Springing Forward!

Nick digging deep to uproot a vine.
Nick digging deep to uproot a vine.

Four days ago, I was complaining about winter.  And now, we’re less that four weeks away from the first day of Spring!  The Spring Equinox arrives at 12:57 EDT on March 20th.   And Daylight Saving Time begins on March 9th.  Ah, I can feel the sun and the dry ground already!

Tylor gives the thumbs up to a healthy root ball.
Tylor gives the thumbs up to a healthy root ball. You can see the tight squeeze between the trellis posts and the deer fence behind him.

And that makes it crunch time in the vineyard.  The crew is taking advantage of breaks in the rain to shorten ten rows in one of our blocks by uprooting and  transplanting 40 vines.  We’ve discovered the rows are too long in that spot to turn around the tractor between the trellis posts at the end of the rows and the deer fencing.

A closer look at the roots.  The vines show nice growth over two growing seasons!
A closer look at the roots. They show nice growth over two growing seasons!

The vines we are moving are from our second planting in 2012.  Digging them up is giving us a good look at their root systems.  One of our primary goals for the vines during their first two years in the ground has been for them to establish deep, strong roots.  So far, the roots look great.

Tylor prepares the roots to be transplanted.
Tylor prepares the roots to be transplanted.

Now the challenge is getting all those roots back into the ground pointed downward.  If the roots get twisted during transplanting, they could grow upward and girdle or strangle the vine!  This was also a concern during initial planting, but the roots were much smaller and easier to manage.

A vine finds its new home,
A vine finds its new home,

We are using the transplants to fill in around the vineyard where a vine has died.  Having vines to move is a lucky break for us, because the transplanted vines are the same age and size as the rest of the vines in the vineyard.  That means less work because we won’t have to manage babies mixed in with our mature vines.

Vines laid out for our 2012 planting.  Look how small they were!
Baby vines ready for planting in 2012. Look how small they were!

But I miss the babies!   And all of this transplanting is making me wish we had some young vines waiting to go into the ground.  Spring planting is such fun.  Sunny days (usually), fresh air, great company, music playing, and every vine a new possibility.  Crawling around in the dirt all day and looking back over your shoulder at your work, you start to think that maybe this is the way life is supposed to be.

Nathan during the 2012 planting.  The metal pipes with the marks painted on them were used to measure the space between vines.
Nathan during the 2012 planting. The metal pipes with the marks painted on them were used to measure the space between vines.

There is a way in which planting is the best part of having or managing a vineyard.  And they grow up so fast!  I may have to talk to the horses about giving up a few acres of pasture for some Chardonnay.  If we start planning now and get the ground tilled up this fall, we could be ready for planting by this time next year!

Rocking the Vineyard!  A boom box on a ladder and a very long extension cord.
Rocking the Vineyard! A boom box on a ladder and a very long extension cord.

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