Sunday, July 30, 2006

July 28 - July 29 Things look good.

(Sampson Valley Vineyard at Sunset July 29, 2006)

Over the last 4 growing seasons, it seemed like I would find more problems than success at the vineyard. This year has been MUCH better. I still finds lots of things to work on, but at least things look pretty good every time I get out there.

We got lots of rain over the last couple of weeks. Things look really good. Disease pressure is still quite low. Some signs of powdery mildew, but not too much. Nothing like last year. We have had some very hot weather recently. Two weekends ago, we were in the mid and upper 90's this weekend we were in the upper 80's to mid 90s and will be near 100 F the next couple of days.

No signs of verasion (when the grapes turn to their final color) starting. Last year it happen about the second week of August. Over all things look good. It appears as though I have had 100% success with the fresh LaCrescent plantings. Most seem to be doing well, even the ones that were hit hard by the rose chafers earlier this June. I sprayed RoundUp around them to kill the weeds and grasses. I used a 2 ft high and 2ft in radius homemade cardboard tube to protect the vines as I sprayed. I also sprayed around the Seedless concord which are also are not producing this year.

On Saturday, I sprayed the entire vineyard with Kaligreen. This will be the last spraying I do before harvest which I expect to be around Labor Day this year. I used a rather light spray schedule this year (but more that nothing like the previous years.) It appears to have been very beneficial.

The experimental vinifera vineyard is still battling the deer. It looks like the deer are visiting fairly regularly. Decided to try a trick I read about on one of the grape growing groups. Using high pound test fishing line. I strung 40# test around the plot... I am not hopeful, but until I get the high tunnel up in the next few weeks, it is all I have. Since this is just temporary until I get the high tunnel up, I didn't want to invest in another solar fencer. Speaking of solar fencer, I noticed some odd burning and blackening of some of the grape vine leaves in the park vineyard on the bottom row. It didn't take me long to realize that the burns were from the fencer! The shock from it is very light ... Kind of like a static shock, so I was surprised that it could damage the foliage. Anyway I moved the fence back a few feet from the vines to keep the foliage from getting anymore damage.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

We have grapes!

It has been a while since I have been to the vineyard. I was out of the country for over a week, so this weekend was the first time in 3 weeks that have I been to the vineyard.

In general I had good news. No significant signs of insect pressure and no signs of disease. We had good rains a couple of weeks ago that gave everything a good boost.

I spent most of the weekend weeding, mowing and spraying.

After 3 weeks everything needed a good mowing. I then had to weed the new LaCrescent vines. I also removed the floating row covers that about 10 of the LaCrescent had on them. I don't know how much good the row covers did. The vines without the covering seemed to rebound nicely from the rose chafer damage, with no new signs of damage. The vines under the row covers seemed a bit stunted, and seemed to get a bit of a heat shock when it was removed. I think I may go back to the vine tubes next year for new plantings. However, I think I will get the snap together kind, and only use them the first year.

The concord did look terribly perky. Only a few vines are growing well. No panic from me, since they were really just planted for table grapes and I am more interested in wine grapes.

The La Crosse still look kind of poor. A few are doing well, but they just haven't recovered from all of their traumas over the last few years. This may be why there were so few grapes on the Saint Pepin. They need to be pollinated from another grape variety, and the LaCrosse they were planted next to did not have many flowers.

The Landot Noir, and Saint Pepin are both growing well. If the Landot Survive the winter, I may have a small crop on them next year.

The foch in general look better than they ever have. The four year old vines will even produce a nice small harvest. I estimate about 120 lbs of grapes ... maybe a little more. Not a lot, but it's a start.

I also sprayed a fixed copper spray to control downy mildew, blackrot and powdery mildew. The spray I used was Kocide 2000 (in which copper hydroxide is the active ingredient) ... not Omri approved, but still considered organic I think. ( not that I am seeking organic consideration.) I used about 1/2 cup of Kocide in 25 gallons of water. This is equivalent to 1 lb per 100 gallons. Which is on the low end of the suggested application rates. The temperature was in the upper 80s when I sprayed with a light breeze out of the South West. (I sprayed at about 11:00 am on Sunday) The leaves seem to dry very fast. I did not spray the top LaCrosse row since it was next to the Concord which is copper sensitive. 25 gallons total covered the rest of the vines. When the vines are mature, I estimate I will need about 50 gallons total. I also used about 2-3 ounces of spreader sticker.

In general disease pressure was low. I'm not sure if this was due to the weather, the dormant lime sulfur spray, or the kaligreen spray in June. What ever it was, the vines sure do look healthy.

The one major bad thing I saw was the deer eating the vinifera again. I hope they'll recover, but it has been a struggle with them. I didn't spend too much time on them this weekend. I hope to spend more time the next time I am up there in a couple of weeks.