June 9th–Replant Day! We have 150 “green” plants going in the ground today, Counoise and Grenache Blanc, to replace the dormant vines we planted in the winter that didn’t take. They are green because they are showing active growth with 3 small canes per vine and good healthy leaf development. It is imperative we get them in the ground (on a fruit day according to BD calendar) and water them for 6 to 8 weeks, depending on the heat. This is different for us, as we’re a dry-farmed vineyard and we let the rain take care of the watering. But we didn’t want to miss another growing season to replant dormants in the winter, so this was the decision we made. Don’t forget, you can double-click on the photo to see an enlarged version on your screen!
Last week, Phillip and I had the perfect husband/wife/farmer conflict. For a couple of weeks, we’ve observed leaf curling and browning in all varietals in Mark’s Vineyard. We were both dismayed, as we believe Biodynamics and the use of our compost and preps would take care of any soil deficiencies exhibited in the vines/leaves. I was all over his case, with declarations of losing the vineyard, no grape maturation due to no leaves, etc. He was very calm, concerned, but without drama…After some research, we concluded it is a symptom called “Spring Fever”, which is a common ailment in vines 3 to 5 years old (perfect! we’re 5 years now). And it is similar to a common cold contracted by humans. We continue to have new growth and the leaves on the new growth are perfect, so that alone is good news! With Spring Fever, the plant has a momentary imbalance, usually caused by extreme temperature differences (very hot to very cold)–hence, our diagnosis! Again, no need to run out to our local farm supply store to buy nitrogen, calcium or potash…we’re letting the vine take care of itself, confident we’ve enabled it to do so through Biodynamics.
On that subject, we attended a seminar given by Gena Nonini of Marion Farms in Fresno, on Biodynamics at Cal Poly in San Luis Obispo. It was an excellent course, Gena has been farming biodynamically since 1992 so there was much to glean from her. She made more sense of Steiner’s “Agriculture” book, chapters 1 – 3. Because of her experiences, we’re going to begin using more 508–Horsetail Herb (Equisetum arvense) in the vineyards. More on this later…
May 31st–the 2nd series of BD 501 was applied to the vineyards by Gustavo and Phillip.