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Applying the Lens Model [Lens Model
Posted on April 7, 2016 @ 07:19:00 AM by Paul Meagher

I decided it might be useful to apply the lens model (see my lens model introduction and my lens model in action blogs for background) to one aspect of growing grape vines .

I just finished planting some grape cuttings in my pit greenhouse and these are the 1 yr old grape vine cuttings I have planted out so far:

As I was preparing the vine cuttings to be planted in my greenhouse, I began thinking about how to apply the lens model to the problem and came up with the following lens model:

I created the diagram using the free draw.io web application which is a tool I highly recommend for creating diagrams. In my overall scheme for growing 1 yr old grape vines this year, creating the cuttings is one critical part where I have a choice to do it in several different ways so at to achieve a maximum number of viable 1 year old grape vines. The policy I have chosen may lead to the desired goal, however, it is possible that creating longer canes and leaving more buds on the vine would lead to a greater number of viable 1 year old grape vines. I have had some success in the past with my minimalist approach so went with this approach again but decided to formalize the rules a bit more this year. I do not use a ruler when measuring sizes so when I say 8 inches I really mean my subjective perception of the size of the cutting is around 8 inches. This size limitation means I can comfortably fit my cuttings in a common cat litter container I have around. I like to soak the cuttings in water for awhile before planting out and this rectangular container keeps the cuttings oriented in the correct direction when I soak them.

This particular lens model only captures an aspect of what is required to maximize the production of 1 yr old grape vines. In the expanded diagram below I begin to hint at some of the other factors that are important, each one of which would have its own set of simple rules designed to yield a maximum number of 1 yr old grape vines.

It comes as no surprise to me that there might be multiple rules arranged hierarchically that are required to achieve some high level goal. That is usually how higher level goals are accomplished. Often what happens is that if you have been performing some goal oriented activity for awhile alot of these lower level steps become routinized and when we come up with our lens models they refer to higher level requirements for achieving our goal. If you have to teach someone else to grow 1 yr old grape vines, however, you have to begin to break things down like this and in the process you might question whether your approach is really the best one for achieving the goal you want to achieve.

I will ultimately find out if my approach will maximize the production of 1 yr old grape vines if I don't end up leaving the door closed on the greenhouse on a sunny day and baking some plants. Alot of things have to go right in order for me to determine if my approach to preparing cuttings is the best approach to achieving maximum production of 1 yr old grape vines

It is useful to vary the conditions of your experiment to the extent that you are able in order to determine what conditions maximize productivity. I had some soil that had leaf mulch on top that I covered with potting soil. I ran out of potting soil and decided to grow some cuttings in the leaf mulch without any potting soil on top. The leaf mulch might maintain cooler soil conditions than having the soil exposed so I'll be looking for differences in growth that might be attributable to the soil exposed +- factor. Unfortunately I only have one variety of grape vine cutting planted in the leaf mulch. It would be better to be testing growth of the same vine type with and without leaf mulch. The lens model can be paired with some theory about how to conduct representative and generalizable experiments to refine your lens model(s). That was not followed in this case :-)

It is not difficult to come up with an action-oriented lens model and diagram it out. You do, however, have to get clear about what your goal is and the means you will be selecting to try to achieve it. The act of representing goal + means relationships via lens diagrams might be useful. To establish the ecological validity of your preferred means you should consider varying your means to see if they yield an outcome as good or better than your preferred approach. Some of the cutting length/number of buds experimentation occurred in previous years so this year I wanted to push the envelope a bit more in terms of maximizing 1 yr old grape vine yield in my greenhouse.

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