This week the struggle with the great weed trident of LTRAS continued. As you can see from the picture above, the weeds are going to put up a fight. I started my week collecting data from the plants at the LTRAS site. I recorded the plants’ height, counted their leaves, and took damage assessments based on the percentage of leaf area missing. Several future bloggers will become familiar with this process. In this case, however, it was not quite as straightforward as it would seem. The weeds were encroaching on the milkweed plots, so hand weeding was necessary throughout the process. The last transect (far right in the picture) was so bad that I needed to pull out the hula hoe to clear some space around the plants. While I was at LTRAS I added a little walnut shell mulch to the center of the coco fiber mats as added protection.
We decided to bury the irrigation lines at LTRAS so we could till around the plots without butchering them. This required the rental of a trencher. I learned that this is both a very expensive and very slow machine… Not that I’m complaining. The machine can dig a trench more efficiently than I could, but it is in the hours-per-mile speed category. Since it took nearly a full, nonstop workday to trench three 250 meter sections, the machine would create a mile long trench in about 16 hours. It would probably be a bit faster if there weren’t any weeds in the way.
Data was collected from our chamberlain and Putah Creek sites as well, and the Putah Creek plants were watered. These sites required significantly less weeding than the LTRAS site, although the Putah Creek site will need some more effective weed control soon.
The plants at North Davis site were watered. Yolo County RCD made these great manifolds to help simplify the watering process (pictured above). After installing dedicated hoses to our irrigation lines, the process is nearly as simple as turning a valve. You’d think watering should always be that simple, but it used to entail finding a hose that wasn’t already in use and dragging it the right spot before watering. The manifold makes things much simpler, but it’s one spigot short. I’ll need to add onto it soon.