Spring in the vineyard
It’s been a minute since we’ve given a vineyard and house update so here we go!
After planting day our first priorities were to get grow tubes on the vines, water each with a gallon of water once a week and watch for bud break. Well beyond bud break we got a late freeze which caught our little vines off guard and some of them froze. Had we been expecting fruit this year we would definitely have scrambled to light fires or rig up our irrigation sooner somehow to counter the freeze but thankfully we knew if the buds froze they would push secondary buds or tertiary. We may have gotten significant freeze damage in about 15% of the vines, it’s hard to say since you can’t tell immediately.
Above some immediately visible frost damage, left, and later manifestation of frost on the right.
A few weeks later and you can barely tell we had any issues, second buds have pushed where damage occurred and the vines are growing incredibly well, we have a handful of laggers and maybe 2–5 that haven’t budded yet and we don’t expect them to this late. We will just replant those few next spring!
Meanwhile we have begun stringing wire, putting in line posts (as time permits, a dozen more every week or so) and stringing up water lines for drip irrigation. Though we went several week immediately after planting day without significant rain, luckily lately we’ve had a good shower about once a week that is saving us a huge amount of time watering manually.
This weekend we began shoot thinning. This process involves looking at every vine and eliminating all but the strongest, straightest, most well positioned shoot with the best growing tip. This allows all the vines’ energy to push into growing one sturdy shoot that will hopefully turn into a trunk in year one. It took me about 4 full days to finish all the vines, thankfully I had my mom’s help yesterday and Dan’s today. My dad began spreading fertilizer Saturday and we’re almost done with that as well. Can’t wait to watch these vines shoot up now!
Today after we finish we will spray for the first time to prevent mildew with more rain coming. It’s important to manage this early as mildew can spread quickly especially in the tight humid confines of a grow tube.
Later this month we’ll hopefully get fruiting wires up, this is another wire a few feet higher than the first wire that we’ll attached the vines to with a tape gun to secure the leggy shoots as they grow against strong winds.
Things have been picking up slowly in the house. We began some exterior siding:
My dad and Dan got to work on running all the wires for electric with the help of a friend electrician who advised remotely. So lucky to have saved the $7–20k this could’ve cost to hire out. ($20k is a reall quote we got for our 1200 square ft house 😂). Thankfully we passed our plumbing and electric inspection on Friday 🙌🏼🙌🏼 so I’d say they did well for their first time!
This hurdle overcome, means we can close up the walls as soon as insulation is put in! We have opted for spray foam and will hire this out because we could not find a rental to do this ourselves and there seems to be an insulation material shortage.
We finally had our well put in at 580 feet. The average well depth out here is about 300ft. At 400 the driller asked if we wanted to try another spot…but we would still have to pay (per foot) for what was already drilled and take a gamble that we’d have better luck a few feet in another direction. We said no keep going, waiting nervously as the price increased per foot. At 600 feet we would’ve had a serious cost increase by way of fracking or something else. Thank goodness it didn’t come to that! On Monday we will have our well pump installed in a small well house that Dan has been laying a foundation for near the well site.
Our windows were delayed…only a partial order has been delivered so we’re still waiting on those to install. We are SO bummed these are not in yet 😭 it’s been about 7 weeks since we’ve ordered them.
That’s not all, we got a quote for running power from the street from the only electric company that services the neighborhood and now need to get another quote for boring under the county road onto our property before they will come out and lay the wires.
It seems we have an endless amount of work to do yet but we’re hanging in there and hope to be moved in in the next month or two!
Thanks for your encouragement and for following along!