Sunday, April 19, 2015

We're going to Nebraska . . . and the voles ate our grapevines

We are now registered for VitiNord 2015 in Nebraska City, NE in November.  Looks to be a very fun and informative event with speakers from around the world talking about growing grapes in cold places.  Very exciting!!!
  On another note, we went out yesterday and began uncovering plants we protected over the winter. Most of the trees and shrubs came out with little or no vole damage.  They do seem to like seaberries (hoped they wouldn't), wild blackberries (eastern US) and sand cherries.  They only did a little damage to our Yellow Transparent apple tree and none to our cherry trees.  Then we discovered why.  They decimated many of our potted grapevines, eating them down to stubs - but leaving last year's new growth alone.  Odd to say the least, but these critters are just that way.  The grapevines were mixed in with blackberry plants and other small plants that they didn't really bother.  Not sure if most of them will sucker from the roots as only a few varieties (including Osceola Muscat and St Pepin) have shown that tendency in the past.  Unfortunately, it looks like the voles ate our rare Baltica and Zilga vines, as well.  These are very hard to come by in the US.  Maybe they will make it - only time will tell.
  We have been walking in part of the way for three weeks now and it looks like we will be walking all the way in (1.5 miles/2.5 km) starting this week. Temps have hit the upper 40s F (10 C) the last few days with strong Chinook winds (to 30 mph here).  Snow is melting fast!  Still a few weeks before the Grape House cover goes on.  However, the first green buds are already showing on Ben Sarek black currant and Cascade Delight raspberry will start pushing buds this next week.  Spring has arrived!
  We are in the process of making a "Spring" video of the farm.  It will hopefully be up in a week or so.  We will leave you with a picture of Ben Sarek buds and the disappearing snow.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

First signs of spring

After a week of warm weather, we received 1.5 inches of snow yesterday and last night.  There is still about 12 inches of snow on the ground and it is slowly melting.  A look at our earliest budding plant, a Ben Sarek black currant, revealed that buds are starting to elongate and turn green. The timing of bud break on this plant is right on schedule.  However, most everything else is still under the snow and far from leafing out.  We are expecting average temperatures this month and next, so not much should happen for a few more weeks.
  We have lots of plants arriving over the next five weeks - kind of like Christmas in spring!  We will also be busy preparing for the upcoming plant sale.  Dates and times will be posted here and on our website, along with the varieties that we will have available.  Currently there are 31 trays planted, with another 18 or so to be planted next weekend.  That's a lot of seedlings!!!