Friday, June 04, 2010

Urban Vineyards

Pic is of the Syrah vines in the Haut Tubee vineyard. This is where Paul and I like to hang out with friends, have BBQ's, soak in the hot tub, lounge in the adirondacks and generally kick back and enjoy just about every evening. I did put the canopy up on Easter so I could rotisserie a leg of lamb, I was not going to be thwarted by a little rain storm (ok, it poured on me, but I was out there!!!)

The palm tree is on the neighbors side of fence and is perfect for our back yard vineyard because it's not dense enough to provide a lot of shade. The vines in front of the hot tub have filled in perfectly and are all done flowering. We have great fruit set and have had good luck keeping powdery mildew at bay using Stylet Oil.

The front vineyard is still a work in progress. I was just thinking how pretty it could be if we put sod between the rows and made it look a lot more urban-ey, but that would defeat my number one priority and that's saving water. The row closest to the camera is still flowering so I didn't pull those shoots down yet to make canes - even though I won't keep the fruit this year, I don't want to risk breaking them. After flowering the shoots harden off and are more pliable, making it easier to pull them down to the cordon wire and get them wrapped around.

A couple of weeks ago we brought in a ton of river rock to put up under the eaves in the front. Originally there were tropical shade plants that Paul wanted to keep and I talked him out of them. Tropical foliage with a vineyard? That's even too eclectic for my tastes. So it's been raw dirt for over a year and I didn't want to invest in decking for a space we rarely use though we talked about that too. Eventually the cats using the dirt as a litter box put me over the edge and I said, "that's it, we're getting rocks!".

Paul had a great idea, why not use the leftovers to line the vineyard under the rows, that'll help keep the soil in place and look better than bare dirt in the winter. He figured we'd have a lot of leftover rock from the ton order. Nope. I'm going to need a second ton to fill in the rest.

Soon as flowering is done, we'll clean up the rest of the "weeds" (the dead and dried up wildflower cover crop) and I'll pull down that last row of shoots and get those trained on the wire. The two rows under the magnolia tree are behind, but I should be able to pull down at least one half of the cordon.

One thing I noticed for sure with the Crimson Clover, it definitely helped the other plants I have up front. The rosemary is the brightest green I've seen, the sage flowered and the lavender bloomed for the first time. Could have something to do with the wet winter we had too, but clover is supposed to put nitrogen back into the soil and I definitely noticed a difference in foliage color.

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