Saturday, April 4, 2015

Planting grapes: Field prep

location of this planting on the farm. click for bigger version

I've got a couple of spots on my farm that are hard to use.  they're narrow, or too small to hay, or just a nuisance, but I'd like them to produce something.  So today I worked on planting a quarter acre of
table/juice/wine grapes; 4 varieties in all, 100 vines.
Piles of composted manure surface-applied, about to be plowed in
 Grapes are a relatively permanent crop; so any soil amendment I do is best done now.  I put composted manure down at a rate of 16 tons per acre, which sounds like a lot, but we're only talking about 1/4 acre, so I put down a little over 4 tons of compost.   Just brought it over with a dump truck and then used the front loader on the tractor to distribute it around the area to be planted.
Plowing in the compost
 Once the manure is down, I run the plow over the ground to mix the compost with the soil.

Driving post with bucket of trackhoe
 I grab Sean and he and I work on driving the posts in; a chainsaw carves a point into an 8" treated post, and the trackhoe bucket pushes it into the soil about 5' (they're 10' posts).

Smoothing soil and creating seedbed with harley rake
 once the posts are down, a couple of passes over it with the harley rake smooths out the tire tracks and breaks up the dirt clods and further mixes the compost and soil.
on right is plowed ground, on left harley rake finished seedbed
it leaves a smooth seedbed behind.    I finished today by putting in the ground anchors that will hold the end-of-line posts down.     I'll finish the prep and planting tommorow.  Partly sunny day; nice working weather.  maybe 60 degrees.  Very pleasant.    Greenhouse at 90 degrees again today -- good for the plants that are germinating right now.

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