In some parts of the vineyard, that have not yet faced the wrath of Vinomaker on his tractor, the cover crop persists. The crimson clover (Trifolium incarnatum) looks particularly cheery and spring-like caught lolling about in the glow of the late afternoon sun. It may seem a bit early, but I have already been giving some thought as to the cover crop I would like to sow this autumn.
As much as I like crimson clover it has a major drawback: it's flowers rise above the foliage and therefore it has to be left uncut, until relatively late in the spring, to facilitate reseeding. Delaying the first mowing in Vinoland for that long is not really feasible (think frost protection) and would have been nigh on impossible this year. The early winter rains, and plentiful sunshine in January, meant that it was necessary that the vineyard be mowed slightly earlier this year than is the norm. Whilst a cover crop of subterranean clover would be ideal as it tolerates close spring mowing, I'm leaning towards white clover (larger biomass than crimson), or soft chess (cv 'Blando' brome) depending on the availability (and price per lb) of these particular seeds.
As with most decisions in life, more research needs to be done - suggestions welcome.