Spring Break on the Farm: Part 2

The first part of my vacation (well, really just the first day) was all about reorienting myself to what’s been going on around here. Spring is such a crazy time of year on the farm that I’m often just flying from one critical item on my list to the next without ever stopping to look at the big picture or take the time to fix what’s broken.

(The broken thing was my truck, obv.)

The good news is that the morning after I got that beast up and running, 18 grapevines appeared on my doorstep…


Which brings us here:

Part 2 – Post Holes and Planting Things

Going in to this I had a vague idea about what the grapevine trellis should look like, but it was really hard to find the kind of specifics and/or plans I’m used to having access to when building something for the first time.

Side note: One of the awesome things about writing stories about my life on the internet is that so often people who read this website reach out to me if something I’m puzzling over falls into their area of expertise, for example…


So awesome. And trust me… I asked ALL the questions. Huge thanks to Joe (@wine_and_wood) for offering advice/support and sending me a ton of great info on growing grapes… if these things live it will be at least 50% due to his good advice.  (And he says I can eventually expect between 150-400 lbs of fruit from just these 18 vines, so… whoa.)

My plan for the trellises was about as detailed as my building plans ever are…


By noon on Day 2 of vacation I had a truck full of wood and concrete, and a lot of holes to dig. Luckily, I have a tractor with an auger.


There was actually a fair amount of staking things out, measuring, and marking before the digging happened. And in the process of all that measuring and marking I made a game-time decision to “slightly expand” the scope of this project (slightly expand = double), so instead of 3 50′ trellises, I measured out enough space for 3 80′ trellises.


Now, most of the holes are dug and about half of the poles are in, but since the “vines” are literally little 4″ twigs at this point, I’ll be completing the rest of the posts, bracing, and stringing the wire over the next several weeks.


The good news is, all 18 vines are in the ground, and so far doing well. I’ve rigged up a watering system for them that basically consists of a 60 gallon drum strapped to the bucket of the tractor…

Eh. It works.

When the trellis is finished I’ll give a proper update on the specs and how I built it.  In the meantime, the grapevines weren’t the only thing that got planted…

Uh. That feels like a setup for something more interesting than the flower planters by my door, but…


Nope. That’s all we got. Also, I know these do not conform to the “thriller-filler-spiller” rule for planters, but you know what? My mom and I went shopping for flowers and this is what we loved so we planted them. Also, it was raining that day, and I suggested we just bring the planters inside my mudroom to plant them, and my mom looks and me and goes, “You. Are. A. Genius!

Ha. Here I’ve got two degrees and a full-time job that supports my tractor-buying habit, but all I had to do to impress my mom was suggest we bring the planters in out of the rain to put the flowers in them… I love moms. So much.

The real reason I’m a genius is because I decided to buy those glass water globes for them though (because with long workdays and a long commute I definitely don’t get around to watering my plants every day) and those things were $7 for 2 on Amazon… one of the best garden-related purchases I’ve made. They work fabulously.

I also love seeing those planters when I come home every day because they make me think of the awesomely fun day we had picking out trees (that will be in the next post) and flowers, and also how many things I can fit into the front seat of my car:


If you were wondering, I can fit 1.) a pizza, 2.) a 6-pack of beer, 3.) a couple of 3-ft tall clematis vines, and, most importantly, 4.) my mother… all in the front seat of my car. (Gotta love a Subaru.)

Also, those clematis are another thing we planted…


I believe they’re the “sweet autumn” variety, which will bloom in late summer. I can’t wait to see how the pergola looks with greenery and flowers all over it in a year or two… for now my mom is texting me every other day to make sure I’m keeping them watered which is the only reason those plants are still alive. Did I mention how much I love moms yet in this post? Yeah. A lot.

We also spent some time working on the gardens around the side and front of the house. Since one of the big pines in front of the house died this area has gone from mostly shade to mostly sun, so we’ve started adding more “sun” plants to the front, and we’ll see how they do. This garden is going to be a work-in-progress for years.


I’ve still got a ton of work to do around the gardens (the vegetable garden was noticeably absent from this post for a reason) but with a new vineyard in and a pergola with the potential to bloom, I’m feeling pretty good about our progress…


And about the view.

(Next up, Part 3: The Part Where I Get Older And Awesome Presents… soon, I promise.)

8 Responses

  1. I love the posts with your mom. I just noticed you call her Moms, as my kids call me. We get this from Trixie Belsen books, but you are too young for those. Heck, I likely am too, but have older sibs.

    I will not be relating any garden progress, as there is none . Enjoy the weekend!

  2. Love your native wild flower collection picked out, which reminds me I have a batch of native to Iowa wildflowers I have yet to get in my front ditch yet. I’ve been working on the raised garden veggie beds and will be installing an auto bubbler watering system this wknd. I’ll be installing a similar system in front in the landscaped flower garden so when I decide I need to get away from my little slice of paradise to wander some my garden will be sustainable albeit pulling a weed or two when returning. Be nice to have a 1″ pvc line above grade or 6″ below running to your ” Vines ” aka vineyard you could shut off and flush with air before freeze, with post, valve and timer for watering… just a time saving inexpensive idea. 1/5 a ton of grapes are going to be thirsty n it will give you more time to keep your archery skills honed and enjoy the enjoyment of awesomeness. The hardest thing about patience is it carries so much waite. I have a feeling your wine will be fine when it’s time….Rock On


  3. Kit, I love those Aqua Globes you mentioned for the planters, but, after having several break during a move I didn’t replace them. Instead, I use old wine bottles (or beer bottles depending on the size of the planter) to keep my pots happy.

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