concord grapes made it

mostly...
i got enough of a crop to make jam.
:) :) :) (long-winded follows of course :) )
it was a lot of very picky but pleasant work in the shade under the arbor as i had to go out each day and hand pick the rot from the bunches. some bunches in the end had only two or three grapes left, but many grapes were the size of a quarter. there were still some nice bunches to pick. i had enough this year for 20 cups of grapes. i threw out about half of this-year's crop due to rot.
last year i had about 4 cups (we went away in early August and the rot did most of the crop in -- the birds did in what was left -- not sure if it was grackles or not, but this year the grackles have been kept away by the air rifle and i've had only some minor damage to the grapes by the birds -- as extra insurance i put up netting last week. :) ) i'll need the netting next year for the strawberries and grapes again so it was a good $15 investment (and the old singer featherweight machine got a good run out of the deal too).
the funny thing is i still have blooms coming here or there on the vine from spots where i've trimmed it to increase air flow. and the remaining grape bunches are enough to keep me happy for a while as they ripen too. depending upon how many the birds and raccoons let me have. the netting remains on for a few more days tho it is not secure as before. it looks like a brain illustration out of an anatomy text.
the plan for this fall and next year is to turn the triangle shaped arbor into a straight line arbor (one middle support with a T shape to get the vine higher above the frost and fog) which will increase air flow. also i want to remove the tiered stacking from more than one layer of branches (so one branch does not drip on another branch or the bunches from another branch). by having the T i can spread the vine out over the top. i think 64 sq feet of arbor will be enough space for an established vine. i'll have to come up with a system for spurs and renewal wood for fruiting that isn't in a book but i think i can manage that.
once the frosts are done and the cooler weather is here i'll remove a lot more older wood (to reshape and renew the spurs but also to get it removed from the two thirds of the arbor it won't be on any longer) and i'll take the time to remove any rough/loose bark where the fungus is hiding. i'll probably soak it with a fungicide (several bacteria species might be helpful for this approach) and then a compost tea bath (to give the fungus some additional bacterial competition).
oh, yeah, i have to move the rhubarb too. the rot likes the rhubarb.
since it is effectively the wrong plant in the wrong location i know i'm fighting more than i have to but i'm not really wanting to give up concords and this is the only place in the near term where the grapes can be. i've some research on alternatives, but i'm not sure they do taste the same.
yesterday, when i was picking grapes and trying not to stuff my face with them it was heaven to smell them under the vine. all this work is worth it besides being a good reason to go outside on a nice day.
peace and happy harvests to all,
songbird
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