Oct 17, 2010: Tragedy: went out today to tie down the vines and found one had snapped! My 2011 crop (if I get one after all the hail and rain and wind we've had this week on Caulfield Mountain) from the West Wing lieu-dit will certainly be down now by 20 per cent. Not only that but my Balaklavan grower tells me (in an email from Barcelona, where is researching tapas, apparently) that he's discovered a whole new breed of vine pests down at his Valley Floor vineyard: Bunnings catalogues. That'll teach him to plant so close to the post box at the front gate.
Sep 19, 2010: Undervine weeding today, and spraying some nutritious nettle tea. We've had a bumper crop of nettles in the vineyard this year - wonderful, delicious, nitrogen-fixing nettles. Rot a big bundle down in a bucket of rain water for a couple of weeks and you have a fabulous foliar spray.
|Getting the horn: Preparing cow horns for burying over|
winter in the cool damp sandy soil of Caulfield Mountain
Sep 18, 2010. Did some slashing in the mid-rows today. Because it's a root day (descending moon) and because it was very drizzly, I also sprayed this season's first application of biodynamic preparation 500 - the horn manure - mixed with some barrel compost. Like a wandering poo-fairy, I also sprayed some 500 love on the neighbours' quince and peach orchard.
Sep 14, 2010. Here's a picture of budburst in the .0005 hectare West Wing 'lieu-dit' of my Caulfield Mountain vineyard. Spring has arrived and the vermentino vines are loving the sunny days - not to mention the fact that a good soaking over winter has saturated my crappy sandy soils.
The House Block is almost there, too, and should be bursting any day now. Buckley's is a more sheltered site - north-facing but protected by an old stand of cypress - and looks to be a way off.
My Balaklavan grower down at the close-planted Valley Floor vineyard (30,000 vines/ha) tells me that budburst is well underway there, but he's had a problem with snails nibbling on the tender shoots. We'll have to try some peppering.