I’m a bit late writing this, but I wanted to show how much the vineyard changes in just a few short weeks.
Here’s a “before” shot:
I pruned the vines in late February. This took a few days to do all the vines.
Here’s a shot of the vines after I finished:
We got a surprize late freeze just before bud-break. That’s the worst time, since tender young shoots can be damaged. I don’t have frost-protection sprinklers set up, so I pulled out the BBQ grill and set it up in the middle of the vineyard. I wasn’t sure how it would work, but I thought it was worth a try.
I got up at 2am to light the fire. The temperature was already down to 32. I had to come back out to check on the coals at 4am. By now, there was a small bed of coals still going. I poured on some more briquets and looked around. The thermometer in the vineyad now read 26 at the corner. On the ground, was frost. I could see a region around the grill that was frost-free, extending out about 12 feet away from the grill. It worked better than I expected; I just had to hope for the best.
A week or so later, the new growth was looking just fine.
This, the fourth year, turned out much better than the previous year. The vines didn’t suffer any frost damage and the weather was cool far into May. Here’s a shot just a few short weeks after bud-break. You can see there’s been quite a bit of growth:
It’s now the end of May, and I had to drop some clusters. I thought I’d let the plant keep all it’s clusters for a while, to slow down the vigor a bit. I thought I’d take all clusters off of any shoot smaller than a #2 pencil and keep only 1 cluster on shoots slightly larger than that. I tried to trim even the fattest shoots to leave only 2 clusters each. It’s tough dropping all this fruit.
As you can see, the clusters I dropped were small and sparse. I filled up the bucket 3 times for the 50 vines.
Here’s picture before I dropped clusters off of the small laterals:
And here’s the after shot:
It doesn’t look like I made much of a dent :-).
Next weekend, I need to clean up the straggly canes a bit to keep the aisles open.