Virtual Tour This virtual tour is posted since an actual tour scheduled for our Slow Food group on April 19th, 2020 has been cancelled. For a month or so as the snow melted I have been pruning the grape vines. The row shown here is before it was pruned and canes reach for 15 feet or more. This is the other side of the same row of Himrod grapes after the weak canes have been removed and the longer canes tied to the cordon wire. A drip irrigation line set up below the cordon sprays out to the middle of the row. A cart of prunings is ready to take to the shredding pile. This is our 20 foot by 24 foot “high Tunnel” greenhouse bought on a grant through the Soil Conservation Service with a kit from Farm Teck. It survived heavy snow with the cover intact. The sides roll up for cooling. This is the insde of the greenhouse. Grape plants in pots are in the far corner. The bed to the right has had the quack grass sifted out and a layer of compost-mulch put on top. This is a vat of Korean Natural Farming compost tea. A cloth bag in the water has compost, some rotten grain to feed it and some sea salt for minerals. These are compost piles. the one to the left is 2 years old with a lot of leaf mulch from the City of Colville. The one to the right is recent with our food waste and some commercial organic compost mixed in. There is a screen over the top to keep turkeys from spreading it. These are more piles of grape prunings, commercial compost, yard waste, pine needles etc. waiting to be shredded and mixed into compost-mulch. As regenerative agriculture inputs they add digestible carbon to the soil. Initially this kind of cellulose is broken down by fungus and then passed on to other microbes. This is a pallet bag of rotten feed from Red Bridge. There are a lot of larva and some gooey black parts but a lot of the feed is still intact. It provides a rich source of nitrogen to the compost mulch, much like manure. This is our Troy Bilt shredder. There is a container of shredded biochar in front of it and a pile of shredded prunings, pine needles, cones and bark to the left. More material waiting to be shredded is under the tarp. It gums up the shredder if it is wet. The shredder is on a raised stand to allow more material to accumulate before it is shoveled out. Here is our biochar burning barrel. By adding more fuel on top of the coals, oxygen is prevented from turning the coals into ash. When the barrel is full of coals, the lid is closed and the hot barrel is rotated using vise grips clamped to the edges so that the top is facing down and dirt can be piled around it to seal off the air. That leaves the charcoal dry. This is the empty barrel and a load of biochar in big chunks ready to shred. This older picture of the biochar shows a giant black cloud as it goes through the shredder. We have found that watering the dry biochar with compost tea before shredding cuts out the dust and inoculates the biochar with good microbes that stay alive in the biochar. The biochar easily absorbs moisture and does not seem to release and dry out. (The is a link to a movie of this black cloud in action.) Over the winter heavy snow crushed the rolled steel framework of the cover over the crushing pad where the grapes are crushed prior to primary fermentation at harvest time. This spring I rebuilt the cover with help from Chris Wujek (on top of the building) using schedule 40 PVC pipe. The pipe seemed to hold up better than the steel in the previous structure so this one is all PVC. Also there is now a rigid rafter at the top supported by a post and the building. It provides a steeper angle to make snow slide off as well at much more direct support. The cover over the crushing pad was finished on Easter Sunday. Now it covers a table with propagation heating pads under grape cuttings that are being rooted. The rear of the building is a storage shed and temporary fermentation room during harvest. These are cuttings with new roots before being planted. They have been inoculated with mycorrhizal fungi to spur root development. The potting mix is a variation of the mix used as a top mulch in the vineyard and garden. Cheryl and I donned our Easter Bonnets for this selfie taken by the lake on Easter. Posted in Blogs, Grape Growing, Regenerative Agriculture on 15 April 2020 by barrecavineyards 5 Comments » ← Gut Wars Mother Trees → 5 Responses to Virtual Tour On April 16, 2020 at 1:21 am, Sara said: well thank you for the tour … love your Easter costumes Respond to this Permalink On April 16, 2020 at 3:48 am, Don Worley said: Impressive tour Joe! I do miss the personal commentary however. Hope we can do some on-site visiting during the summer. Respond to this Permalink On April 16, 2020 at 2:34 pm, Jim Kline said: Y’all’s industry never ceases to amaze me! Respond to this Permalink On April 16, 2020 at 2:39 pm, Eleanor Mattice said: I love the shredder and biochar. Good work, crew! Eleanor Respond to this Permalink On April 17, 2020 at 4:20 am, Doug Baum said: Your old fashioned industry and modern ingenuity are admirable and enviable. Good on you. Respond to this Permalink Cancel comment response Leave a Reply to Sara Cancel replyYour email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *CommentYou may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong> Name * Email * Website Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment. This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.