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Last Week at LIHREC

Last Friday was my final day at the research station and boy was it a crazy week! As the berries began to rapidly change color they intrinsically invited the birds to feast at their expense. We spent most of the week putting up bird netting. It was a really good experience because in previous years Alice and Libby did a bird netting trial with an eclectic mix of bird net (over the row, side netting, fine meshed, white, black, and the differences go on and on) so I learned a lot about what they found with the different types. You would think that over-the-row net is easiest to put up, given there is a tractor attachment for it. However, we had many difficulties with the net ripping that it delayed the process. Needless to say, I am happy the tying is over.

Tuesday was a nice break- a few of the Cornell enology extension associates and faculty came from Geneva for a Long Island Wine Maker’s meeting. Although my focus isn’t enology, I sat in on the meeting to hear what winemakers feel are the most pressuring research priorities currently. The requests ranged significantly- for example, some were interested in research the connected viticulture practices with enological parameters, while others wanted to get  a “round table” tasting together for Long Island employees to learn how to identify specific wine compounds and faults. There were even requests to make efforts to educate the general public on winemaking, grape growing and limitations to both given the different New York regions (specifically Finger Lakes vs. Long Island). They also spent a fair amount of time going over what extension’s responsibilities are and what they have as upcoming goals.

Thursday was a busy day of data collection. I went through my trial and took 1×1 foot square samples from my different treatments. I then separated the ground cover from weeds to measure dry weights. Libby sent over the dry weights to me this weekend. So far we see significant differences in the treatments, but we plan on running future stats. Another interesting point to note that the dry weight of clover only was considerably lower than the clover with grass- it turns out that other research indicates that clover grows better when sown with a grass. We also went through and measured shoot diameters on the vines that we took our shoot measurements from during the growing season.

Friday was a wrap up day – Libby took me out to lunch (sadly, Alice has to spray – the weekend forecast projected rain, so she had to take a preemptive strike against pathogen growth) at Love Lane Kitchen.

I spent a few days after work mounting the weed specimens I collected throughout the summer- the weed scientist at the lab, Andy Senesec, was a great help in identifying the species- I think I can confidently identify 50 now!

A great big thank you to Alice, Libby and the growers I interacted with this summer. I learned so much! It’s been an amazing summer out in Long Island and I’ve had a nice week to relax a bit. Monday, it will be back to the grind in good ole Ithaca. Looking forward to the Farmer’s Market, Buttermilk Falls, Just A Taste, Minns Garden and of course, my fall classes :-)

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