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November 26, 2004

Marking It Out

What a day! Got up early this morning to install our data loggers. We bought three HOBO Pro RH/Temp data loggers to capture relative humidity and temperature data. Check out the product specs here. Also take a look at the software. We plan on keeping very detailed weather info in the vineyard in order to evaluate fruit quality trends in the future, among a million other things that data will be useful for!

Doug came over about 10AM and we got right to work on marking out the vineyard. First order of business was to walk the perimeter and determine where the deer fence would be installed. Once that was established, we had to decide how to lay out the rows. Since the aspect of the hill is essentially in a NW-SE it didn't make sense to attempt N-S or E-W rows, so we made the decision based on the practicality of rows up/down hill. Worked out great because this orientation allowed us to design the rows perpendicular to the adjoining roadway and deer fence.

So on Doug's advice we chose to allow 30' of headspace between the end of each row and the deer fence (for maneuvering the tractor around.) Since the roadway wasn't exactly linear, there was some difficulty getting the first line of end posts marked. There is a hill right in the middle of the vineyard and you can't see from one side to the other, so it took three tries to get the line correct so that there was adequate headspace across all rows. Based on additional room at the sides of the vineyard before the deer fence, we ended up with 36 end posts spaced at 9' (324')

Then the next challenge was to lay down the first perpendicular row - again the crest in the hill interfered with our measurements at the edge of the vineyard, so after a few tries we decided to begin in the middle and work our way out. Eureka! Using a 60-80-100 triangulation we were able to get a perfectly perpendicular row down the center of the vineyard. Next job was to create another right angle 100' down that row, then lay out the tapes and mark off the 9' between rows. Each point is marked with a bamboo stake (I'll post pictures as soon as they are developed.)

Then we had to repeat the process a second time. The goal here was to place bamboo stakes at 100' intervals down the row as guides for me when I go to turn the soil with the subsoiler on the tractor. So each 100' mark has to be exactly 9' from the next, and perfectly in line with the other stakes in the row. Now you wouldn't think that 1 inch makes a difference standing in the middle of a big field, but let me tell you that when you are sighting back along a line of bamboo stakes you can definitely tell when one doesn't line up!

Once we got the second set of 100' markers in place Doug decided we were doing fine on our own and said "see ya later!" But oops - look at the time! Have to shut down for the day and get back to our rental shack - Roadstar is coming out to install our wireless Internet connection. Will finish up over the next few days!

NOTE - I will be creating some step-by-step graphics using maps (one of these days) to help illustrate the above sequence of events a bit more clearly...

Posted by Stephen at November 26, 2004 3:15 PM