17 April 2010

Grape trellis

Today was a busy day. The other day I attempted to drill holes in our concrete sidewalk so I could secure the trellis fenceposts to it (to keep them from tipping over under the tension of the wire). I used a masonry bit with our regular drill. For those of you currently laughing, you already know that this was a waste of time. Lemontree's father was kind enough to loan us a hammer drill that worked much, much better. I was then able to install lead sleeves in the resulting holes and screw fencepost brackets into the sleeves.

On the far side, there was no sidewalk so I drove rebar into the ground at an angle, then ran wire from the top of the fencepost down at an angle to the rebar at ground level. (The cat is a neighborhood stray.) As you can see below I also set up a soaker hose -- these baby vines need a lot of water because they were transplanted and their roots are small, but in future years they should need very little because they grow some pretty incredible root systems.

Finally I ran the two top wires and tensioned them with turnbolts. I have not yet run the lower set of wires as I'm not quite sure where to place them. From Vines to Wines and other viticultural resources say the lower cordon (horizontal branch of the vine) can be 24 to 36 inches high (or even more), but I do not yet understand which height is best for my situation. Until I learn more, I'm just going to wait. The vines have not yet broke bud (nor should they, as it may still frost this spring, which could be disastrous) so I still have time.

Oh, and while we were at it, we also secured our raspberries to our back fence. They are always falling over onto the grass where they get chopped up when I mow the lawn. Considering many prior failed attempts, this year we got some thick nylon string (almost twine) and then made a critical improvement: we hooked one end of each string with an S-hook so that the string can be unhooked when desired.

This hook allows us to temporarily remove the string to ease in pruning, reposition canes, and more easily slide new canes behind the string in the fall or spring should we have neglected to do so when they first grew that tall during the summer.

We have quite a lot of raspberries, as they have been spreading since we planted transplants a few years ago. This year we dug up two more fence section's worth of bed for more raspberries and there transplanted some shoots that were coming up too close to the grass. Unfortunately, some of the canes are of a different variety that produce a more tart and lighter red berry which tends to fall apart. I tolerated them in years past but this year we're going to let them fruit one last time (so we can identify them) and then rip them out to make room for the canes that grow the sweeter dark red berries. In some ways this reminds me of The Allegory of the Olive Tree, which is kind of cool.

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