When there are many ways to achieve a desired result of increasing organic matter, moisture retention and weed suppression, we often compare the costs of the ways we can obtain these results or solve the problems.
In fact the cost is often the first thought that comes into our mind.
We make decisions based on the return on investment.
Viticulturists know that the health and sustainability of the soil in their vineyards is vital for maintaining vine health and increasing grape yield. Giving back to the soil ensures productivity and longevity of vines. Both growers and researchers in the field agree that the application of compost to soil is an indispensable aspect of current vineyard management.
A report tabled recently at Marlborough District Council’s Environment Committee has shown that the regions soils are at risk. Required under the Resource Management Act, the soil quality monitoring report determines the “life-supporting capacity of soil” and how current farming practice might impact on “the foreseeable needs of future generations".
A Soil Health Field Day, hosted by Wholesale Landscapes, will bring members of the viticulture industry together to discuss sustainable solutions for improved vineyard management.
Grape marc, the by-product of pressing grapes, can be dealt with easily in small quantities. With large acreages, Marlborough wineries are increasingly finding disposal of this substance problematic. Strict Council rules about disposal and storage further complicate the issue. Utilising grape marc as a soil conditioner is an option, but without additional material this substance can damage soil, vine and grape health. In this article, Simon Kemp, Wholesale Landscapes’ Horticultural Specialist, provides advice on optimising the use of grape marc in vineyards.
After many years of dealing with vineyards, we’ve come up with ten common themes displayed by ‘the best of the best’.
With current predictions indicating this summer will be long, hot and dry, what proactive measures can be taken by Top of the South viticulturists to prepare for the heat? In this article, we explain why the early application of composts or mulch to vineyard soil is highly recommended.
Marlborough vineyards are overcoming sodic soil conditions by the application of compost as mulch. In this article, Wholesale Landscapes looks at the problem and investigates methods of treatment.
Soil performs vital functions in our ecosystems. The soil stores reserves of water for plants, controls water seepage into streams and groundwater and reduces rapid runoff that could cause erosion and floods. The soil stores carbon, (storing about four times more than plants), so it helps minimise the release of carbon dioxide into the air. Soil microbes absorb nitrogen from the air and make it available as plant food. Nutrients are released as underlying rock fragments decay. Soil filters water and helps absorb and break down toxins.
Increasingly, large vineyards are yielding the benefits of giving back to the soil that provides for them by increasing organic matter through the use of products like Hort Compost. The Grape Days seminar, New Zealand Wine Growers annual technical event, held recently in Marlborough, had a focus on fighting disease, innovating and the future.
This month a US federal judge ruled hundreds of lawsuits against Monsanto Co by cancer survivors or families of those who died can proceed to trial, finding there was sufficient evidence for a jury to hear the cases that blame the company’s glyphosate-containing weed-killer for the disease.
Now, Monsanto, which makes Roundup, has been ordered by US Superior Court to pay $440 million damages to a Californian man who claimed herbicides containing glyphosate had caused his cancer.
What is Soil PH:
PH is the measurement of how acidic or alkaline the soil is. It is on a scale of 1-14 with 1 being most acidic and 14 being most alkaline.
Why it Matters and What Should My Soil PH Be?
PH levels matter because certain plants thrive in more acidic or more alkaline based soils. A simple search online will give you all the detail of what type of plants your soil is best suited for but in New Zealand we have a slightly acidic soil structure which suits most fruit trees and vegetables. Accuracy isn’t a major issue if it’s within 1.0 numeral in the PH scale the plants will be able to adapt to the soil type
How to Change Soil PH Levels?
Soil PH levels are changed through additives. This can be done through two ways:
The Difference between Organic Media and Fertilizers:
For Residential and small scale gardening, it is likely that organic media is best suited for your needs. This is because adding compost helps condition the soil and through this provides a long-term solution and source of nutrients to the plants. Organic media is also sustainable, renewable, and bio-degrable which equates to an environmentally friendly product. A disadvantage to Organic media is that if you are making a compost at home it can be hard to achieve an accurate and precise PH level unless done on a large scale.
How Much Fertilizer Do I Need?
The amount of fertilizer you need depends on the current soil and the type of soil. A sandy and silty requires less fertiliser where as a clay or a soil type with a lot of organic media requires more. This is because the organic media holds the nutrients better, as opposed to a sandy or silty soil type has a fast through put of water which means the speed of the fertilizer goes through is much faster.
Once Fertilizers are applied simple testing of the soil should be done on an ongoing basis to track the PH level as fertilizers can shift the PH level over time, especially in the first year of application. Changes mainly happen depending on watering, release stage of fertilizers, and amount applied.