Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Plowing Time

We have owned our vineyard property for just over a month, and we've started plowing! In the Rochester area, mid-April is very early to start plowing -- we are so happy and thankful for the weather we've had.

The first step in tilling the soil is using a mold board plow, shown here. The curved blades actually roll the soil over.

This plowing takes everything growing on top of the soil -- grass and weeds -- and turns it underneath the soil. In time, those grass and weeds will die and provide organic matter to the soil. This is a good farming practice that we do annually.

The next step is using a disc, which cuts up clods and roots, again facilitating organic matter returning to the soil. It also helps level the soil. We can sometimes skip this step, but it is needed this year because remnants of the grapevines remain in the soil. We still have one more step before we plant -- using a drag tooth harrow for final tillage and leveling the soil to prepare a nice seed bed.

Today we plowed a total of 1 1/2 acres, giving us a good start on the season. We hope this good weather continues!

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Vineyard, Week Three

In almost three weeks, we've made a lot of progress on our new property. It's looking less and less like an overgrown vineyard, and more like a farm where CSA vegetables, fruits and flowers will grow.

Don, Paige and Bill Wickham, together with other workers and family members, have reeled in rows and rows of wire that supported grapevines.

  Many posts have been pulled out of the ground. (If you need posts, we've got lots for sale!)

 We estimate we'll eventually have to remove 20,000 posts in all.

 We now have row after row of unsupported grapevines that have to be pulled out of the ground.

We have retained and pruned 10 rows of Concord grapevines, which will provide our CSA members with a chance to pick Concord grapes, which are usually used in jellies and jams.

 We've gathered samples of our soil, which are headed to the Cornell Nutrient Analysis Lab. The information we get from the lab will help us understand the quality of the soil and what nutrients we need to add to grow healthy crops.