Sunday, 14 June 2009

The Mulching Begins

Gary, Philip, John (in the cab) and Darryl (from Laverstoke Park) with the spreader and the mountain of wood chip

Weeds are a big problem for organic vineyards, especially when the vines are trying to get established. After much debate we have settled on a mulch to control the weeds, comprising a mixture of green waste compost from Laverstoke Park and virgin wood chip from LC Energy. Last week we took delivery of 50 tonnes of compost and nearly 600 cubic metres of wood chip which arrived in 8 artic lorries.

We now need to distribute the stuff along the rows of vines about 30cm on each side and 10 cm high. To help us do this we will be using a special muck spreader which takes about one and a half tonnes per load. Only 150 loads to complete the job for the initial 5 acres!

Hopefully this will keep the weeds at bay for two to three years. We will be seeding an organic grassland mix between the rows.

Sunday, 7 June 2009

The new love of my life!

Dick Bray, from Oakes Bros, delivers the new tractor

Slim, sleek and a right little goer...... yes the tractor!

On Friday my new tractor arrived all the way from Italy. Now that I'm on the wrong side of 50, I have discovered that a new tractor is more exciting than a sports car and almost certainly safer (and cheaper) than a new woman!

The tractor is a New Holland and is specially designed for vineyards. As it is only just over a meter wide it will easily fit between the rows of vines when we're spreading the mulch, cutting the grass and spraying the vines.

The challenge now of course is to learn how to drive the thing which inside looks like the Star Ship Enterprise with more levers than you can shake a stick at. I'm sure that by the end of next week I will be fully competent as I'm on a tractor course with my good friend John Brockwell.

Motorists and walkers of Albury should take cover!