Planning a Vineyard

We have a hillside picked out for our vineyard and below are some ideas and research we plan to use when we install the trellises, pick the type of grapes, and upkeep the vineyard.

Trellises and Setup

  • GenevaCurtainTrellisRows should never be closer together than the trellis is high.  (Common in MO is 10′)
  • In Missouri, spacing between vines in the row commonly varies from 6 to 8 feet.
  • Many areas of Missouri are windy and it is best to orient the rows so the prevail- ing winds blow down the row and not against it.
  • It is better to orient rows across hillsides or slope than to orient rows up and down to prevent erosion and for more efficient irriga- tion design.
  • Often it is mentioned that rows should be oriented north and south to better intercept the sunlight, but this is not as important a consideration in Missouri as slope and prevailing winds.
  • Geneva Double Curtain provides great support and sunlight to the vines.

Cultivars

  • Mars is a 1985 Arkansas release. It is a blue-black, seedless table grape with medium berry size and small, loose clusters.  Foliage and fruit are less susceptible to the major grape diseases but some spray program will be needed.
  • Sunbelt is a 1993 Arkansas release that has vine and fruit characteristics that are very similar to Concord.  Fruit of Concord can ripen unevenly during warm maturing seasons; Sunbelt is less prone to this. A good spray program is necessary to control disease with Black Rot being a major problem.
  • Catawba is a red grape for table fruit, juice and wine with large berry size and small, loose clusters. A good spray program is necessary to control disease with Black Rot and Downy Mildew being the major problems.  It is typically made into a sweet, blush wine or used in blending.
  • Niagara is a white grape for table use, juice and wine with large berry size and medium, loose clusters.   A good spray program is necessary to control disease with Black Rot being a major problem.
  • Reliance is a 1982 Arkansas release. It is a red, seedless table grape with medium berry size and medium to large, loose clus- ters.  A good spray program is necessary to control disease with Black Rot and Anthracnose being the major problems.

Natural Disease Prevention

  • Preventive sprays with a 1-part-milk to 5-parts-water solution can minimize powdery mildew.
  • Treat black rot with regular sprays with organic, copper-based fungicides, even if the variety is disease-tolerant. Microbial fungicides based on Bacillus subtilis (such as Serenade) can also offer significant protection.
  • Tulle netting can help protect plants from hungry birds.
  • To prevent black rot raise your grapes higher than 1.5 meters to prevent evaporation from the soil to reach leafs.
  • To prevent black rot dissolve 4 tsp. of baking soda into one gallon of water. Pour mixture into spray bottle. Spray over grapes and vines as soon as the fruit starts to grow. Use it once a week for the entire grape growing season.

Sheep-Grazing-in-vineyard

Sheep for Weed and Grass Maintenance

  • Do not use sheep in blocks of young vines or blocks with a lot of replants. You can protect replant vines with vine guards, but ensure they cover the full height of the sheep’s reach i.e. 0.9 to 1.2 metres. You may have to stack one guard above another to cover this height. 
  • Using sheep in areas that may cause them stress is not recommended – this includes residential areas with dogs, near wineries with a lot of traffic/people moving around, or areas with inadequate shade. 
  • Be careful not to let sheep into areas that contain shrubs and plants that may be poisonous to them as ewes will eat anything when hungry.

Best Breed of Sheep for Vineyard Care

sheep-babydoll-vineyard

Babydoll Southdown Sheep

sheep vineyard

Romney Sheep

Sources: Growing Grapes in Missouri, Homemade Green Pest ControlA guide to using sheep for leaf-plucking in the vineyard 

Electric Fence!

Last weekend we expanded the electric fence from 1 acre to 5 acres! The fresh spring grass has started growing and our dairy cows love it. They had eaten their paddock pretty bare and weren’t interested in the hay so we pounded in a bunch of our scrap posts(leftovers from solar installations from Kev’s company), added insulators, and strung the new fence. The cows are super happy now and roam all over their new area. I love seeing them exploring it.

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Five Bet’s Jade Meadow Twilight

imageFive Bet’s Jade Meadow Twilight
“Twilight”

 

We picked up Twilight in Arizona while on our vacation!  It was a great time bonding with her and Kevin figured out traveling with a puppy isn’t too bad.  😀  Twilight was named and is loved by our little Ty.  I suggested Ebony or Twilight for the little black puppies name and Ty picked Twilight.  Her favorite “My Little Pony” is Twilight Sparkle so I wasn’t surprised by her choice.  Twilight has a calm temperament and was a joy to have on the trip.  She was easily crate trained and is working on her obedience training.

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Rabbit Paddock Fencing Ideas

Last spring we installed one rabbit paddock and had our fabulous welder friend come and help us attach the wire fence to the posts.  We had planned on putting a wooden rail on top but we haven’t gotten to it yet.  So this spring we plan on finishing up the first paddock and adding several more rabbit paddocks for our growing colony.  Here are a few samples of what we are looking to do.

    

Dream Coop on Wheels Ideas

We love the taste of free range chicken.  The grease is so delicious and good for the body.  The taste is amazing and it’s hard to eat conventional chicken again once you’ve eaten true free range chicken.  For our family we need 100 broilers a year for meat.  Cornish cross broilers you only need to raise for 5-7 weeks before you harvest them.  Heritage breed chickens take up to 12 weeks to grow out.  One bird needs 2-3 sq feet of space in a coop depending on the breed.  For our farm we want a moveable coop to make the chickens a working part of the whole farm.

Our plan is to grow broilers from April-June in a moveable coop free ranging during the day, and in the coop at night.  The coop also needs to work for winter for our laying hens.  So we searched google looking for ideas for moveable coops and here are a few ideas.

 

 

  

So above were all the pictures of the chicken coop trailers.  Now I just need to figure out how to combine the trailer with some nicer design aspects like pictured below.

 

 Great website with pictures on how to process free range chickens!

Puppies at the Farm

We’ve had quite the spectrum of weather in the last few weeks.  From major snow fall, to crazy winds, 60 degree days, to 5 degree mornings.  The dirt drive of our farm has been a muddy mess this week.  Kev has done a lot of hiking in from the road to do chores.  (We really need a 4WD truck!)  Today we met a couple out at the farm who were looking at two of our puppies.  The drive was too muddy for our minivan so we parked at the road and hauled the puppies up to the farm.  The puppies ran around playing with their parents in the field having a great time.

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7 Week Old Puppies

Today was quite the day.  We bathed, blow dried, and took photos of all the puppies.  Then we loaded up and went to the vet.  Puppies are up to date on their shots and worming.  We are shipping and meeting their new families this weekend!

CandyF Blaze ErosF RoseF3 ValF1 BeauF Crush

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 Please visit our FOR SALE page to view available puppies and pricing.