Cover crops suppress weeds, build productive soil, and help control pests and diseases. We plant a variety of cover crops down the rows between the vines to naturally add nitrogen, control the vigor and keep the soil loose and moist, which reduces runoff and the need for irrigation. Then we compost those cover crops (along with all our other plant waste) to feed back into the soil.
Cover crops provide direct competition for weeds, which helps us control unwanted weeds without the use of chemicals.
Cover crops help promote good soil aggregation (groups of soil particles that bind to each other) allowing for better infiltration and retention of water. Cover crops “catch” nutrients and add or deplete nitrogen, depending on the crop and what the soil needs.
ATTRACTING BENEFICIAL INSECTS
We use flowering cover crops at Bonterra, such as crimson clover, which attract bees and other pollinators. Pests are also drawn to cover crops, which is ideal as this distracts them from our vines.