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Bagging Grapes








In some localities bagging is considered an essential to profitable
grape-growing. The bags serve to protect the grapes against birds. In
some grape regions vineyards suffer more from the depredations of
robins and other birds than from all other troubles. Grapes bearing
small berries and having tender pulp and those which shell most
readily from the stem suffer most. Of standard sorts, Delaware is
probably more enticing to robins than any other variety. There is only
one way of preventing damage to grapes from birds and that is by
bagging the clusters.

Bagging is also an effective means of protecting the grape from
several fungi and insects. In home plantations or small commercial
vineyards, bagging the bunches often eliminates the necessity of
spraying for fungi and for most of the insects that trouble the grape.
Because of the warmth afforded by the bags, bagged grapes ripen a
little earlier and are of somewhat higher quality than those not
bagged. Grapes bagged are protected from early frost, thus prolonging
the season. Grapes that have been protected from the elements during
the summer are more attractive than those exposed to the weather,
since the fruits are free from weather marks and present a fresh,
bright appearance, which puts them in a grade above unbagged grapes.
Bagging often enables the grower to sell his crop as a fancy product.

Grapes are bagged as soon as the fruits are well set, the sooner the
better if protection against fungi is one of the purposes. Under no
circumstances, however, should the clusters be bagged while in
blossom. A patent bag made for the purpose may be purchased or,
serving equally well, the common one and one-half and two-pound manila
bags used by grocers prove satisfactory. One of the patent bags which
is known as the Ideal Clasp Bag has a metal clasp attached to the top
for securing the bag in place over the cluster. In using the grocer's
bag, before it is put in place the corners of both the top and bottom
are cut off by placing several bags on a firm level surface and using
a broad-shaped chisel. Cutting off the corners of the top enables the
operator to close the bag neatly over the cluster, while cutting off
the corners of the bottom furnishes a means of escape for any water
that gets in the bag. In putting the bag in place, the top is pinned
above the lateral from which the bunch hangs, and must not be fastened
about the small stem of the cluster, as the wind blowing the bag
almost invariably breaks the cluster from the vine. The largest pins
to be purchased in dry-goods stores are used in pinning the bags. The
bags remain until the grapes are picked. Wet weather does not injure
bags and seemingly they grow stronger with exposure to sun and wind.

The cost of the bags and the work of putting them on is no small item.
To secure the best results, the work must be done at the period
between the dropping of the blossoms and the formation of the seeds,
when the grapes are about the size of a small pea. This is a busy time
for the grape-grower, which adds to the cost. When the work is
conducted on a large scale, the cost is about two dollars a thousand
bags, this figure covering both the cost of bags and labor. Women do
the work more expeditiously than men and soon become very skillful in
putting on the bags. Despite the trouble and cost of bagging, growers
seeking to produce a fancy product find that the expenditure proves
profitable.





Next: Winter-protection Of Grapes

Previous: Ringing Grape Vines



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