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Saturday, August 25, 2007

Harvest season

This year Mother Nature almost redeemed herself for the early season freeze. We had a hot and dry July August punctuated with a pair of heavy downpours that soaked the ground just in time to relieve serious vine stress. Brix, which is the sugar content in the fruit, was climbing by one degree every day. The Cynthiana/Norton were the least affected by the freeze and had a cropload to rival last year in estimated weight. What's more, the Cynthiana were already at a brix of 21, well ahead of last year, leaving me to think that I could push them to 25 or higher and get an extra-ripe fruit to compliment the typically high acid in that varietal. Chambourcin and Vidal were coming along nicely despite ongoing critter attrition and the strange aerial rooting in the Chambourcins.

I picked the Traminette earlier in the week. They were struggling all season because they're early bloomers/ripeners and were hit hard by the freeze. And then the rains hit...two hard days of rain and cool weather that spoiled our hot and dry end to the season. I'm going to have to pick the Vidal earlier than I like, and the Brix was pushed down in the red varietals. They can hang another week or two, but the damp conditions might encourage some not-so-nice side effects.

In the photos above, the order is Chambourcin, Vidal and Cynthiana. In the first photo, notice how the bird netting was pushed in by some critter and one of the berries was plucked from the cluster.


David said...

The critter that pulled the grapes up through your bird nest is likely a raccoon. Smart and hard to get rid of short of shooting them. They decimated my Traminette and Lenoir. I ended up picking some stuff early just to have something. Once they get a taste for your grapes they will come back until the grapes are gone or you get rid of them.

DB said...

Ah, we certainly do have our share of raccoons around here. Our neighbor's dog isn't doing his job! How big is your planting...would you say that raccoons do enough damage to economically hurt a commercial size planting, or do you think they are more a nuisance in smaller plantings?

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