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April 23, 2005

Bamboo and Grow Tubes

Special thanks to friends and family who helped out today!

Gary, Kathy, Garrett, Travis, Marissa, and Wyatt Croson
Alexie, Nolan, and Olivia Badura
Chris Coderre
Mickey Mackey (mom)
Ginny Smith
Debbie Hartwick
Jim and Shayna Mackey
Tracy, Evan, and Trevor Krohn

OK so we got all the vines planted last week, now what? The next step is to ensure that the delicate vines have the opportunity to get established quickly, and for this they need training and protection. Young vines are susceptible to a great many hazards, like frost, wildlife (deer, rabbits, etc.) and competition from weeds. In addition, a young vine left to it's own devices will grow quite erratically (assuming it doesn't get eaten, which it would!)

Thus it becomes necessary to install a bamboo stake next to each vine to provide support as the shoots grow. For this we purchased 5' x 1/2" bamboo stakes from Spec Trellising. It's a simple matter of pounding the stake in the ground about a foot. To speed up the operation, the kids were tasked with placing a stake next to each vine, then we "big people" went up and down the rows with hammers (and some rocks) and pounded in the stakes. Progress was great and all the stakes were done by about 2 pm.

Bamboo crew in action

Meanwhile, Shannon and her crew were assembling the grow tubes that we bought from our friends at Hillsborough Vineyards. Since it's typical to use grow tubes for several seasons, Bora offered them up for sale at the Loudoun Winegrowers meeting a few months back so we took him up on his offer. Definitely a more tedious process than banging in stakes, the grow tube assembly progressed much slower. Everyone had a good time though, with several of the little kids pitching in to distribute assembled tubes in the vineyard. It's pretty hysterical watching a 4-year old take one grow tube (almost as tall as him!) the whole way to the end of the 400' row, drop it on the stake and over the vine, then run the whole way back to get another tube. I'm betting they all slept REAL well tonight!

Wyatt and Marissa

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So by the time the thunderstorms moved in we had all the stakes in place and just under 7 (out of 24) rows of tubes done. A very successful day - thanks again to all who participated! It is very rewarding to us to hear loved ones thank us for the opportunity to participate in the founding of our vineyard. My cousin Kathy told me that sitting in the sun assembling grow tubes, with no phones or tvs around, watching her kids run around the rows was the most relaxing thing she's done in a long time. And watching the little ones running around, thinking about our baby on the way - let's just say this is what it's all about.

Note - Marissa was the flower girl at our wedding June 12, 2004. Have a look!

Marissa arriving
Marissa and Shannon

Posted by Stephen at April 23, 2005 8:25 PM