Saturday, June 25, 2011

And the earth brought forth grass...

...boy, has it ever this year! Vinoland is covered in more different varieties of grasses than I ever could have imagined. Even the Vinodogs are covered in grass in the form of fox-tails and other ingeniously shaped grass seeds. A combination of rain, sun, rain, and more sun will do that.
Vinomaker has already mowed the vineyard four times - that is double the usual number of times the vineyard has needed to be mowed in previous years. All of the clippings (and this includes the vineyard's leguminous cover crop) are left in place to become green manure. Although technically green manure is ploughed into the soil, Vinoland happens to be a no-till zone. The thick layer of mower clippings is simply left to break down, adding nutrients to soil and acting also like a layer of mulch that should suppress weed growth - I say should.
I used to take the humble blade of grass, or any plant for that matter, for granted. But, having taken a vineyard soils class, I now better understand the chemistry behind the conversion, by sunlight, of carbon dioxide into organic compounds. That which we call a weed by any other name, would still be photosynthesis - C6H12O6 rocks life in Vinoland.
The same sun, bright and high in the blue California sky, that feels so good on my winter-weary skin, combined with unseen soil nutrients (both micro and macro) and water, brings forth a multitude of grasses, weeds, trees, flowers, and grapevines. Apparently, the sun must also feel good to the Vinodogs as they can seemingly bask away an entire day in it's nap-inducing, warming rays.
Of the many different types of grasses growing in Vinoland right now; rye grass, common velvetgrass, rabbitfoot polypogon - to identify just a few in the above photograph - I think I like the big quakinggrass (Briza maxima) the best as it reminds me of little Chinese lanterns. Of course, Chinese lanterns don't aggravate my hay fever. Ho hum!


monkey said...

you can never have to much grass.....pass the munchies.

Thud said...

goddam hippies.

Vinogirl said...

Eeew! Monkey the skunky!