I’ve put a lot of energy into my vineyard. I’m not even mentioning the money.
The vineyard has kept me sane. It has been my escape, my solice. Going up that hill and getting dirty and sweaty has helped me keep a mental distance from all sorts of negative things.
In its fourth year, it is starting to look like this project will not be a success. The vines grow fine and they bear fruit. The problem is the local wildlife.
Last year, my crop was decimated. The nets were shredded.
The same is starting to happen this year.
Things have been going nicely, despite the powdery mildew issues earlier in the season. I had successfully netted the vines, weeded and gotten the site looking good:
But less than a week ago, trouble started. I found brand new netting torn, canopies mangled and fruit stripped. This is either vandalism or raccoon damage:
I fixed the damage to the netting and applied pepper oil around the perimeter of the vineyard in hopes of deterring raccoons:
As this has proved ineffective, I am left with no alternatives. I cannot shoot or trap and relocate these vermin. They love grapes more than avocados, figs, peaches, apples and any other fruit people grow in their back yards.
You can’t have urban gardens and outlaw trapping and depredation at the same time. Something has to give.
If you want to hug and love wild critters that encroach on human habitat, you have to accept that your food will come from those evil agricultural behemoths who exterminate pests en masse. Even small farming operations depredate aggressively.
I’m going to try to salvage what fruit I can this year, but it looks like there will be no vineyard on Mt. Washington.
Afterthought, 9/27/2012: Some have said I overreacted to the damage. I don’t think I did. Nevertheless, I am willing to try a few other measures to keep the raccoons out of my vineyard. I’m afraid that this will cost a pretty penny.