Weeds, Cover Crop and Erosion

vine 7 8 11We had a late summer in Sebastopol….most folks around the country called it October…..so I didn’t get to my winter chores until the last week as we were enjoying the weather since it was so cold here this summer.

Until we came to Wine Country and planted “Turtle Vines” we did what everyone else does, clean the gutters, patch the roof, fix the furnace….that kind of thing.

Well, as soon as you are a farmer, you have to get ready for winter. (and always talk about the weather) For us that means getting the vineyard ready for winter. Last year we planted clover as a cover crop but it didn’t work well enough to keep the weeds away. We had a case of nasty flat weeds that covered the entire vineyard by the end of the summer. As you can see above, I rented a very large roto-tiller and spent 2 full days tilling our 2 miles of vine rows. Just image walking and turning with a 400 pound machine for 5 miles. That would be hard enough, but with the weeds, every 30 vines I had to go under the tiller and clean out the tines as they were tangled. That was a good workout for my lats. So a 6-8 hour job turned into 14 hours. Our new strategy for the end of 2010 and early 2011 is to out-compete the weeds. I am going to put 100 pounds of organic seed that will help the soil and hopefully keep the weeds away. Stay tuned for pictures.

If you remember last year, we had a little issue with erosion due to the fact that the soil was bare and vineyard drains were not in place. We put some in place last year, and now this year we have all of the house downspouts connected to a drain that ends up in the neighbors stream. In addition we enhanced the drain for the driveways. I’m hoping this will eliminate our erosion issue.

Now if I could just get the roof fixed and the paver projects done !!!

PS Raining today and so far the roof is not leaking. Will have to wait for a downpour to make sure.

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