Monday, 25 August 2014

Growing the grapes.....Northumberland (UK) style!

So far this year, Summer has been good!  Here's the latest on my vines and happenings in the vin-garden!

The above right and left photos show the first planted up row of vines.  I have spaced the first row of vines fairly wide apart (6'8"/1 Matt) as once I have planted up the further rows, there will not be much air flow around in this area.  This area is sheltered by the wall and as I progress with the rows of vines, these will help shelter this area from the Easterly winds.  Although shelter is good, some air flow is required for a healthy crop.  I.e. It helps reduce mildew and other issues.

I didn't plant this row up at the most ideal time, more upon a whim with some cheap vines.  I was eager to get the 'vin' in the garden...

All the vines I have added this year, including the ones along the wall are showing good promise.  The top centre photo is the only cloned vine from the vine in my garden at home.  This cutting was produced completely organically and has never experienced any fertilizers.  I have noticed this vine has put on nearly no where near as much growth compared to the 15 or so various different vines I have purchased (which all had fertilizer in the pots at point of purchase).  The leaf on the cloned planet however is far more healthy than the bought vines, as shown below.


Despite the clone being smaller, I do think it will catch up as I believe it will naturally adjust to the soils quicker than the plants that have been relying on fertilizers. 

In between the vines, I have been planting up geraniums and lavender.  These are complimentary plants for grapevines among others such as roses and nasturtium.  Combine this with the chickens roaming about the place, scratching and shitting where they please, this makes the vineyard extremely close to being a bio-dynamic vineyard.

Bio-dynamic farming is the next step up from organic farming.  It is something that I believe could work very well for this particular project.  I don't want to bang my hippy drum about it or go on like some sort of bare footed eco warrior but I do believe that there's a lot of good in this and it's not all just hocus pocus.  Do your own research and make up your own mind, it may not save the world but what will?!

This method also allows me to grow perennial plants and positively welcomes things like wildlife, ponds and habitats within the growing area.  

There's the pond in the photo, there's been an absolute buzz of wildlife.  Frogs, Pond skaters, Water boatmen, Dragonflies and many different birds have been visiting the pond recently.  The spring water is used to top up the pond as I use the pond for irrigation and I do believe that the lack of chlorine in the water is why the pond has been so successful in becoming established in less than a year.  At this point I can connect the pipe which comes over the wall from the spring to another pipe which goes under ground to the centre of the garden and resurfaces to fill a large tank (as shown below).  This tank is about 6'4" in height and is dug in to the ground, it can hold about 2000 gallons.  

This system is not fault free, I am currently suffering an issue with air lock.  I feel like this will be a project in its self and is a one for over the winter so it it will be ready for next years growing season.  

A couple of pictures of my herbaceous plants above which have helped invite many pollinating insects in to the garden.

About two weeks ago in this area of the garden I saw three little owls (parent and young I think).  I quite often see an owl sitting on the wall too but it's very camera shy.  

The above are my veg plots!

I've had success and failure growing veg this year, it wasn't something I was particularly planning.  The success is all down to very positive soil.  The failure is down to hot weather and irrigation issues.  

No more progression on the poly-tunnel (see below) however I am thinking about making a land mass log burning heater...again another project to follow!

 Here are a few more pictures of what's going down in the yard....

Caterpillar party - Bank Holiday Monday
You haven't got a good garden if you haven't got a compost heap...

Holey Moley!

Forbidden this and I'll throw you out!

Pink shelter belta!
Favela Party!

Shanty Town Shindig!

Now go away and do something interesting...but read my next post!


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