Friday, March 14, 2008

Installing Grow Tubes: Protect Your Vines From Rabbits & Other Chewy Critters

I came home from work and toured the top of the hill where we planted 30+ Aglianico vines six days ago, and noticed wooden stakes had been driven next to each baby plant and the obnoxious pink grow tubes were neatly in place. For the 2nd time in a week I was tempted to say "this is the first time in my life that I've been really proud of my wife." I was amazed at the transformation that had taken place while at the daytime job. (And reuse of the wooden stakes we used to stake-out the vineyard was economical, as we had run out of the thin metal stakes used to support the young vines.)

I went into the shed to pull out the weedwacker to hack away at some foxtails before dark and I was startled to see a baby r-a-b-b-i-t in the corner. I can't say the "R" word because if I do, Bluey will immediately shift gears into "sheep herding mode", come to full attention, and search everywhere for the "R." I wondered how in hell did the R get inside the shed? I poked around, found a hole in the side, and what appeared to be a den. Wouldn't surprise me to find it occupied by a rattlesnake in a week or so. I was wearing gloves, so picked up the baby "R", put him in a plastic pot, threw in a generous amount of hay and laid the pot down on its side next to the shed (where I noticed a hole going underground).

The "Rs" I don't mind so much; the grow tubes do a good job protecting the vines. (Suggestion: don't remove the tubes during the first year, no matter how ugly they are!) It's the gophers who are a problem -- the word sounds like "tappas" in Mexican, and I'm thinking I'd like to make a meal out of the gophers, who are making "tappas" out of our vines. Just got a call 5 minutes ago from Pat Burke, The Owl Man of San Diego, and he's got an owl box all wrapped up for me, which I'll pick up in the morning. We are choosing the "Owl" Gore method of rodent control, to save the environment by cuting down on the use of poisons. Stay tuned.

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