Saturday, July 07, 2007

Natural Allies, Part Two

oyster shells amid the christmas tree field at the farm

Connie's Post:
Previously, i discussed helping along the bluebird population of the shoestring vineyard as a natural way to keep grubs down and give the vine one less thing to compete against. another natural ally in growing the perfect grape is the oyster shell. they creep up out of the soil all through out the farm, but most are found in the christmas tree field right in front of the farm house. gerald's dad, bernie, tells me its due to the turn of the century owners, who would consume the oysters and then toss the shells out into the field, leaving them to break down slowly, slowly over time. they and all the following owners and tenants of the farm would till them into the ground or run over them with a mower. the oyster shell "sweetens" the soil as it breaks down. we haven't performed an analysis of our soil to see the exact benefit, but here is a related article that gives you the idea what benefits the oyster shell brings to the grape:

recently, i've gathered up some of the oyster shells. they are starkly white and have a great texture. i've got a large round mirror that i'm encrusting with the oyster shells and some of the round pebbles commonly found on the property— so we'll have a bit of my husband's family farm history on the wall of our townie.

the oyster has played a large role in st. mary's and the chesapeake's past. while suffering a decline in population due to excess nitrogen and fertilizers in the bay, the oyster has many allies in this area, working together to give a little help to their friend.

No comments: