Thursday, August 9, 2018

Cooler Nights but No Rain

It’s beginning to be the norm for Missouri to be in drought in the growing season now. The last 3 years, the crops have gone begging and the sheep have went into the fall with all the possible forage consume, right down to the acorns. That makes for a rough winter for them and us. This means that instead of beginning to feed bay in December or January, we start in October and carry through until May when the grass is finally high enough to support grazing. Sometimes we have plenty of warm days October and November but if there is no rain, which there wasn’t to speak of last year,  but if there is no moisture,nothing will grow. This week we had the forecast and radar telling us that we would get almost an inch on Tuesday. Wednesday morning we awoke to damp ground but it is so dry that you couldn’t even see that it had rained by 9 a.m. Luckily we grew that field of sunflowers and we turned the sheep out in that field while we wait for the fields to grow from the rain that we had 2 weeks ago.

We will have more grapes this week, nicer ones than last.

Grapes are difficult in Missouri, they may be in other states too, I don’t know, I’ve never tried to grow them anywhere else but we do have a problem here with Black Spot. The reason it’s called Black spot is not difficult to figure out, the grapes get black spots in them. It’s a fungal disease. Where ever the spots are, the grapes shrivel up and ripen unevenly. The shriveled grapes look like dried up raisins but are not sweet. The clusters have to be snipped apart to enjoy the unaffected fruit. It’s a total pain and makes them harder to eat, harvest and sell too because they are not as enticing. We have really been working on getting rid of the Black Spot. Organic Copper, and the new Arbors raise the vines up and give them more circulation. It was too late for the Mars grapes, the seedless table grapes we sold the last 2 weeks. They were already starting to turn when Bill got that Arbor finished. But the Concords are later and we got that Arbor finished first.

This is what the Black Spot looks like, but you can even see one of the yucky and bitter "raisins" on the picture above.

We got quite a few clusters off of the Concords that we only had to snip off one or 2 bad ones. We did have a scare today though, the sheep figured out how to open a gate and were tearing through the yard. Luckily we were coming up through the field so they came running. Whew. They only got  a few tomatoes. It' could've been so much worse.

Another gorgeous weekend at Tower Grove. High of 87, with only a 20% chance of rain. We'll see you there.

God's blessings on you and yours.


Bill and Sam

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