Monthly Archives: January 2011

Pruning and Weeding

P1040793The second year of the vineyard is still all about weeding and establishing the vines in the soil to be healthy. So, yesterday we pruned all of the vines back to where they started last spring when we planted them. I just hope that the root system is well established and will provide a base for the coming year. The hope is that this year they will grow to about 6’ tall.

For all those of you wondering if we will have grapes this year…..yes and no. The plants will put out grapes but I’m supposed to cut them all of so the plant will continue its vegetative growth. So sad!!!

Lastly, an update on the weeds. I put some pictures in for your view. Again my process is going to be: pull out the big weeds, remove the weeds from the field by wheel barrow, weed whack the rows, mow, flame the vine rows……and repeat all year long. What fun.

Grow Tubes

rainbowGrow tubes for vines are a very interesting proposition…..
– Do you need them or not? grow tubes help prevent frost damage, help the plants grow due to their color and protect from rabbits and deer…..but they are a pain when you need to prune/tie.
– What are you going to do for weed control? If you are going to spray with Round-Up you need grow tubes the first few years so you don’t kill the vines. Also, they protect the plants from weed whacking.
– New or used? New grow tubes cost anywhere between $0.75 and $1.25 depending on the type and volume. Used grow tubes $0.20 to $0.25 but they won’t last as long. As you can see from the picture below I probably lost around 10% this year due to degradation…..the sun is bad for them and they probably can be used 5-10x before they crumble and break. In my case, I had a very nice vineyard manager loan me 1200 tubes which I’m returning on Tuesday….thanks Klopp Vineyards !!! The rest of mine I will try and sell to someone else this year.

Oh, one funny thing…..I have a new vineyard manger this year who showed up and said it was time for me to put the grow tubes back on…….NOT going to happen…..don’t have rabbits or deer, no round-up and I’m now good at weed whacking and will be easier to tie up the vines without them. As for the frost…..will see in March and April if this was a good decision.

These I’m trying to sell and the ones in the field will go to the dump.

Weeds and More Weeds

P1040793When you have a vineyard, everyone always says how romantic! Well, if you don’t work year round you pay for it later. In the fall/early winter we finished the back landscaping, took a trip to Forks, WA and had company for Christmas. So……didn’t get to weeding except for 3 days…..about 5 hours worth. After an unexpected trip, I’m back at it again. I hope that if I can get it under control it will be a lot better this year than last year.

Above are before and after photo’s of just the weeding.

After weeding real vineyard work begins. I get to remove the grow tubes and prune to 2 buds!!! Then all spring/summer tie the vines.

Here is my strategy:

1. Hand weed all of the big weeds that are in the vine rows
2. Weed whack what is left in the vine rows
3. Mow
4. Flame in the vine rows
5. Repeat #3 and #4

My guess is it will take me about 45 hours to weed the vineyard and about 8 hours to weed whack and another 8 hours to flame and 2 hours to mow. The flaming and mowing will probably be done at least 6 times in 2011.

Flaming flaming tool
Status so far for weeding:
2010 5 hours
1/10 1.5
1/11 2.0
1/12 3.0 1 hour weed whacking I’m 25% done with weeding
1/14 3.25
1/17 1.0
1/18 1.0 1.5 hours mowing
1/19 1.75 1 hour mowing, .75 hour weed whacking
1/24 6.0 +24 hours of “Graton Labor” help
1/25 4.0 +16 hours “Graton Labor” help, 2 hours (+8) of grow tube removal
1/26 0.0 4 hours of grow tube removal

Weeding 28.5 hours weeding + 40 hours “Graton Labor” = 68.5 hours
Now weed whacking and flaming to keep it looking good!!!
1/27 2 hours collecting bad grow tubes, 2 hours collecting weeds from row
1/28 1 hour collecting weeds from rows, 4.5 hours weed whacking
1/29 1 hour collecting weeds from rows
1/31 4.5 hours weed whacking
2/7 1.5 hours collecting weeds, 1 hour flaming
2/8 1.5 hours collecting weeds, .75 hours flaming
2/9 .75 hours flaming, .4 hours mowing
2/10 1.5 hours flaming, .3 hours mowing
2/12 1 hours flaming, 1.5 hour mowing, 5 hours collecting weeds