I used to look at spring rainstorms as beautiful events, bringing out the bright green hues of new foliage across the garden and vineyard. This years monsoon spring has changed the way I feel about rain being a nourishing act of God.
Thanks to rain, much of the road between the vines has been wiped out and part of the creek has eroded and endangered a parcel of Grenache grapes. This week we have been playing catch up trying to stave off my two new enemies: the funky funguses Mildew and Oidium.
Yesterday I found we have traces of mildew all over the property and horrible odium on our Carignan grapes.
In France when you want to go “bio” or convert to organic farming you are allowed to spray your vines with only two products: “la bouillie bordelaise” known in English as Bordeaux mixture, and sulphur.
Bordeaux mixture is sprayed on vines using machines, and it is bright blue in color. Not really organic, but the mixture contains mostly copper sulfate and lime (known in French as “chaux”).
The problem is that each time it rains, you have to start from zero and spray all the vines again. This year it has been raining non-stop, and even hailed yesterday. Between the rainstorms the ground stays too muddy and the tractor cannot get through the vines.
So my new BFF is now mildew, and I am afraid he is here to stay.