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September 7, 2012

The Red Flame grapes are revealed

The last couple weekends, Steven and I have been working on pruning the grapes, so we can find the clusters of fruit. I was determined to be more involved with the grapes this year, after last year’s slow ripening, thinking that if I changed from my usual hands off approach, maybe I could help them ripen up faster and sweeter. I did my usual winter pruning, which went well. I even did a very small amount of pruning in spring, taking out a few canes. I didn’t take out as much as I needed to, though, and I didn’t keep it up. The grapes grew and grew and I worked on other parts of the garden. As the time to harvest grapes got closer, I knew I had to get in there. With Steven’s help, the grape reveal has begun.

Red Flame grapes

The grapes are looking pretty good, despite my lack of care. They really do awfully well on their own, which is why I wonder how much better they could do if I helped out. Our first varieties to ripen are seedless grapes. Himrod and Red Flame come in first, around the same time and it should be soon. This has not been the  best year for the Himrod, so there won’t be many of these, but it is not known to be a good producer. Our Red Flame grapes, though, are looking better than they have since I started June’s Corner Garden. There aren’t a lot, but they have not cracked or gotten any diseases. This may be the first year I get to sell them. Our favorite variety, Canadice, look really good right now. They won’t be ready for a while though, late September or early October, I would guess. I am always worried they won’t ripen up very sweet in these cooler summers

Canadice grapes

or the birds will get them first. I did see a flock of birds in the vines a week or so ago. I ran out to scare them away and haven’t seen any back since. They may have just realized the grapes aren’t ripe yet. I may be covering those vines with netting to try to keep them out. The rest of our grapes are seeded varieties, which ripen in October and November (Buffalo, Steuben, Concord and Niagra). I need to do more pruning to see how they look this year.

We are more than halfway through the pruning and will try to finish it up soon. The weather forecast looks very sunny for the rest of September, with even a few more days in the 80’s to come. That should be good for the grapes.

These Niagra grapes need to be pruned next.

There are some Niagra grapes in there.

One Comment leave one →
  1. Geri Ethen permalink
    September 8, 2012 8:06 pm

    Michelle I’m out of town this next week — so no orders right now. But I’ll be ordering later this month! Thanks so much for your beautiful comments and produce. Geri

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