The impatience of the previous post has been replaced with hectic activity. The forecast is calling for a chance of snow showers later this week with lows in the 20’s, but the last few days with their mixture of warm and sunny with cool and rainy weather have really started the spring rush. All the backlog of winter projects had to be completed along with the first few tasks of spring, which made for a busy weekend.
The biggest job was regaining control of the vineyard. I planted my vines on a vineyard spacing, which assumes that they will be heavily pruned on a regular basis. In my enthusiasm for new growth I had forgotten my underlying plan to prune heavily, and compounding matters was that I had gotten behind on the pruning I was doing. The end result was that after several years the trellis was more like a linear bramble than a row of vines. The vines were so intertwined that the only way I could get started was to simply cut through everything halfway between them, and then sort out what did or did not go with the vine in that section. It took most of a day to cut away enough to see the remnants of underlying structure and then turn that back into something sustainable.
The apple trees had been pruned heavily last season, and with the amount of time spent fighting fireblight on the vigorous new shoots that came out I decided to go lightly on the apples this year. I did most of the pruning in December, but of course when wandering around with pruning shears in hand there will always be a couple more cuts to make. Bramley’s Seedling and Golden Russet are both having root stability issues which makes it questionable how much longer they will be part of the orchyard before they topple over, so I tried my hand at grafting and put a couple of scions of each on another tree. Hopefully they take and I will have a 3 variety tree as well as a source for new scion wood to graft to a replacement rootstock if the original trees do go away. While I had the grafting supplies out, I also had a go at putting some scions from the old sweet cherry tree that is in declining health onto the wild seedling I have allowed to grow for just such an opportunity.
The garden soil is too wet to till, but the winter brought a healthy harvest of rocks which needed to be removed before tilling anyway. It really is amazing to me how the freeze / thaw cycles keep finding rocks to move to the surface.