First week of April 2012 and the first sign of grapes. This is a second year vine.
It’s a new year and time to plant.
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We have a major infestation of grasshoppers this year. 100+ per square yard. They are eating everything. Leaves on the grapes have minor damage, but the young stems are eaten. See the photos.
Our original solution to keep grasshoppers from eating the new growth was to install a tulle net over the lateral vine growth. The grasshoppers ate through the net and girdled the vine by eating the bark.
We replaced the tulle net with aluminum screen wire in mid August in an effort to get some growth before the end of growing season. We also need to know if this work around will solve the problem if we have a grasshopper problem next year.
The grapevine aluminum screen is easily attached using a desktop stapler.
We have a few grapes in the first year. Grasshoppers don’t eat the leaves, but they girdle the vine, especially on new growth.
July Grape Growth
Muscadine grape in mid August, below.
This blog will document our vineyard experiment. If things work out, this experiment might produce some income or at least a stock of our own private wine label.
I had an earlier experiment, about 30 years ago that didn’t work out. We put in 18 acres of pecan trees. After replanting 3 times, we gave up on pecans. The pecan orchard left the drip irrigation system. This system will make installing the vineyard fairly easy.
The irrigation system consists of a 3 inch PVC water main running down the center of the 18 acres. The site is 400 feet wide. Currently we have a riser every 30 feet. A 1 inch flexible poly pipe runs each way about 200 feet. Spaghetti tubing is inserted into the poly with a spray stake terminating as the water regulating device. We can add as many spray stakes per plant as needed.
March 2011, The First Vineyard Row
We purchased 20 bare root muscadine grape plants in March. The primary varieties are Noble (red) and Carlos (white). We tilled the row and planted with a vine every 20 feet as recommended by some of the experts. We need to look into this recommendation further. The commercial vineyards we looked at have the plants spaced every ten feet.
We should have erected the arbor before we planted the vines, but we got the vines in and we wanted them in the ground, so we planted first.
After studying different arbor designs, we installed two four inch corner posts at each end with a dead man consisting of 5/8 re-bar that we had on hand. The line posts are 8′ steel tee posts on 20 foot centers. We plan to add additional tee posts on 10 foot centers as needed. We will also add tee post bracing to keep the arbor from leaning if required. We installed an eleven gauge twisted single top wire at five feet above the ground and an identical wire to hang the one inch irrigation poly from.
The plants have trunk protection and a twine string to allow the vine to climb to the top wire.