Updated: Mar 9, 2019
Weed control can be a tricky problem for the organic farmer. Conventional farmers spray herbicide along the vine rows to stop weeds competing for nutrients and moisture. That’s not an option in organic farming. When I first planted the vines back in 2002, I sowed a legume/green manure mix between them to improve soil fertility and control weeds. The legumes were to fix nitrogen as nutrient for the vines, as well as aerating the soils with their deep penetrating root structure. “Mypex” weed control material was laid between the vines.
The Mypex is now full of holes, and weeds have started to take over between the rows. I’ve re-sown more clovers between the vine rows, but it’s hard to know what to do about the Mypex, as you couldn’t relay it between established vines. So I’m encouraging the low-growing clovers to spread between the vines as well as along the rows. I’m also experimenting with the best way to push the cuttings from between the rows to one side as mulch for the vines, so helping to reduce weed growth and conserve soil moisture.