Monday June 20, 2016
The Hidden Wonders of Compost
Last month we discussed various soil types found in our vineyards, and you learned the importance of matching a plant with its favored soil type, as well as the impact a soil can have on a plant. This month we will learn a little about the different things we do to keep our soil healthy and productive.
Each August we take soil samples to gauge if the soil is balanced or is lacking in certain nutrients. Then we compare them to the previous years to determine where changes occurred and to forecast future needs. To meet the needs of the soil and offset the stress that the vines place on the soil, we introduce a mineral-rich compost mixture to the vineyard.
Working with a regional compost supplier, we have come up with the special blend of compost, organic fertilizers, and other minerals important for soil health that is tailored to the needs of our vines.
What is Compost?
In its simplest form, the process of composting is the act of allowing a host of tiny microbes such as fungi, bacteria, actinomycetes, etc. to decompose a mixture of organic matter. This organic matter must be an appropriate balance of carbon-rich and nitrogen-rich ingredients, with the right amounts of water and air to produce a quality compost.
What is a Quality Compost?
A quality compost is a mixture that has been broken down into a rich, black hummus-like texture that contains stable nitrogen compounds that will supply your plants with a slow release of minerals. This finished product is also a wellspring of microbial life and adding these microbes to the soil can also enhance the uptake of minerals into the plant, as well as assist in breaking down other organic matter such as dead leaves and sticks.
Why Does Composting Matter?
Our commitment to feeding the soil with compost rich in biodiversity, rather than feeding the vines with chemical fertilizers, is one of the many ways we strive to respect our soil, and thus our farm, and thus our wines and you.
Healthy soil means healthy vines, and you know what that means...Great wine! Check out the vineyard on your next trip to Shady Lane Cellars.
Vineyard Manager - Shady Lane Cellars