Enjoying the grape harvest
Of all the fruits I grow in my garden I think the grape vines are the most reliable and versatile. Being vines they are perfect to block views I don’t want, decorate arbors and cover plain fences. In the summer they become laden with heavy clusters of tasty round fruits that are juicy and refreshing in the heat of summer. This is one plant that seems to produce enough food for my needs, the wildlife and even all the neighbors.
In fact, most years I end up piling them up on neighbor’s doorsteps, ringing the bell and running away since I have so many. Another good home for excess crops is the food bank. A drop off at the senior center always brings smiles, too.
Although I am fortunate to live in Southern California where I have a wide range of excellent grape varieties to grow for eating or for making wine, there are varieties that are adapted to climates of all different types. So you can probably enjoy growing these useful and beautiful vines in your garden, too, no matter where you live.
There are elaborate pruning techniques that are important for commercially grown plants or vines that need to be properly trained. Good pruning in the winter will assure healthier, better producing and attractive vines. But grapes are quite forgiving and you can have lovely, productive plants without fussing too much. I find you can get away with simply pruning back severely at the end of the autumn even if you don’t carefully count the nodes. Even unpruned vines often produce well enough, although the size of the grape and some of the quality may be lost over time. Growing grapes for the home garden need not be an exact science to enjoy a fine harvest.
I don’t know about you, but I love growing – and eating – grapes. Mine are clean and organic, and they are tastier, healthier and much cheaper than the ones I can buy at the supermarket. So off I go again today to fill my bags with more goodies from the garden to eat and to share. Grapes are fun.
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