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April 29, 2006

Grow Tube Day 2006

One of the most critical aspects of planting new vines is ensuring they get off to a good start. The primary method used is the installation of grow tubes around the vine, which acts as a mini-greenhouse to keep the new shoots warm, as well as protected from critters. Last year we invited over a bunch of family and friends to help us out. Since there are no chemicals involved, and nothing too heavy to lift, it is a good opportunity for everyone to come out and pitch in. So since everyone had such a blast last year, we decided to do the same thing this year! Of course with one big difference, which was the presence of the HGTV Dream House camera crew who was onhand to record the entire event.

I got out to the vineyard early to distribute materials, to make sure everything was in place when the volunteers showed up. Bright and early at 7:00 AM I was dropping bamboo stakes by each vine. People started showing up around 9:00 AM, and Shannon came early to set up the catering tent, while my mom stayed at our house to watch Tristan while he took his morning nap, then they joined us.

Essentially the process is to have one crew distributing bamboo stakes, then pushing them in the ground, one stake per vine. Then another crew is assembling grow tubes and sliding the tubes over the stakes. One big improvement we had over last year was our neighbor Karelyn's John Deere Gator, which the tube team used to quickly move grow tubes from the assembly area into the rows. This saved a lot of time over last year where everything was walked in.

In addition to the bamboo and grow tube installation, we also had several people hammering in nails for the installation of the trellis catch wires. This was also a critical step, since the vines had emerged from dormancy and the shoots were on their way up.

The last mission for the day was to finish up the de-suckering of the vines, which Shannon, Rebecca and Dan worked on.

Everyone had a great time, and it was all captured for the show by our trusty camera crew. After a full day of everyone kicking ass, we managed to get all the trellis wires hammered in place, all the bamboo installed, and all the viognier grow tubes installed, about 1.125 acres worth! Just four rows of petit verdot tubes to install tomorrow, four rows of cab franc to de-sucker, and tensioning all the trellis wires.

Enjoy the pics!

Gallery 1
Gallery 2

Thanks to everyone who helped out!!!

Posted by Stephen at April 29, 2006 9:24 PM