Journal | April 7, 2018

Hardscrabble Journal

Digging Holes

This week, after many weather delays, we finally started planting. 1,000 Cabernet Sauvignon vines are now in the ground. We still have another 2,000 vines to go. Every morning we plant around 300 vines. The warmer afternoons are reserved for pruning, tying and brush chopping (flailing).

The routine is that I mark the holes the day before using a 300’ tape measure and cans of florescent orange spray paint. At first light we dig two rows worth of holes (about 50 to 70 holes per row), and then plant and then repeat. The temperatures are still in the 30s F, so it is a good way to get warm quickly!

My favorite job is digging. There is much to be learned from every shovelful of soil. If one pays attention there is a wealth of knowledge to be gleaned from every hole. Some holes have layers of soil with black humus on top and orange clay just underneath. Some holes have lots of rock, which may be loose granite or impenetrable greenstone. Sometimes the soil is light and grainy, other times heavy, with sticky clay.

I already have a better sense of what to expect from this new block of vines. We’ll see how it plays out over then next few decades.