Look, I loved my time in California. I love my time in Texas. So here’s some “Crazy Hippie” research that started in Cali but I’m seasoning with Texas pragmatism. Like Hippies, this article meanders and is dense and crunchy. Like Texans, this article keeps it light and cuts through the noise. Peace and Love, Y’all.
Beneficial Insects & Cover Crops
Good bugs and good plants are fantastic. They work and they help. But… you need to think “native” and “diversity“. History is littered with examples of introduction and re-introduction failures. Nutrias. Squirrels. American Burying Beetles. Some do adapt. Like, New York rats switching to a pizza-based diet. Yet some fail and aren’t sustainable. And some do WAY TOO well and, well… guns, or fire, or both are required to solve that new problem. Examples that have worked for me include planting insectary flower mixes along riparian/border areas to foster predatory wasps that feed on Sharpshooter eggs. Sharpshooter populations will be reduced and Pierce’s Disease incidence in your vineyard drop but it will not kill ALL the Sharpshooters. You may also be deciding between tilling in the vineyard vs. permanent cover crop. But the High Plains is a hard-scrabble climate for a “permanent” cover crop, so maybe consider a “semi-permanent” cover crop? Plant it out densely in a wet year and get several good years out of it, then till it and restart after drought spells? Or do every other row on a 3 to 4 year rotation cycle? Point is, cover crops are helpful so it’s often worth adapting to your situation. Don’t believe me? Here’s research showing cover crops drive vine roots lower in the soil. And here’s research showing broad benefits to cover cropping.
Just give peace a chance, man. Otherwise, you’re all hat and no cattle.
Stay tuned for Part 3, pardner!