It's been a while since I've posted, but trust me, we've been hard at work. We've doubled the size of the garden from last year and we're doing it with one less employee, so needless to say, it's been a taxing few weeks. The weeds have taken over, but we're starting to get control of everything again. I have hopes that in two weeks, we'll be back on schedule and have a tolerable level of weeds!
The vineyard is looking amazing. We've been spot on for the spray schedule so far and kept the black rot at bay. The thing about black rot is that the berries become immune to it as they grow, so about 4 weeks after flowering, we don't have to worry about losing our crop any more! But the leaves can still get black rot, and if we lose too many leaves, we can't ripen the crop, so we're not out of the dark yet. Last year, we got a great hail storm about this time as well. The threat of severe weather can take various forms and ruin a season in only a few minutes. As someone told me today- "I don't count my chickens until those grapes are in the picking bins!"
The grapes themselves are looking large. Because we got some hot, dry weather during flowering and berry formation, some of the clusters are a little spotty. In spite of that, I think I'd rather have spotty clusters than dense, tight, disease-prone clusters. It looks like we're about to stage 31 to 33 of the phenological development (page 5) so we're preparing for an early season. We'll be spraying the kaolin clay soon to slow down the growth and development of the little buggers. I'd better order some extra nets now! I got a lot of great new ideas for the netting in Australia, so we'll try to get it on in time this year.
We'll hopefully be opening up the farm stand in the next two weeks with all of our produce as well as introducing David Goforth's peaches. Until then, stop by the Elizabeth Ave Market or 4758 Poplar Tent Rd on Saturday from 9-12 and pick up the last of the lettuce, broccoli, kale, kholrabi, and fennel.
I lost my camera last weekend, so pictures will be slow in coming. Sorry!