By Craig Cramer, extension communications associate, Department of Horticulture
Grape growers considering the organic market have a new online resource to help them. The Production Guide for Organic Grapes provides suggestions on everything from variety and site selection to soil health and nutrient management. With a format modeled after the New York/Pennsylvania Pest Management Guidelines for Grapes, much of the guide is devoted to organic methods of controlling insects, diseases, and weeds. However, it also covers general vineyard management, soil health, cover crops, site selection, and vineyard nutrition management.
Tim Weigle and Juliet Carroll of the New York State Integrated Pest Management (IPM) Program served as coordinating editors for the grape guide, which included contributions from 17 research and extension faculty at Cornell and Pennsylvania State universities. "We were also fortunate to have four organic grape growers from across New York who provided their expertise in creating this publication," notes Weigle. Funded by the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets, this guide is part of a series of nine organic production guides produced by the New York State IPM program. In announcing the release of the new guides, New York State Commissioner of Agriculture and Markets Patrick Hooker cited lack of information as a barrier to prospective organic growers. "Farmers indicated to us that there was a lack of clear, research-based information available to help them transition from conventional to organic production," the commissioner said. "These free guides are in direct response to those pleas, and we hope they serve the farmers interested in transitioning by providing practical and proven information to make the transition as smooth and possible."
The 62-page guide can be downloaded from the IPM program's website at www.nysipm.cornell.edu/organic_guide/