Monthly Archives: March 2012

March Work

early grapesOK….forget all the work. See what I saw today in the picture? My first 2 bunches of grapes that will go into the 2012 harvest! So excited!!! It just reminds me that harvest is just around the corner. Pray that we don’t get any hard freezes in the next month.

Almost done tying the vines to the rebar and highway stakes and will start my spray program in about 3 weeks. I’m also buying a small sprayer that I can tow behind the lawn tractor that will save me from doing it all with a back pack sprayer.

April 19 – 3 hours spraying (12 gal water w/1 1/3 cups seranade and 1 1/3 cups copper), de-budding
April 18 – Weeding/mulch/mowing/digging – 8 hours + 8 hours hired
April 17 – 1 hour tying/de-budding
April 11 – 1 hour de-budding, 2 hours mowing
April 10 – 1 hour de-budding
April 6 – 4 hours de-budding
April 5 – 3 hours weeding
April 4 – 4 hours mowing/weed whacking
April 3 – 5 hours mowing/grow tubes/weed whacking
March 28 – 3 hours mowing and tying
March 22 – 4.5 hours (Tying, front vineyard)
March 21 – 6 hours (tying, mowing, front vineyard)
March 20 – 3 hours (tying)
March 11 – 4 hours front vineyard + Don’s time
March 10 – 4 hours fence + Don’s time
March 6 – 3 hours (mowing)

The 2012 Growing Season begins

bud breakI’m calling it for Turtle Vines…..bud break for 2012 was on 3/20/2012. Last year it was March 22nd…..very interesting. Last year was very cold and wet but the plants were only a year old. Normally vines that are young bud break earlier because he ground heats up sooner. This year the weather has been warm but the vines are a year older. Amazing how factors cancel each other out so that bud break is within days of each other two years in a row.

Lest you think I can slack off for a while…….as soon as the small shoot is about 3-6” long, I have to start my year long organic spraying program. This should happen mid to end of April. In addition, all of the buds on the trunks of the vines have to be taken off……about 6 per vines. About 20,000 in total have to taken off by hand. Normally you run your hand down the trunk and they come off. Again….more good work for my back!!!

Joey’s Sauvignon blanc vineyard

joeys vineyardWith the help of our friends Don and Lynne Smith from New Jersey, we got Joey’s Sauvignon blanc vineyard all wired and set up for the season. It was sort of sad to cut off all the growth from last year, but she will get about 50 pounds of grapes this harvest and will get maybe a dozen bottles of wine that we will be drinking a year from now! I put below a picture of the vineyard last year and some pictures of the vineyard being set up this 7 16 11

Tying the trunks

tying 2So….since our vines are small still, this year we will only be tying the trunks to the 3’ tall rebar at the start of the season. This is to ensure that the trunks grow straight and tall. I asked everyone I know and they all said the best thing to tie them with is “green” plant tape. The reasoning is that the trunk will continue to grow and the tape will last a few years and stretch with it. Next year we might be able to tie the canes to the fruiting wire assuming that the canes are big enough. I hope I can use a more automated system to save time…..again, just multiply the seconds for each plant to get the hours it will take me to complete the task…..15 seconds equals almost 15 hours of vineyard time!!!

Oh….since we are a small boutique vineyard I found brown colored “green” tape. It is the same color as the vines so it blends in to the vineyard.

Below I put pictures of the process…..1) The tool is open, 2) When you lightly close the Tapener it grabs the “brown” tape, 3) Then you push it around the vine and rebar, 4) Finally you staple the tape and it cuts it to length.

Pretty easy, except I have to do this around 9,000 times!

Tying 3 tying 1