I will finally be travelling again. I am going to Cromwell in early June to attend the Biodynamic Conference! I hope I can arrange to do some field visit at some of the local Summerfruit Orchards in Otago as well. I used to like the idea of just sitting down in Starbucks in Dunedin and enjoy the atmosphere as the day passes me by, or bungee jumping in Queenstown, etc etc, but they don’t seem so appealing to me anymore. Recently, I was even caught saying “this is my happy place!” when I was at a plant nursery!

Today’s post is a late one because we just finished work at 6pm, when the sun gets down and we can’t differentiate between the grapes and our fingers anymore. We are just half an hour from finishing Grape Harvest 2012! Yesterday I was proudly thinking to myself, most of the people have already cut themselves with their secateurs and not me! I cut myself real deep within 10 minutes of starting work this morning. Jinx.

This year, most winegrowers are seeing only half their usual crop, and most of it with with Botrytis. We are seeing one quarter of our usual crop at Okana Vineyard this year, that’s because we changed the pruning system from double canes to single cane in a bid to improve the quality of grapes grown, which of course, will half the tonnage. Overall, my observation on what nature has dealt us beyond our control, poor flowering (less flower = less grape), good fruit set (flower > grape), poor filling up of fruit (tiny grape > big grape). We might have to pay more attention to the pre-flowering foliar spray that encourages good flowering, and seaweed foliar spray on fruiting zone during the filling up of fruit period to encourage good bunch weight. We will also have to keep an eye on individual pruners so that they don’t cheat by reducing the length of fruiting cane to allow for quick and easy wrapping. Overall, we can only help the grapevines to a certain degree, and thereafter it is beyond us.

I have planted my strawberries into the WIP strawberry cloches. 2 day neutral varieties, from front of picture to the back, Temptations > Seascape > Temptations > Seascape > Temptations > Seascape, same layout in all 3 cloches. I raised the bed by at least 10cm with South Hort Compost and Tui NOT 100% weed free Strawberry Mix. Tui should really either remove the 100% weed free label or add a commitment (or your money back) to it. Every bag they have that shouts 100% weed free, you will find weeds germinating in them the very moment you pour the contents out for the first time.

I am now eyeing up Lemon – Yen Ben, Lime – Bears, and Orange – Harwoods Late. I am now checking with Gayle from Country Gardens if she have them available on the dwarf flying dragon root stock. It started with the search for the real lemon. Lemon – Meyer are not acidic enough to do what we expect lemon to do, yet, it is the most promoted variety for lemon!  The search for the true lemon has also led me to obtaining a lime and an orange tree as well. I am going to raise the ex-herb patch and plant the Citrus in there, mulch at the base and companion planted with nitrogen fixing clovers.

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