Last post, readers were left with a bit of a cliffhanger and I’m sure the suspense is nearing a boiling point by now. Let’s just say I took the tractor another round…
What a day! To anyone feeling the stresses of modern day city-dwelling life weighing down on them, I strongly recommend hopping on a tractor and doing some good ol’ fashioned down home puttin’. I won’t pretend that there isn’t a learning curve for the uninitiated that can lead to sweet wheelies from clutch miscues, but within a few passes of the vineyard I was zigging and zagging through the rows like a brush-hog surgeon. My darling wife took the opportunity to laugh at me every time I knocked over a plant or sat for excruciating lapses of time plotting my next move, but hey, that’s marriage! My older and wiser cousin, Gregg (who is versed in things like tractor driving and man-things), joined the peanut gallery hoping to catch a glimpse of me mowing down a row of plants or parking in a pond.
Within no time, the vineyard was looking like its old self again and I didn’t hurt myself or the tractor. The weeds were defeated and we reclaimed the field! Our wonderful mother even took some time out of her day to enjoy the glories of vintner work.
We enjoyed 7 months of service from the grow tubes, but it was time to remove them. Some people choose to leave them on for a full year (or until the vines reach the bottom wire of a trellis) but from what we were told and from our reading, it is best to take the tubes off a few weeks prior to freezing temperatures. This allows for the vines to acclimate to the colder weather and harden off during the dormant winter months. With adequate sunshine, the grow tubes can still provide for a lovely and warm greenhouse effect for the vines and they tend to maintain their softness. Subsequent hard winters will then come along and decimate them. So, it is best to let them experience the hard times early on and toughen up for the long life ahead of them, and once again, I feel like we are raising 1,000 kids.
Our good pal, Chris, even showed up for the joy of that day. He may have really just came by to say hello, but when there is this much fun to be had and extra clippers, it’s impossible to not want to join in!
Katy’s natural nemesis is the spider. Spiders love to summer in the comfort of grow tubes. Katy found her niche away from the grow tubes, manning the helm of the four-wheeler.
With the vineyard mowed and grow tubes pulled, we had 1,000 vines ready to enter dormancy without the comfort of a greenhouse environment. Thank goodness for my mother; she had a little help tying up plants in the time Asher and Katy had available, but she nearly singlehandedly took care of it! The next 4 to 5 months will be a test, but we have high hopes! With a little luck, we will be posting again in March with reports of successful pruning and a vineyard returning to life!