Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Spring is Here

A beehive of activity.  The vines are stirring, and there are tiny little leaves poking out.  The Chardonnay was first, but some of our hill top Pinot blocks are right there with them.  We are now on frost alert.  If it is threatening to freeze at night, I will be up, turning valves and watching the sprinklers anxiously. 

We ordered our new narrow row tractor and should see it by the beginning of next week.  However, the tall grass and leaves are not a good mix in cold weather situations.  Tall grass will trap cold air, not allowing it to drain to lower elevations in addition to shading the soil surface and not allowing for radiant heat to warm the soils and thus the immediate area.  In these situations, frost can become an issue in areas where it normally is not and are exposed, without frost protection, to the deeper freezes.  Therefore, check my Twitter post for a video of this, but I got out on our old workhorse tractor and got started mowing some of the wider rows.  But this tractor has old balding tires and tends to want to side slip on some of our side slopping rows.  This puts the vines in perile as a tractor with a mower is formidible foe for rows of grapevines.  It is also very long, so it wouldn't take too much of an angle to cause the dreaded "tractor blight".  Narrower profile and new tires should help the cause.