Thursday, April 12, 2018

School Horticulture Science Presentation

So one of the things we really like to do is to pass what ever knowledge we've learned or gained by experience over the years. We have been doing presentations on our version of sustainable vineyard practices for a few years now. Gardening clubs, Horticulture Societies and schools are often calling seeking presentations and this past week we were able to entertain presentations for a local school in assisting them with their horticulture science module for their junior high school students.

Arrow Lakes Vineyard has not used pesticides or herbicide in the 10 years of operation. We employ particular vineyard management practices that we don't foresee ever having to use these things and these practices are part of the presentation. We also use minimal water that we call sustenance watering. Its really only providing water to the vines to ensure they stay alive and healthy as the rest of the water needs come from rainfall. Weed free rows ensure that all the rain that falls goes exclusively to the vines and is not utilized by mid-row grass or weeds. Our water is also pumped by solar power or gravity fed so we have no power requirements to deliver the water to the vines.  This is just some of the stuff we talk about in a very practical sense using the real world example of Arrow Lakes Vineyard.

We follow this up with showing the students how to grow grape vines from cuttings and each student gets to start their own cutting and try to grow it into a grape vines. Hopefully they will all get to take a vine home to plant at the end of the school year in June!

The energy and enthusiasm of the students and teachers is great, and it surrounds the understanding of our impact on the earth in everything we do on it. How what we put on our crops has a much wider impact than the soil immediately where the inputs are dispersed is top of mind for these students. The consciousness they have around water conservation and pollution is exceptional and really positive to see. I credit the students for their understanding and mindfulness of these issues and their teacher for obviously making these significant learning points long before I came along to present.

Well done!

Thursday, April 5, 2018

So Much Snow and Cold Too

Amazing to see the difference year over year. We would normally have done all our pruning by now but the snow pack is unbelievable this year and much of the vines are under snow still. Environment Cnada says there is 140% more snow than normal in the Kootenay snow pack on the top of the mountains and for sure we see that in the vineyard. 

Not only that it has been much cooler than normal.  Normal March temperatures are about 3.5c average but we had 2 this year so while we have had so much more snow we are not getting any heat to melt it away.  Environment Canada says expect a cool spring as well for the next few monthes.

Here is a photo from March 25 2016 when we were preparing the vineyard for new vines and a photo of the same area this year March 29, 2018. Most of the second year vines can not even be seen under 2.5-3 feet of snow that is still out there.