Saturday, May 28, 2011

Summer Harvest?

I mentioned a week or two ago that our flowering had been extraordinarily early this year, and the recent weather has only served to perpetuate the problem - daytime temperatures of mid to upper 20's (75° - 85°F). Using the traditional calculation often used by growers, 100 days between the time of flowering and the harvest, this would, in theory at least, give us a date for picking of week commencing 23rd August.... Looks like there might be less sunbathing time this summer!

Althought we 'enjoyed' a wet winter here in Galicia, and the water tables were well replenished, we have not had any rain at all for some weeks now and certainly surface soils are getting pretty dehydrated. We will therefore have to take this into account when we start our work on the canopies. Certainly 'green harvesting' will not cause any problems, and indeed, should only serve to enhance the quality of the fruit left on the vines, but leaf thinning is a different matter.

Leaves, as we know, are the powerhouse of any plant and provide all the sugar and nutrients required for growth. During the summer we actively remove a percentage of the leaves, not only to provide the fruit with better exposure to the sun, but also to ensure that not all the energy is consumed by thick foliage. The trick is to find the correct density of leaves, and the exact amount that we eventually remove will therefore be determined by how our weather evolves over the next couple of months.

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