One more “starting a vineyard” post and then I will show you some pictures of the vineyard right now. These are pictures of some new plants as they were in May after having been planted towards the end of March. These plants are what we call first leaf because – well – this is the first summer of their growth.
Now these little plants need something to guide their growth and give them strength as they grow. So, we put in a trellis system to accomplish this.
You start with lots of supplies. T-posts, bamboo poles, wire, and I’m sure there is a little gray green tape in there somewhere.
We (I just love that word; since you guys know I don’t really do anything except take the pictures.) start with metal t-posts. Some people originally did this with a post hole digger. The High Plains growers over the past twenty years realized that there must be a easier better way to accomplish this. Hence, the evolution of the t-post driver implement.
Once again GPS is the great enabler. The original plants were put in with GPS to keep them in straight lines. This picture is taken from a cross angle of the row. If the picture were taken in line with the row, the plants would look straighter. The plants in line with the row are put into a furrow that was dug with a GPS driven planter, but the cross angle shot shows the human effort of putting the plant in the ground while riding on a moving plow which leaves a little room for unevenness. (You can read about the planting plow here.)Now we again use GPS to put the t-posts in line.
Here we are again with the t-post driver. We have two guys riding on the implement each with a pile of t-posts riding next to them.
They take a post and place it under the hydraulic cylinder in the spot that it needs to go and the cylinder pushes the t-post into the ground. You do end up with a few bent post, but it is a whole lot easier than with a shovel. You only have a bent t-post when you hit shallow rock which is why they have a hard time using one in the Hill Country of Texas.
My Honey told me not to use this shot because it is so unusual to see a piece of t-tape (irrigation tubing) above ground since we put all of ours below ground. Also the t-tape is put in between the rows approximately 4″ away from the t-posts. I think is was just a random piece of “trash” left out on the ground. Hey, guys, remember to pick up your trash. So just ignore the piece of t-tape there, OK.
There we have our nice row of T-posts with a little t-tape trash laying around.
Looks a little like we are planting “metal” instead of grape plants, a little barren, but it is just part of the process.
Sometimes we put tubes or just milk cartons around the little plants to give them a little protection for the wilds of West Texas as they get started.
Then the vineyards look like this. I like them better when they are filled with organic milk cartons, but sometimes you can’t be choosy when looking for unused, rejected milk cartons to buy. So I’ll just make sure all the milk cartons in our “refrigerator” are organic milk cartons.
Here you can also see the bamboo poles stuck into the ground between each t-post and some of the trellis wire hung between the t-posts.
Wait a minute. Do we really put those milk cartons on to protect the little plants from the High Plains weather, or from the little Binghams checking out the fields?