Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Rain Messes with Fruit Set

You certainly can't count your chickens before they hatch - especially so as it relates to predicting crop yeild and quality at the begining of the season.  You can get an idea of what the crop may return given optimal conditions but there are so many variables that can affect the outcome.
Leon Millot

You may get good bud survival and you can get a sense of what the year may deliver, but the canes that come out may have poor or small flowers, so you adjust your expectations.  Or great flowers but heavy rain disrupts the flowering stage and you get poor fuirt set.  Or maybe fruit set is great but you get powdery mildew attacking the vines or hail, or insects, cold weather or drought etc etc etc.

Every stage through the growing season has its own potential pitfalls.  This year we already have rain and fungal pressure as a cause for concern.  Don't get me wrong we love the rain, just not when the flowers are blooming - and that is when we got a pile of it this year.  So some of the vines experienced poor fruit set, notably L'Acadie Blanc and Ravat 34. Both of these were the last to bloom and were blooming just when we got alot of rain over several days.

On the other hand, some of the other varieties such as Leon Millot were blooming a week earlier and we have good fruit set on them.  The picture here of the Leon Millot is from July 1st.

Monday, July 11, 2016

June Showers Brings Powdery Mildew

So following the warmest April ever and one of the warmest monthes of May we have returned to normal heat towards the end of June but even cooler now than normal going into July and for the forseeable future (next 2 weeks anyway).  While the temperature was fairly normal for June, the days were mostly cloudy and overcast - not alot of sunlight.

Environment Canada long range forecast still says we can expect above normal temperatures for July and August but if the next two weeks of cooler weather holds true than this will be one of the coolest July's since we started tracking temperature in 2008.

 I was talking to vendors today and some of the more popular fungal sprays are going off the shelves pretty fast this season (like Serenade).  Apparently fungal pressure is pretty wide spread issue this year.

Also interesting is how the rain and cooler weather put the brakes on vine growth.  This year as of beginning of June the vines were at least a week ahead of where they were  in 2015 but by first week of July they are now about a week behind 2015 growth. Check out the link here to last year July 6 and look at the Evangeline photo compared to the Evangeline pictured this year here which have just finished flowering.

Thursday, July 7, 2016

New Leon Millot and Foch Vines

So this spring we planted just over 2100 row feet of Leon Millot and Marechal Foch vines.  The vines come as dormant rooted vines and before planting them you need to soak the roots for about 24 hours. This gets alot of water into the roots right away and climatizes the vines also.

In preparing the land we drilled a 10 inch hole 3 feet down into the grownd.  This provides a great conduit for a tap root to grow so that the young vine gets roots deep into the ground where there is plenty of water.  Drilling the hole also mixes the soil profile to at least 3 feet down.  When we planted the vines in the hole we actually sank them quite deep into the ground so just a few inches of the trunk as well as the top buds on the vine were sticking out.

Leon Millot
Marechal Foch
We are told that this is a preferred method of planting as the vines being deeper have lots of moisture in the soil and also will take a bit longer to bud out which could afford some protection from a late spring frost in the first few years while the vine gets established.  After a few years the vines root system will gradually fill in to a less shallow depth and also will send deep roots.

Its true while the other older established Foch and Millot vines in the vineyard were already leafed out, the new vines were just starting to show green leaf.  So the vines have been slow to get going but they are starting to take off now.