Thursday, 16 December 2010
The first meeting of UK organic and biodynamic vineyards was held at Laverstoke Park Farm, near Basingstoke today.
Speakers included Ben Raskin from the Soil Association, Will Davenport from Davenport Vineyards, Vinodh Krishnamurthy from Laverstoke Park and Jane Awty from the UKVA sustainability group. Representatives from nine vineyards, as well as the Soil Association and WineSkills attended the meeting.
The main topic of the day was spray programmes for organic vineyards and much debate took place about the use of sulphur, copper, seranade, compost teas and other treatments used for disease control.
It was agreed that a second meeting should take place next year towards the end of June with a focus on Biodynamics and the practical issues associated with using compost teas.
Thursday, 9 December 2010
Nick Seymour and Alex with the Weather Station
We are now proud owners of a weather station which was delivered and installed at the vineyard yesterday by Nick Seymour.
The weather is of course a major factor in our ability to produce quality fruit. By building up weather patterns over a period of time it will help us to predict, and therefore manage, the risks of pests and disease. It will also allow us to understand how the timing of flowering, berry setting and ripening effects the quality of the grapes.
The data that is collected includes temperature (ground and air), relative humidity, wind speed and solar radiation. It is updated on the web every 30 minutes so we can see from the comfort of our homes exactly what the weather is doing at any given time. The station can also send text messages to warn us of falling temperatures and the risk of frost. When this happens we'll have to get up in the middle of the night and put in place frost protection measures, which will probably include lighting bougies (oil lamps) and driving the tractor up and down the rows with a frostbuster which is like a giant warm air convection heater!
Sunday, 5 December 2010
Much to my suprise I was contacted by BBC Radio Surrey last week who were keen to interview me about the vineyard. Having overcome my nerves, my vanity got the better of me and I agreed to be interviewed on a programme called "Dig It", BBC Surrey's anwer to Gardeners' Question Time.
For those of you who are desperate to hear the interview you can get to it by clicking on the following link. It's about 35 mins from the start and only lasts for about 5 minutes.
No major cock-ups but I think that I was right not to pursue a career as a radio presenter!