Monday, June 9, 2008

Bloom Time!

This year we are two weeks late for bloom. Here is some Mourvedre on the bottom and Chardonnay on the top. As you can notice, the Mourvedre is in the middle of bloom and the Chardonnay is already baby grapes. It is hard to see, but if you double click the picture, the fruit set is rather nice.
Most important for us around bloom is to vigorously apply our chemical sprays for preventative protection of black rot, downy mildew and powdery mildew. We apply the chemicals with the BTTF (back to the future) airblaster on the 3-point of the tractor. Additionally, we add chemicals such as epsom salt (magnesium sulfate) for feeding the vines with nutrients. The season has been so wet and rainy. I wonder if we have had 3 days of dry weather before it has rained again. The rain is cumbersome in that the vines are growing a lot of leaves and this only means a lot of trimming.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Bob Cat in the Barn and Suckering

On this Saturday, the last day of May, I had two workers waiting for me to open up the barn. So as usual I go to the side door of the red barn and go inside. On the other end of the barn is two large sliding doors. So as I walked through the barn I saw a larger animal dart out from the opening in the barn by the doors. This opening is about 1 foot so a larger animal can go through this easily. My first thought was that it was a rather large rabbit. I have seen rabbits many times in the barn. So I proceeded to open the large doors for the workers: Roberto and Raul. Roberto speaks very good English. They proceeded to tell me that it was not a rabbit, it was a Bob Cat!!

Suckers are the shoots that emerge from ground to the cordon canes on the trunks. These shoots are not needed for fruit development or training. Therefore a requirement of sucker removal is essential this time of year. Another reason to remove the suckers is so that leaves on the suckers are not in the way of herbicide spraying to maintain a clean turf. We finished Kati bloc suckering and will finish Stealth Ridge and Limestone Hill next week if we are not dinner for the cats!