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Resilience Thinking [Farming
Posted on April 20, 2017 @ 07:52:00 AM by Paul Meagher

I've been spending the last week at my farm property juggling the work of managing these websites with the work of pruning 2 acres of younger grape vines (6 years or less). I haven't had much time to blog this week but am waiting for temps to increase a bit before I head out for a couple of hours of pruning.

I waited until now to prune because I can also use my cuttings to replant where vines have died, gone missing, or are not doing that well. My usual routine was to prune earlier than this, turn my cuttings into started vines in my greenhouse, then plant them out around the end of May or early June. This was necessary when I was adding new rows to my vineyard, but now I am done planting out new rows and just have to make sure all slots in the rows have vines growing in them. Easier said than done.

Because we get high winds in winter and are at the edge of the growing climate for cold hardy wine grapes, I have adopted an aggressive replanting strategy. That means for every missing slot I plant 2 vine cuttings and plant cuttings where a vine is not looking very promising.

Planting two cuttings per slot is still no guarantee the slot will catch as some slots may be plagued a suffocating weed, poor soil condition, heavy accumulation of snow, in the path of a wind funnel, near a rodent habitat, in an erosive downhill area, or subject to some other affliction that renders it less likely to able start a vine.

The word resilient is used alot these days and I guess I'm looking for ways to make the vineyard more resilient against macro and micro-climactic conditions. I'm less concerned with resilience against rising temps than resilience against harsh winter winds that also like to topple trellis posts. I'm starting to reinforce my wooden posts with metal t-bars to make the trellis system more resilient against high winds.

Resilience is about looking around and looking ahead for things that might do harm to your business and adopting strategies that will eliminate or reduce the liklihood that it will cause harm. Optimism is what made me plant this vineyard in the first place, but resilience thinking is what will help to ensure it will persist.

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