Day 29 – Serious Gopher Work

Posted on: July 18th, 2014 by
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View from neighbors hill that gives the number of holes a better perspective.

It’s Thursday (6 days until the vines are delivered).  Today Justin is on his way up.  I’m on my way down and in the meantime Seth continues to work his little heart out on the bobcat drilling holes.

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Each hole is drilled, dirt dumped and sometimes drilled down again because it didn’t pull enough dirt out.

There are a number of ways and thoughts on installing production vineyards. Some dig trenches prior to installing the stakes to add the soil amendments and insure proper drainage and root growth. Some don’t do anything at all, but dig a hole and drop the vine in the ground.

So why drill the holes?

1. The foremost reason to drill the holes is just from the simple standpoint that 1,500 holes is a lot of hand labor (that is hard to come by). Early on my brother took an official stance that he would help, but he would NOT dig by hand…see what he gets himself into without knowing it 😉

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We can see where the natural or historical washes ran through the property from the sand and rock in the pilings – kinda cool! (and we noted for future monitoring of those plants).

2. Once we start the planting, the holes will be one less step and will help with efficiencies of the planting days (we hope). It is one more step we can get taken care of before the vines arrive.

3. We need to add soil amendments and can do that in the holes and fill dirt. We disked but we did not rip the field, so the holes also help encourage drainage and downward root growth (in theory).

4. Once the drip system is installed (prior to planting and after the holes are drilled) we can run the water from the drip system to fill the holes. This allows us see it in action, the flow rate, fix any mechanic problems all prior to having 1,500 baby vines in the ground. A little trial run to help improve the success rate. (reducing some risk again).

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This is from the southwest corner looking northeast along the field.

In the planning stages we had some discussion about whether drilling the holes was necessary or whether it would be just as efficient to shovel as we started planting. In fact we had an initial disagreement when we were planning as to what was needed. Today we’d both say “Are you kidding me?! Of course these holes need to be pre drilled and 1,500 of them to boot!”

Now that’s some serious gopher work!


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