The vineyard

Tommy

Senior Member
Location
New Hampshire
Yes, that works.
Used a lot of it in our cabin garden.
I do so admire your handiwork, Gary O'! :D

I was surprised how easy that mesh was to work with. In stainless it was a bit pricey but I chose that because it would be buried. When I use it above ground in the future I'll go with galvanized.

Loved your story about the bush beans. It reminds me of what happened a few years back with my wife's cauliflower seedlings. We didn't catch the little thieves in the act, but she went out one morning and the plants had just vanished. No footprints, no stems, no signs of digging ... they were just gone!

I'm going to brazenly steal your design for your raspberry house. :giggle: Wife has been wanting a greenhouse so I'll copy your frame and then use a mixture of plywood, hardware mesh, and plexiglass and/or plastic sheeting for the roof and walls.
 

Gary O'

SF VIP
Location
Oregon
I'll copy your frame and then use a mixture of plywood, hardware mesh, and plexiglass and/or plastic sheeting for the roof and walls.
Yeah, they now have this plexi that doesn't get all brittle after a summer of sun.
I threw tarps on our garden houses in fall and winter, and bungied them pretty tight
Thought sure they'd collapse from the snow load, but they held quite well
The short 45 2x2s in strategic places were probably the difference
 

Tommy

Senior Member
Location
New Hampshire
Arrivals

“’O frabjous day! Callooh! Callay!’ he chortled in his joy!” (Lewis Carroll)

On Tuesday, April 20th, I received an email message telling me that my vines have shipped … exactly as promised. On Wednesday, April 21st our UPS guy delivered the package. The time of waiting is finally over.

I was barely able to resist the temptation to open the package immediately but, with poor weather forecast for the next few days, I put it in a cool place instead, as instructed. Now, Saturday has finally brought us a nice day and we’re up and about early. The time has come to meet our new arrivals.

#12A Arrivals.jpg

Like most mail order plants, the grapevines were shipped “bare root”, meaning all of the soil has been removed from around the roots. Inside a heavy plastic bag, each plant is individually wrapped with sheets of wet paper and packed in a large amount of wet shredded newspaper. Clearly, the AA Vineyards took great care to ensure that the plants wouldn’t be damaged during shipping and that the all-important fine roots wouldn’t dry out.

Each plant has a plastic tag attached that identifies the variety. All of them seem to be of decent size, but the Mars plants are noticeably smaller than the Canadice. Is this a natural difference between the varieties, I wonder? To my inexperienced eye, each plant’s root system appears to be well developed and there are good looking bud nodes on each of the clipped stems.

#12B Arrivals.jpg

Our new grapevines look so much better than the bare root ground ivy my wife ordered from a different supplier last year. Of the 24 plants they sent, only two actually grew. I feel like our vineyard will be off to a good start.

Some wisdom from the vineyard.

Bare root plants are such dubious looking things. Deep down it’s hard to believe that the frail looking sticks in your hand could ever produce the beautiful mature plants you’ve envisioned. Yet with proper care and attention, a bare root plant that was created by an expert grower will produce buds, leaves, flowers and fruit at the proper time.

So it is with people who give their lives to the Lord, the master grower.

Ephesians 2:10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.
 

Tommy

Senior Member
Location
New Hampshire
Planting Day

This is exciting and, well okay . . . maybe just a bit scary! The mood of the day is “I only get one shot at this and I want to get it right”. I think I’m ready . . I think . . . .

The first step is simple - soak the plants in water for several hours. Yup, I can do that. I put all four vines into a 5-gallon bucket of water and let them soak while gathering the other needed materials and equipment and getting things ready.

The smaller plant of each variety will be what I call the “understudies” - that is, plants that are ready to step in and take over if the principle actor becomes unable to perform. These will be grown in 5-gallon buckets in the same soil as the primary vines and placed in the same general locations. The first to be planted is Canadice #2.

About the soil: As I may have mentioned before, the soil in our vineyard is stratified – native sandy soil under a thick layer of new screened loam. This is somewhat unfortunate but I don’t know how it could reasonably have been avoided. Thankfully, I did have the presence of mind to save back some of the native soil for later use.

So:
- a five gallon bucket with a bunch of drainage holes drilled through the bottom
- some medium sized gravel
- a well-mixed blend of loam, native soil, cow manure, and wood ash (for potassium)

I add a couple inches of gravel to the bucket for drainage. My wife holds the plant straight and at the right height while I add the soil mixture, spreading out the roots as I go. When the bucket is nearly full, I give a gentle tug on the stem of the vine to “seat” the roots and then finish adding the soil.

#13A Planting2.jpg

Next I drive a five-foot grade stake into the soil as straight and deep as I can get it. This stake has two purposes. First, it will provide support for the vine until it’s tall enough to reach the wires on the trellis. Second, it will support the growing tube.

“What is a “growing tube?” you may well ask.

Well, it’s a translucent blue plastic tube that, according to AA Vineyards, "protects the young vines, provides an ideal microclimate, and promotes rapid growth by amplifying the beneficial blue light hitting the plant". Hmmm . . . time will tell, but based on the grower’s strong reputation (and the $1.35 price) I ordered four of them when I ordered the vines.

Finally, with the growing tube duly installed, I water the plant thoroughly. The process is basically the same for the other three vines.

#13B Planting2.jpg

Bare sticks poking out of the ground. Blue plastic tubes. Um .… I sure hope I did this right.

Some wisdom from the vineyard.

Each of us makes many decisions every day. Most of these are of no great consequence but sometimes they are important. On occasion they can be of monumental importance. It’s human nature to hope that we’ve made correct choices and not overlooked anything. We’ve learned from experience that things can and do go wrong and that errors can be costly … physically, financially, and emotionally.

Thankfully the Lord never makes mistakes and always keeps His promises. In our spiritual life we can always find peace.

John 14:27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.
 

Tommy

Senior Member
Location
New Hampshire
Weeds

A weed, by definition, is just a plant that’s growing somewhere it isn’t wanted. This is purely a human problem. After all, there are no weeds in nature.

The birds and beasties that share our property here do a really good job of spreading plant seeds around, but when the sweet pea and cow vetch that we enjoy so much in our meadow start appearing in our garden and flower beds, they become weeds that need to be eliminated.

#14 Weeds.JPG

What I learned. Weeds compete with grapevines for nutrients and can spread diseases. Ideally, a minimum six foot weed-free zone should be maintained in every direction around each vine.

Okay . . . the hill where our vineyard is located is covered with a lush diversity of native plant life. Among the dozens of varieties found there, the most notable are sweet pea, goldenrod, and bramble. How will I keep these miscreants from moving in?

Bare ground would require almost constant weeding. The use of herbicides is out of the question. That seems to leave mulching. Time to head back to “YouTube University”!

I’ve read that grass clippings can spread disease to grapevines so that won’t work. Leaves, especially oak leaves, acidify the soil. We do use bark mulch in some of our landscaping but it’s somewhat costly and not always effective in preventing weed growth. The same with landscape fabric. But … newspaper! Yes! We have plenty of old newspaper, it’s free, and someone on Youtube says it works so it MUST be true!

Measuring tape, stakes, and string in hand I carefully survey and mark the weed-free zone. I have to cheat a little on the yard side because six feet would extend too far into the yard, but the other three sides should be fine.

As the newspaper is spread out, I secure the overlapping corners with dozens of melon-sized rocks. (Have I mentioned that we have lots of rocks here?)

It’s a lot of manual labor and the result is not at all pretty. Pretty awful in fact. It looks like . . . well, it looks like about 150 square feet of old newspaper covered with a bunch of randomly placed rocks. Because it’s done, I’ll try it for a while to see how well it works but clearly a more attractive solution is going to be necessary.

Some wisdom from the vineyard.

We’ve all made poor choices from time to time. I certainly make more than my share. Sometimes these choices have started me down a path of self-destructive behavior that might continue for some time. Then one day, I wake up and admit to myself that what I’ve been doing is wrong and totally out of character for me. As a person who has given his life to the Lord, my actions have been inappropriate and unwanted. In effect, they are weeds in my Christian life.

At those times I have to do some personal weeding. I bring my error to the Lord and humbly ask for His forgiveness and He always forgives me … His mercies are new every morning.

1 John 1:19 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
 

Jackie23

Member
Location
Texas
I've just discovered your thread, Tommy, and I have to say it is wonderful!

My late husband was a gardener, he always had a vegetable garden and I have my flowers....gardening is a ongoing learning experience and it does have its challenges ....I try to instill in my children and grandchildren the joys of digging in the dirt and planting.

Keep up the good work!
 

Tommy

Senior Member
Location
New Hampshire
Be thankful for your rocky New England soil.

Every rock you see is one less weed to pull.

A stone mulch will warm the soil and still allow moisture to get through.
Thank you so much for that, Aunt Bea. You're wise person and a special friend.

My "glass half empty" side is always lurking, waiting for an opportunity to come to the fore. It's one of those persistent weeds in my life. Your post is a lovely and most welcome reminder of how very, very much I have to be grateful for.
 

Tommy

Senior Member
Location
New Hampshire
I've just discovered your thread, Tommy, and I have to say it is wonderful!

My late husband was a gardener, he always had a vegetable garden and I have my flowers....gardening is a ongoing learning experience and it does have its challenges ....I try to instill in my children and grandchildren the joys of digging in the dirt and planting.

Keep up the good work!
Thank you, Jackie 23. You're very kind.

What a wonderful gift to be giving to your children and grandchildren! :love:
 


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