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 entici
g 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