Fruit is Setting!

As we work in the vineyard, it is so exciting to see the grapes forming daily! Here are some pictures taken within the last week so you can see the progression of the formation of the actual fruit.

First, you can see the blooms. If you look closely, you should be able to see the little round green nodule behind the bloom that will eventually be grapes.

Here is another picture showing the fruit on the left (after the blooms are spent) and a full cluster of blooms, although a bit fuzzy, on the lower right.

These pictures were taken early last week and the grapes have already gotten even larger!

Vineyard Overview

John climbed on top of our filter station barn to take the following pictures. The filter station building protects the pressure gauges and exposed pipes for our in-ground, drip irrigation system from the wind and weather.

Here is the 2009 planting of Roussanne. As mentioned “Pruning and Training in the Vineyard”, we did not train these vines at all last year. The plants were delayed in their growth because of warm weather in January and February which cause the vines to bud prematurely. This was followed by freezes which killed the primary and secondary buds. Because the vines expended so much energy to produce a third or tertiary bud, the growth was delayed.

We are just beginning to select one of the shoots from each plant, tape it to the bamboo which is for vertical support until the vine reaches the horizontal cordon wire. Once the best shoot is selected, the remainder of the shoots are then cut off so all the plant’s energy can go to the main stem.

Here you can see the 2008 Aglianico which produced a small harvest last year. We are periodically walking through and taping the new growth to the cordon wire. It is loaded with fruit and, Lord willing, will produce a good harvest in the fall.

Thankfully, everything is growing with gusto this year! In fact, we are hustling just to keep up with all the work!

What Happened?

As you can see, the pots are empty – Why? Because all of my tomato seedlings died – it was so sad. They all died within a week! I posted previously about “Gardening From Seeds” and wanted to let you know that despite how well the seedlings were looking, it was short lived. When posting “The Garden is Planted”, the tomato plants used were bought from a nursery. Unfortunately, those also, all died. We are now on our third set of plants and they seem to being doing fine.

After investigating online and with our grape consultant (who did post grad work with tomatoes), it seems I made a common mistake in not using sterile potting soil. It would have been so easy to cover my trays with plastic and set them in the sun. That would be all it took to sterilize the soil before planting the seeds! Since I did not, the moisture in the soil from watering the seeds allowed a virus which was already in the soil to thrive. It is also called “damping-off”.  But, I did not know – live and learn – right?

So, why did the second set of plants die? Perhaps, they had the virus too! The eggplants which I also bought from the same nursery died very quickly. Many times, plants bought from a nursery which are small or have a purple tint to their leaves and stem are infected. These are the most common signs and this may occur at a local feed store or a reputable nursery.

It was a hard lesson. Not only did I lose the money spent on the seeds, but also the anticipation of the fabulous varieties of tomatoes we planted. I will try again next year to start plants from seeds. Hopefully, we will have our greenhouse together and the plants will have more protection from the wind, as well as, airborne diseases. And, I will definitely sterilize my soil before planting!