Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Not much going on today.

The grapes planted yesterday of course look no different. I haven't planted any new seeds.  I did some weeding, but nothing to brag about.
I have been reading a couple pages at a time from "The Grape Grower" and i think i get it.
I like how the author gets you to start from the beginning without treating you like a dolt.

There have been lots of other things to do, like laundry. Its been a few days since we had bright sun and a nice breeze, i like to line-dry so i will hold off on washing towels for a nice day. Today is a good day to dry.

I am planning on smoking some fish.  The last time i did, it was salmon. It came out delicious!
But i don't have salmon in the budget right now, so i am going to try and see if Tilapia takes smoking well. I'm not normally a big fan of fresh water fish, they have a muddy taste sometimes that i can't get past.  I spent most of my childhood up to my neck in frog ponds, so that muddy taste reminds me too much of such things in a not-so-good way.  But Tilapia is pretty mild, close to tasteless if you don't season it carefully,  i think smoking it will bring out what flavor it does have.
I have to double-check on brining it first. With salmon i used a classic salt/sugar/water brine:
1/2 Cup Sugar 
1/2 Salt (no iodine)
1 quart of water

I soaked the salmon overnight (8 hours) in that, but it was 1" thick with skin on. The tilapia is thinner and skinless and salmon is oily.  I did notice when i steamed the tilapia the other day in the bamboo steamer on a bed of pak choi leaves, it tasted very much like fresh trout. SO if i treat it like trout, i might get it right?
I found a nice chart here:
Showing the brine time by weight of individual pieces.
Most of the flavor in the result is not going to be of fish, its going to be the smoke, but i don't want to end up with a fillet-shaped shingle.

But this is an experiment, so i think i'll just soak them in the above brine for 2 hours and smoke them for a total of 4 hours.
My smoker is a Little Chief front loader and it is sort of a warm smoker, not a true cold smoker- though in the dead of winter it can be. It heats to about 180 at the most and large roasts have to be finished off in the oven (i use my gas grill and cast-iron dutch oven). Its mostly a tool to apply the smoke flavor, not a cooker/smoker.  But it does work as a one-step for fish and jerky.


Faith said...

You know, I've never been able to find a thorough enough explanation of pruning grapes that left me feeling competent. It's one thing to read about it, quite another to go out there, look at your vines, and know what to do.

What I've always wanted to do is go work for free for a week or so at a vineyard just for the knowledge. One thing I think is done differently around here is the grapes I have seen are higher off the ground.

I have a three wire system. The grapes with the worst black rot are the lowest ones. Other places have their grape trunks growing up to about 6 feet before branching off.

Yesterday I was wishing I could do that, but it won't happen unless I rip out my current trellis system and start completely over. I can't afford to do that.

I overestimated my ability to counteract forces of nature with extra work. I knew it would be more work when I set it up this way, but I also knew I was not afraid of more work. Now I'm just tired of it and would like to eat some of those grapes instead of throwing them all away, for a change.

You can teach an old dog new tricks. LOL


icebear said...

i know what you mean about not quite getting the pruning concept. I haven't gotten too far into the book yet but its done in a bit-by-bit way that its easy to keep up and it makes me feel more confident that i can get it.
Its like the Apple trees, i'd read what i should do then i'd decide what i would do, pick up the loppers on my way out the door... then standing in front of the trees, suddenly its not so straight forward. lol
The complicating factor with your grapes are the sheer number of vines you have. I bet you or i could come up with a few ideas to supplement your current system to form the high cordon style, but any idea that seems simple has to be repeated for all (14 or 17?) rows. Re-doing that much work is a lot of challenge to face. How high is your top wire anyway?

Faith said...

That's exactly it. No plant grows like the ones you see in the books. They are all individualists. If we could work with someone in a vineyard, then the choices they made and why would be clearer.

One trick I try to implement is encouraging branching at particular buds. If you wish a bud would break and send off a branch in that location, wound the bark and cambium layer an inch or two above it.

I'd need to extend the posts by 2 feet, as they are about 4 feet now. Anything would have to be heavy-duty, and not a huge eyesore.

14 rows. If I replant, I will just do 2 vines per row. I need to locate someone who will let me take cuttings from cultivars that would do well here. I may think about putting out an ad. Maybe I can exchange eggs or something.


icebear said...

If i find any Mars being sold up here again and i have available funds, they will be sent straight to you. My edelweiss are supposed to be only a little susceptible to BR. If Burpee ever gets back to me and sends me live plants i can take cuttings for you when they get big enough. They are a good table and juice grape.

Hopefully you will be able to get things under control with spraying, even if you do get resistant varieties, bugs will still be all over them. So i assume some spraying will happen regardless. The book i have says its about organic growing, but i have not gotten to the part where the organic pest control is being discussed. I do hope it won't be things like baking soda and water, habanero puree and garlic water. The baking soda and water works on some mildews IME, but the garlic and peppers have never worked for my purposes.
I'm not going to beat myself up over the organic stuff at this stage.

Have you looked at the Gardenweb exchange forums? You might be able to trade cleaned cuttings of your current grapes for cuttings of resistant grapes over there.
I used to trade extensively about 8 years ago over there, houseplant cuttings and annual seeds. It was fun at the very least and affordable at the time.