April 20th, 2015- buds begin to swell slightly in Vineyard while in the wild they are still dormant. 

The past week saw high temperatures in the 70’s. There has been no rain until this week which was a paltry 1/4 inch on Sunday. No rain predicted for the next week although temps will be 32 degrees F and under at the beginning with it warming up to lows in the 40s. Buds seem to beginning to swell in vineyards but nothing is occurring on the wild.

Buds in vineyard are beginning to swell.

    

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Buds in wild are still hard unlike those in vineyard.

  

Feb 19, 2015- sub zero temps and a little snow

The last few weeks have brought about three inches of snow cover replacing what little was there. Last night saw the temperature at -20 below zero for a few hours and the night previous to that -14 below. Cold but nothing like last year although the snow cover last year was much greater. Pictures below all vineyards and our new snow fence.

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Southern view of Vineyard 2

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Southern View of Vineyard 2

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Perimeter of Vineyard 1

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Our new snow fence on the west side of Vineyard 1

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Snow fence and Vineyard 1

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Plant 3 in Row H Vineyard 1

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North side of Vineyard 1

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January 25th-30th, 2015- high temps bring melting and standing water in Vineyards

This week saw record high temps in the 40s (last year we -20 area for lows)and  this in turn has melted most of the snow and created standing water in parts of all our vineyards. Usually water is soaked up rather quickly in our vineyard.  The soil is very sandy but since the ground is frozen we are seeing the water stand for days. A small number of plants are now standing on water and with the freezing temps coming this weekend we may say the plants surrounded by ice. See pics below.

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Water standing by our snow fence west of Vineyard 1

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Water standing in the NW corner of Vineyard 3

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Another view from the NW corner of Vineyard 3

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NW corner of Vineyard 1

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Another shot of the NW corner of Vineyard 1

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Another shot of the NW corner of Vineyard 1.

Expanding the Vineyard

So its that time of year again when we gather clippings for expanding our vineyard as well as providing replacement plants for any winter kill that may have occurred. Basically we take clippings from a group of vines that are on my families farm land and replant them. The clippings themselves are about 6 inches long and with a straight cut at the bottom and a angled cut at the top. (This is to tell up from down when planting) This year we took 600+ clippings and took them to North Dakota State University to plant in there greenhouse until we plant them later in the spring.

Vine clipping from west of vineyard site.

Vine clipping from west of vineyard site.

A wild grape vine south of our old vineyard that we use for clippings for new plants.

A wild grape vine south of our old vineyard that we use for clippings for new plants.

Clippings from our vines south of the vineyard.

Clippings from our vines south of the vineyard.

One of the wild grape vines west of the new vineyard.

One of the wild grape vines west of the new vineyard.

Another tool to keep deer away.

So far our fish line and cds have worked well in keeping deer out of our new vineyard but, we have the advantage of the being situated by an alfalfa field which seems to hold their interest more than our vines. So this means we need to research other means of keeping deer out as to cover all our bases so to speak. One thing I decided to try out is a product called Deerchaser which is basically a 10.25 inches tall x 4 inches wide box that has been “Engineered with special sound level and light intensity to scare away deer but remain unobtrusive to humans.” I ended up making a stand for each of these boxes (a total of 8) to put into the vineyard with the best possible positioning. So I decided to run a test first to see how well the box worked. What I did was to fill a bucket of feed and put it in front of the Deerchaser on its stand in the middle of an open field (the alfalfa field next to our vineyard) and see if any feed went missing or if any deer tracks showed up. What I found after a week was that no feed went missing (I even had it situated close to a deer path) and that no tracks came close to it. (see pics below) So far so good!

Picture of two deerchasers on stands I made for them just south of the new vineyard.

Picture of two deerchasers on stands I made for them just south of the new vineyard.


Bucket I feed that I left out to see if I our Deerchasers worked at scaring away deer from even the most tempting food.

Bucket I feed that I left out to see if I our Deerchasers worked at scaring away deer from even the most tempting food.


Still the same amount feed in the bucket even after 3 days!

Still the same amount feed in the bucket even after 3 days!


Another shot 4 days later.

Another shot 4 days later.

Keeping Deer Out

Since our new vineyard has no fence around it this means we need to find ways of keeping deer out. Throughout the summer we found that deer were nibbling on our vines and since winters are generally harsh around here we expect the deer to be especially interested in our vines. So one of the things we are trying this Fall is to come up with ways to keep the deer away from our vines. The first thing we did was to string fish line around the whole of the vineyard. Starting at the top of the post and going down a foot between each line making for 5 lines of string top to bottom. This was done for the whole of the vineyard. The idea being that the fish line being transparent would set up an invisible boundary that would scare the deer when they tried to enter. The other thing we did was to cut strips of ribbon at length of about 1 to 2 feet and attached them to the wood posts through out the vineyard. The idea with this would be that the flapping of these ribbon would scare the deer away. Both methods were recommended by people who had success with each for their large gardens. See pics below.

A shot of the southeast corner of the new vineyard.

A shot of the southeast corner of the new vineyard.

The ribbon we attached to our posts are meant to to be 1 to 2 feet in length and are meant to flap in the wind scaring the deer.

The ribbon we attached to our posts are meant to to be 1 to 2 feet in length and are meant to flap in the wind scaring the deer.

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A shot of the fish line we strung around our vineyard to keep deer out.

A shot of the fish line we strung around our vineyard to keep deer out.

Another shot of the fish line we have strung around the vineyard.

Another shot of the fish line we have strung around the vineyard.