Today we did maintenance, and not very much of it! Too hot…my kinda dog day afternoon where everything moves at a slower pace and the ground under the big oak is just the right temperature. We limited our time outside today. On the agenda was followup on the petiole analysis (more on this later), watering 5 baby replants in the established vineyard, and line flushing in the new block. I have already told you all about line flushing (wet and nasty), and watering is watering so we’ll talk about petiole analysis.
Here is what grape-vine flowers look like. Tiny little things (click on the pic for a better view) that determine size and set of the berries on the cluster. Tiny little things that my Mom just happens to be allergic to! (Boy is she out of luck on this one…for a week there cannot be enough kleenex boxes in the house! This year it also corresponded to a nasty cold.)
Every year when the bloom gets to a certain percent, usually 100%, we have to take a random sample (75 to 100) of the petioles in each of the blocks of vines. Petioles are the stem of the leaf and we have to take the sample right across from the first grape cluster on the fruit bearing cane. They are then sent to a lab for analysis and the lab sends back recommendations for additions to the soil or foliage. For all you chemistry people out there, they are checking for N, P, K, Mg, Ca, Na, Fe, Mn, B, Cu, Zn, and NO3. For all you non-chemistry/non-gardener people they are the trace minerals needed for good solid growth.
Here is the assembly line of petioles lined up and ready to go. Notice there are not any leaves, just the stems. They are wrapped in paper so that they get lots of air and don’t mildew. Then they are labeled and sent overnight to the lab in Fresno…the results to come back usually within the week. Then we can adjust our fertilizer and foliar sprays to add anything that is deficient. The package was sent out on Saturday and today we checked on its safe arrival.
We are now sitting in the house, Mom is on the computer and I am waiting patiently for dinner. Just a few minutes ago I showed up expectantly and now begins about 15 minutes of campaigning for dinner. How is it that my food clock is so right on?
Lastly, amid all the sweat and toil and absolute boring repetitiveness of the task of running an “agricultural enterprise” as my good buddy Joe calls it, occasionally you find something that stops you in your tracks. Today while Mom was inspecting some vines, she found a tiny nest and was very surprised to find some tiny residents! These are the small things that make it all worthwhile…that and the good pinot noir that comes out of this vineyard.
Happy dinner everyone! I am about to enjoy mine!
Did you ever walk into a room and forget why you walked in? I think that is how dogs spend their lives.” – Sue Murphy