We just picked up our 200 gal of Vermigrow, or compost made from the castings of earthworms! The science is not new. “Vermiconversion,” or using earthworms to convert waste into soil additives, has been done on a relatively small scale for some time.
Vermigrow Products feed your soil’s “food web” more effectively developing it’s root zone. This dramatically affects how efficiently available nutrients are assimilated by any plant.
A worm casting (also known as worm cast or vermicast) is a biologically active mound containing thousands of bacteria, enzymes, and remnants of plant materials and animal manures that were not digested by the earthworm. The composting process continues after a worm casting has been deposited. In fact, the bacterial population of a cast is much greater than the bacterial population of either ingested soil, or the earthworm’s gut.
Worm castings contain a high percentage of humus. Humus helps soil particles form into clusters, which create channels for the passage of air and improve its capacity to hold water. Humic acid present in humus, provides binding sites for the plant nutrients but also releases them to the plants upon demand. Humus is believed to aid in the prevention of harmful plant pathogens, fungi, nematodes and bacteria.
ALERT FROM CAL FIRE : September-December 2015 El Nino Outlook
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If you would like to read more about this technique, here is an (old) but good article.
Temecula, CA, April 8, 2015: Vindemia Vineyard & Winery announced today their recent success in significantly reducing their water usage in the vineyard during this drought, approximately 35%, for its fourth year. This results as the State of California has suffered a severe drought during recent years.
The company credits the use of Deficit & Partial Rootzone Irrigation with the ability to conserve water at such an impressive rate. This technique is not new to the world of wine; in fact, much of the data provided on the subject comes from Vineyards in Australia who suffered massive droughts in 2003-2012. Many think California could be in this drought for the long haul, with some, like Vindemia Winery, deciding to be the change not the problem. David Bradley's, the Wineries owner, goal is to lead the charge on responsible farming in the vineyard.
"Oh, by the way, it makes great wine!” Bradley noted.
Bradley realizes you can’t ask too much of the vines, the overall net water saving must be looked at over the period of four years.
“At some point in the 3rd or 4th year the climate will require you to give the vines a rest from the stress” Bradly explains.
The vines, during the years of water stress, will produce smaller berries and a higher quality grape.
Located in Temecula, CA, Vindemia Winery is one of a handful of wineries
out of the experimental phase and onto implementing Partial Rootzone irrigation
in the State.
Reducing water consumption by 25%- 40% could actually lead to better wine!
Pruning/trimming a whole vineyard can result in a lot of clippings and excess plant matter. One option, which can actually help to improve the quality of the soil, is to burn the plant matter in order to produce a soil amendment called Biochar.
By replacing conventional open burn methods with conservation burn, you can radically reduce emissions (visible smoke and invisible chemicals and particles) from agricultural burns and conserve resources, especially carbon.
When adding Biochar to soil, it is beneficial acting as holding cells for nutrients, moisture, and beneficial microorganisms.
Many times, while driving through vineyards or farms, you will see these odd boxes perched upon a tall pole. These are Owl Boxes and are used to encourage native owl populations to settle in a given area.
Before the overuse of pesticides, Owls were the farmer's best friend when it came to rodent control. A single Barn Owl can consume 53 pounds of gophers in a year (or about 3,000).
The toxic active ingredient in Monsanto’s "Roundup" herbicide, was “classified as probably carcinogenic to humans” according to a new report from the World Health Organization.
In our vineyards at Vindemia, we utilize more health-conscious methods of weed control - such as tilling & weed whacking. We stopped the use of "Roundup" nearly 4 years ago and this recent research supports what we have already been doing.
From our family to yours, we seek to cultivate wines grown in a healthful and sustainable environment that all can enjoy .
In March 1975. in the March–April issue of the Magazine, Issue No. 32, John Shuttleworth said in the second installment of the Plowboy Interview:
"For at least 20 years now, I've been getting an increasingly uncomfortable suspicion that all the major nations of the world — capitalist and communist — suffer from the narrow delusion that only people, and people alone, have any rights on this planet. Further, that human wants, needs, and desires — seemingly the more capricious the better — should be instantly gratified. And further still, that this can always be done in a strictly economic frame of reference.
In short, I think that we live in an unbelievably marvelous Garden of Eden. Surrounded by miraculous life forms almost without number. Kept alive by a mysteriously interwoven, self-replenishing support system that, with all our scientific 'breakthroughs,' we still do not understand.
And yet, as favored as we are by all this real wealth, we somehow perversely prefer to spend almost all waking hours interpreting the sum total of this reality in terms of the narrow and distorted, strictly human-centered concept of money."
Caring for the future…
Just about any farmer, gardener, landscaper or groundskeeper will inform you the wellbeing of the plant is directly related to the health of the soil. They will also tell you that a “living” soil is a healthy soil. Sustainable farming techniques yield wines that are more complex, better balanced and more reflective of the terroir from which they came.
One of our primary goals is to keep our vineyard soils as rich as possible in microorganisms. To achieve this, we have introduced a number of farming procedures modified to our unique location.
For nearly all pest and fertilization situations we are able to utilize natural methods and applications to solve a problem or accentuate a positive circumstance. Non-natural controls are administered rarely and only as a last resort.
Compost is added to the soils to help retain moisture and improve water circulation. This is a key aspect of sustainable farming. Natural fertilizers are used to help add life to the soils, supplying bacteria, photo nutrients and trace elements. Leaf tissue analysis is used to help amend soils and bring soils back in balance.
Preservation of Native Flora & Fauna
All native plants and grasses along waterways and vineyard margins are left untouched to encourage populations of beneficial insects. Non-indigenous plants that harbor harmful grapevine pests are removed. The reflection of this native flora & fauna can be discerned in the ambiance of the final wine product.
Weeding and Mildew Management
Because we preserve the natural habitat we are gifted with a healthy population of beneficial insects that keep the harmful insects to a bare minimum. We do not use pesticides. Spray calibrations are closely monitored. This keeps populations of beneficial insects in our vineyard. Grape vines are susceptible to mildew infection which we are able to control with sulfur and mineral oil applications. Strip spraying is done only where needed, minimizing usage by maintaining narrow strip spray patterns. Equipment such as spray nozzles, hoses, tanks and pumps undergo routine maintenance to ensure that the proper amount of fungicide is being used.
We are watering between rainstorms to mimic the regular winter season. This practice allows us to keep the soil moist so when we do have even the slightest rain fall, the ground
The Promise of Sustainability
Ecologically-sound agriculture is a necessity for the long-term health of our planet and all of its inhabitants. At Vindemia Vineyard & Winery, we understand the responsibility we have to protect our land for our customers, employees, local communities and future generations.
We are happy to say that Dylan Bradley earned his Pilot’s License this Thursday!
Growing up in a ballooning family means that the oldest Bradley child was introduced to flying at a young age. Dylan has been helping his family with California Dreamin’ since he was young and started on earning his license when he was just fourteen. He now has his Private Pilot’s License and will be an even greater asset to the California Dreamin’ Balloon Adventure venture. Dylan says that getting his pilot’s license was “a long process. I started crewing when I was a kid. But I am happy to finally have my license.”