a bunch of plants growing in the vineyards, self-made compost (tons of local microorganisms) and sugar. After a few days of regularly stirring it in the sun it had a lovely smell and went on the soil where compost was providing nutrition for the microorganisms to enrich the soil’s population. Happy soil, happy plants.

We also consequently sprayed effective microorganisms every time we had to mulch to make it compost better. Friendly little helpers.

With the fungus pressure being relatively low plant extracts help to strengthen the skins and reduce the amount of copper & sulfur needed. We collected a huge amount of horsetail one morning to make a big bin of tea (soaked this time, not fermented).

As everything kept growing rapidly managing an airy, well tucked canopy kept us busy that month too and we’ve been ending June with the vines being in really good shape.

What is becoming a problem though is the lack of rain. There was pretty much nothing this month. No problem for the big ones like above but all the babies we’ve planted the last two years are suffering and when the first ones started dying watering became a high priority. Let’s see what July has up in its sleeves.

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