So, if you saw my post last week, you can see that our little vines are growing well this year. I thinned the plants to 2 shoots so all the vegetative growth is to develop a trunk. One of those will be the trunk of the vine for the rest of its life….so very important. The key this year is to get the shoot to grow to “pencil” thickness. That will get the plant set to give us grapes in 2012!!! I know that is what all of you are hoping for…..samples of Turtle Vines wine.
In order to get the fertilizer to the plant, we will use an injector to siphon out the fertilizer from a container to the drip system. The key, is to ensure that the fertilizer gets to the roots and does not stay on the surface. So….you have to run the drip system for about 1/2 hour to wet the ground, siphon in the fertilizer, and then run the water again to push it to the roots. In my case that took x hours to fertilizer and then y hours to push it to the roots. I will do this twice this year and then probably every year in the spring.
Growing grapevines is a tricky compromise between growth and starvation. In one case, you want them to grow fast to develop good trunks and root systems. However, you don’t want them to get to big because later in life you want them to put all of their effort into the grapes and not into the plant. This is called a balanced vine and for premium vines, you want as small a plant as possible that will produce between 2-3 pounds of Pinot noir per vine. If you remember from last year, we picked a root stock that would not grow to vigorously, so we are set on that account.
Well, this is our “second leaf” and this is the time for getting a trunk the size of a pencil (at least). So, I’m going to fertilize at least twice this year to make sure I get enough of a trunk so in the “third leaf” we will get grapes. In baseball terms…..I’m going to “juice” the vines. Let’s hope it is enough.
For an organic vineyard I’m going to use liquid fish fertilizer. In order to make sure it gets to the root system, you have to run water thru the drip system, run the fertilizer and then run water again. This will drive the fertilizer to the roots.