Good News…Bad News. The good news is that all of the vines here at Turtle Vines are pruned, tied to the fruiting wires and looking very good. The bad news is that I have bud break already. Why is this bad? Well, normally bud break is not until later in the month when the chance of a hard frost is gone. If most of the vineyard starts to bud, it will be a very stressful month of March as I don’t have frost protection. The good news is that my growing season will be longer and it will help me later in the year for an early fruit set and then harvest.
Why did this happen? It is a combination of two things. First, I elected to prune early this year. When you prune early then the canes left get all the plants energy and will bud early. Also, we have had very little rain in 2013 and the sun has been out so the vines think it is spring.
I’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!!!
Our first bud break happened around March 22nd…….could not tell the exact day as it rained most of the week. I found it on the 24th. I’m not exactly sure what is the official time…the first or 50% of the vineyard….but I’m recording this one! Most of the rest of the vines are still getting close, but no green showing yet. The weather forecast calls for sunshine next week so I expect all of them to spring to life in the next few days.
Well, I guess we are an official vineyard as far as the California Department of Food and Agriculture is concerned. They put a European Grapevine Moth collection trap in the vineyard. Sure hope we don’t get them. Many times they are spread by people or machinery, so since I’m doing most of the work, the chance that we have them should be small.
Bud break is a most exciting time of year in Wine Country. It is the time the vines come to life and the season begins. In 2010 we planted after bud break……so no bench mark. Normally it comes around the middle of March, and then everyone hopes we don’t get a hard frost.
So, we had a few visitors this last year who picked out vines. I’ll put their names and pictures on them later in the year, but for now they are marked with tags, and we can see whose vine starts growing soonest. (also will see if they read the blog). So we have 3 vines in the running…..Bob and Lisa Wise (I only have one marked), Lynn Smith and Don Smith. The pictures are in that order from left to right. Lets also hope I did not burn them when I flamed the weeds twice in February. It is hard to see but they are all “swelling” so all looks good so far.