Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Cool weather but Edmonton Grapes Flowering Early 2013

It has not been a warm spring leading into summer.  May was normal and June has been below normal but we've also experienced alot of cloud cover.  The Joffre in Edmonton is doing phenomenally well this year.  Came through the winter virtually unscathed by the -35c cold we had, nearly full bud survival also.  Probably 80% survival rate.  Every bud has between 2 and 3 clusters and even the secondary buds that have come from the same point as primary buds still carry 2 cluster per shoot.  In the picture below you can see the primary bud/cane with 2 larger flower clusters on it and from the same location the secondary bud/cane with 2 smaller flower clusters. See picture below;

What is amazing is that they are showing the first signs of flowering as of June 24th.  This is about 1 week earlier than normal and given the cool weather, probably more like 10 days earlier. See more Joffre photo below.

As of today the St. Croix was also showing the first signs of flowering, again about 5 days early.
I think that after 5 winter and going into the 6th growing season, these vines are stronger more mature and this has an effect on the winter survival rates and the earlier movement to flowering.  Will probably have a similar early effect on ripening of the grapes.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Edmonton Grapes Bud Break 2013

We had a relatively mild winter in Edmonton this year with a few cold nights into the -35c range in December 2012 but overall no too bad.  We also had good snow cover through the winter right through till the mid April point and as such the vine received good insulation from the cold.  At the end of April Mother Nature flipped the summer switch and we hit +31c in the first week of May and the vines are a bit advanced so far heading into June.

I left the St. Croix and Acadie Blanc on the trellis this past winter year to see how it would make out without laying the canes down on the ground.  Not the best year to make this test as it we did not have the extreme cold snaps nor prolonged cold.

Looking at the emerging shoots on the vines this year I see some amazing results.  The St.Croix (now coming into 6 years old) came out great again and has two clusters per shoot on nearly every primary shoot, even secondaries produce with this variety.  Some of the flower clusters this year are huge and I attribute this to the health and maturation of the vine.  The acadie is only in its second year since I moved it and it has 1-2 clusters per shoot on each shoot.  This is not supposed to be that hardy of a vine but it has no problem with the Edmonton winters, especially if the canes are layed down to the ground.  No need to bury them if they have a bit of snow cover. The Evangline also look good with decent survival rates considering I moved the 1 year old vines in early summer. St Croix photo below;
There were two big surprises.  First the Joffre completely survived the winter.  All primaries are budding out that were covered in snow and 18 inches from the ground.  All of the shoots have at least 2 clusters and many have 3.  Secondaries are popping up all over and they have 1-2 clusters also.  This builds on last year when we had several buds produce fruitful shoots and again like the St. Croix I suspect both the health and maturation of the vine (now coming into 5 years old) contribute to the climatization of the vine and increased fruit production.

The other surprise is an Edelweise that I had planted and dug out and moved into a large planter pot.  It had not been performing well so I dug it out with plans to move it or throw it out.  However as summer passed I did not have a good place for it and was not inclined to make room for this "underperformer".  Having said that, I left it in the pot in the garden and forgot about it and there it stayed over the winter and to my surprise not only did the vine and the otherwise exposed roots survive the winter - the emerging buds are also fruitful (which it has rarely been).  I'm going to grow it in the planter and see how that works this summer. See Edelweise photo below;