Farming is nothing if not an interesting experience. The last few months our yard and vineyard has been plagued by an animal that was disturbing our mulch, ripping up my cardboard weed barrier in the vineyard and generally making a mess. So……I asked around and it appeared to be a racoon. So having never captured one I called around to see what it would cost to trap and relocate it/them. Amazing……$75 for 2 weeks of cage rental and then another $75 each time they trap one. My neighbor thinks we have 3 of them…..so $300. An then if they come back you have to spend more money. Well…..to much for me….so for $50 I bought a cage. It took me 6 tries to get the first one. He really liked marshmellows and organic peanut butter on gluten free bread. I took him out 8 miles away for greener pastures. Now I’m working on the next 2….hopefully they will all be gone soon as they love grapes and I won’t have any extra to spare next year.
My first year with weeds I resorted to pulling the big weeds and also flaming in the winter. The flaming was very successful but after you get growth on the vines, you can’t flame anymore, so weeds grow! I know it says second trial…but I’m going to try 3 things this fall/winter if I can get them designed.
1. Sonoma Country Landfill Organic Mulch – put this on 3” thick and see what happens.
2. Put down Ecocover mulch cardboard and then fill in with mulch between the plants.
3. Purchase round weed cloth to put around the plants and then cover with mulch.
4. Design a plastic frisbee like devise that has holes in it and put around the vines. This would be permanent and best for mowing. I don’t know anything that exists like this so might not get done this year.
RESULTS SO FAR AND ACTION PLAN
1. Just mulch is OK, but it will not be enough to keep the weeds away.
2. The raccoons liked the Ecocover composted cardboard product….they think grubs are hiding under them. In fact, they destroyed 30 of them! Including the ones that were covered with mulch. So, not going to work. And, they only last 9 months with mulch covering them.
3. Can’t find a frisbee product to work.
Almost gave up but now I’m going to invest time and money to hopefully fix this for a while.
I found 3’ wide weed cloth that will last 15 years and has markings so you can cut it in 1’ wide sections. I’m going to cut them 20’ long x 1’ wide and cut 6” in where each vine was planted (40” apart). Then I’m going to weed whack the weeds, put on the week cloth, staple where needed, and cover it with 2-3” of organic mulch. I think this should solve the issue of weeds in the vine rows, warm the vines quicker in the spring and save labor in the long run. I figure the return on the investment will be 1.5 years.
Come visit in the spring and see how it turned out
The top picture is with ecocover and mulch.