Block one in Barham is almost prepped for planting! In November 2013, we deep ploughed (or sub-soiled) the block, ploughing down 55 cm into the subsoil in two different directions, from east to west and north to south. This process breaks up and de-compacts the soil at depth allowing the young roots of the vine to spread more easily. This brought a lot of chalk to the surface as it is only 30cm under the topsoil in this area and gave the field a dusty beige/pink appearance! We then added organic fertiliser, with a view to boosting Magnesium and Potassium levels, by ploughing it into the soil. The magnesium and potassium are critical to early vine establishment.
Unrelated to the soil, but important in other ways, we have been removing any damaged or dangerous trees surrounding the block. There were a couple blown down during the storms over Christmas! Those removed will be replaced and the existing trees will provide an excellent wind break for the future vineyard. Fences and gates have been improved around the perimeter of the block and irrelevant internal fencing has been removed to ensure clear drainage of cold air and potential frost.
The block is now ready to be harrowed to level out the soil just prior to planting the vines, which we hope will be in the first or second week of May this year, weather permitting.