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Friday, 18 March 2011

Second Day of Pruning

I did some more pruning yesterday (Thurs 17th March). We’re still running very late this year. We’ve only managed to do about 0.25 hectares out of a total of 2 hectares.

I think that spring is also running late in this part of Spain (Madrid Region and La Mancha). I’d really have to check my notes, but I get the feeling that the vegetation hasn’t really started ‘springing’ yet. The only signs of spring so far are 1) the almond trees, which have been blooming for weeks, but almond trees are notoriously early bloomers and 2) those radial weeds called cardos marianos in Spanish (ie Mariano’s thistles!).

This is good news because, if I'm right, then the vines will be running late too and so we'll have a bit more time to finish the pruning before the buds sprout.

Almond tree in flower, with vines in background

Making a virtue out of vice, it's also the case that if you prune later, the vines will sprout later and so will be more protected against the risk of a late spring freeze. Like what happend to us last year on the night of May 7th - 8th, as a result of which we lost about 25% of our yield!

That's an example of a thing I've noticed over the years: no matter what task/activity you do (or don't do!) it will have both positive and negative consequences. In most cases, of course, if you do the 'right' thing, the positive will outweigh the negative. But still, it's an interesting concept.

Pruned vine surrounded by 'Mariano's thistles'

Top-down view of a cardo mariano

After pruning, I also gathered up all the canes and took them to the edge of the vineyard. Later this year, at some point, we’ll chop them up into small pieces and scatter them all around the vineyard. They will eventually decompose and improve the fertility and structure of the soil.

Piles of canes at the edge of the vineyard

I think this practice is also ‘sustainable’ in the sense that we’re not constantly removing material from the vineyard year after year (grapes, canes) without giving some of that material back. We also add organic manure (from an organic sheep and goat farm up in the mountains of Madrid).

More piles of canes

Lastly, it looks like we have a new ‘neighbour’ living in the vineyard. This hole/burrow was right between the two piles of canes shown above. I have no idea what animal could have made it. Seems a bit big for a rabbit.

Our new neighbour's front door


  1. Here in the UK the Almond trees are just about coming into flower as it has been a long cold spring but it is warming up now and early secateur pruningmust end soon.

  2. Thanks for commenting. I hope you liked the post.


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