The Walden Effect: Farming, simple living, permaculture, and invention.

Grape phomopsis

Mars seedless grape

Unlike raspberries and strawberries, which carry through for us nearly no matter what, grapes have been a problem on our farm.  We started out with French hybrid grapes, which attracted Japanese beetles like crazy (and which happened to have seeds, meaning that Mark wouldn't eat them).  There were also some disease issues with those early vines, but to be honest, the other problems were so big I never even got to the point of figuring out what diseases I was dealing with.

Baby grapesAfter Mark pulled those vines out, I planted two Mars Seedless in fall 2011.  The grape vines were pretty minuscule when they arrived, so only this year have they started to come back onto my radar.  One plant (pictured at the top of this post and to the right) clearly needs some weeding and training, but is otherwise thriving.  We might even get to taste a few grapes this year!  The other...isn't.

Grape phomopsis

Diseases in our garden are nearly always fungal, exacerbated by our wet weather, and the issue facing this ailing grape is no exception.  I'm pretty sure what I'm seeing is symptoms of Phomopsis viticola, and since I don't spray anti-fungals, the solution is to prune off the affected areas.  If I hadn't been sticking my head in the ground, I could have pruned a lot less, but I'll just hope that pruning now will keep the other grape from catching the fungal disease.

The good news is that Phomopsis (as people often refer to the disease) can also cause fruit rot, so perhaps it's responsible for the other issue I've had on grapes all along.  Only time will tell whether better garden sanitation practices will allow us to eat chemical-free grapes.

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About us: Anna Hess and Mark Hamilton spent over a decade living self-sufficiently in the mountains of Virginia before moving north to start over from scratch in the foothills of Ohio. They've experimented with permaculture, no-till gardening, trailersteading, home-based microbusinesses and much more, writing about their adventures in both blogs and books.

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