Champagne is going to pop tonight!!! I just finished the weeding project. In the past 2 days, 2 people from back east have hinted to Joey that I’m crazy…..”why does he do it?” Well, it is the satisfaction that things are done just how I like them. PS I sure hope all that carbon on the vineyard does not effect the nitrogen to the grapes….
Recap of this craziness……148 hours of my time, 39 hours hired to spread mulch with me, 2 miles of weed cloth 1 foot wide (that I had to cut with my chop box), and 69 yards of mulch. It cost around $2,500, but it should save a lot of time and aggravation for the next few years. By the way, I’m going to retire these lined jeans……I got a lot of use out of them the last 3 years.
January 6 – 1.5 hours
January 9 – 4.0 hours
January 10 – 4.25 hours + 15 yards of mulch
January 11 – 4.0 hours
January 12 – 8.0 hours + 14.5 hours hired
January 14 – 1.25 hours + 2 yards of mulch
January 16 – 6.5 hours + 2 yards of mulch
January 17 – 3.5 hours + 2 yards mulch
January 18 – 4 hours
Weeding in Janaury – 37 hours + 14.5 hours hired
You can see from the picture that the rows on the left have been weeded and weed cloth/mulch applied. Don’t you love the look! The ones on the right still have to be completed.
Nov 8 4 hours
Nov 9 3 hours
Nov 10 4 hours
Nov 12 6 2/3 hours + 6 2/3 hours hired
Total weeding project to date (I’m about 40% done with the weeding/weed cloth and 30% with the mulch)
64 2/3 hours(Doug and Joey) + 6 2/3 hours hired = 73 1/3 hours
Another 90 hours to go and then we will see how this turns out!!!
The plan is to do 133 vines/day which includes weeding/whacking/mowing/laying weed cloth and mulch to hold. Then I’ll get help to mulch it all at once. This will keep the weeds down. Should be done by early January….just in time to start pruning!!!
Nov 14 4 hours (Doug and Joey)
Nov 15 4 hours (Doug and Joey)
Nov 16 3 1/3 hours + 3 1/3 hours hired and 3 2/3 on fencing with 3 1/3 hired
Nov 29 4 1/2 hours
Nov 30 4 hours
Dec 1 5.5 hours
Dec 2 2.5 hours
Dec 5 3.5 hours
Dec 7 7.5 hours with 14 hours hired to spread mulch
Dec 13 4 hours
Dec 14 4 hours
Update….about 80% complete with the weeding/weed cloth (2100 vines) and have put in 111 hours with 24 hours hired and have spread 48 yards of organic vineyard mulch. Another 40-50 hours to go and 20 yards of mulch and then I’m on to pruning!
So…..we did the previous 16 rows by cutting the weed cloth inside in 20 foot sections. To much work! Now, we purchased the weed cloth and then cut it in 1 foot sections and rolled it out in the vineyard and cut it in place. The only issue is that when I cut it (since the cost from the vendor was double the price) the plastic material melts. So, I have to cut fast and only use smaller rolls so this does not happen.
Work is now progressing on the vineyard weed project…..here is the work so far:
10/17 3 hours
10/18 5.5 hours
10/19 4 hours
10/20 4 hours
10/21 2 hours
10/24 2 hours
10/25 2 hours
10/26 2 hours
10/27 2 hours
10/29 2 hours
10/31 7 hours, hired hours – all for septic
Total 35.5 hours with and additional 7 hired.
Again……probably 150 hours to complete this project. I’ll probably hire some folks later in the year when I get the process set. (and I get tired of doing it!)
So….last month I was trying several methods to get rid of weeds. Here is what I found out….raccoons like to look under cardboard…..some weeds grow through mulch…..mulch compresses and will hold up to mowing next to it…..cutting and laying weed cloth is a lot of work, but I hope will be worth it next year! The above picture is a before and after of applying the material and mulch. I think it looks fantastic and I’m hoping that it will look the same for many years to come.
Here is our process so far……cut the weed cloth into 1’ widths, cut to 20’ 4” (one section of the vineyard from highway stake to highway stake), cut 7” slits 40” apart so it will slide over the vines, slide them over the vines and adjust, put a little mulch on top to hold it down and then cover with mulch. My guess is for our 3150 vines that have 2 miles of vine rows it will take 300 hours and 100 yards of mulch at a cost of $3000….which does not include our labor. I think it is about a 1.5 year payback and the vines should grow better also! Will see how happy I am 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.