Bee on my privet

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

The Grapes of Endurance

While not about bees, this saga happened in my back yard and thus bears telling.
 Several yeas ago, four, I believe. I figured I needed some grapes. Not that I planned to get them or anything. They just looked cool at Sam's Club. A box of four but for whatever reason, only three varieties. Still, I imagined the vast amounts of raisins and wine that would soon be in my future. My own vineyard. What could be better?
 I purchased my grapes and proceeded to plant them about 20 feet from the back fence. Plenty of room for them to grow and me to mow and hopefully harvest my bounty. I left the tags on the grapes so I knew where the varieties were so I could anticipate my fruit. At this time I had no clue how to grow grapes. I just knew the were a vine and the source of, as I stated earlier, raisins and wine.
 Apparently I picked a really bad time to start a vineyard. That summer was the beginning of a bad dry spell for the area. I tried to keep everything watered but lost two vines that first year. The next year it was even worse. I lost two dogwoods, four blueberry bushes (I likely would have lost more but I only had four) a good bit of my privet hedges and what appeared to be my last two grapes. My wife also mowed over my son's blackberries in an unrelated incident.
 I figured it was all over and the whole vineyard thing was a write off. So I pretty much just planted nothing the following year. Surprisingly, as I wandered my non fruit bearing yard, I saw something coming up from one of the holes where the grapes was growing. At first I thought it was a weed but it ended up being one of the grape vines! well I tried to water it kind of half heartedly and it grew about three fee but died off about half way through the summer. I figured that was a wrap and I was done. It was stupidly hot and no rain in sight. No way it could survive.
 Unbelievably the next spring, it came up again! Well, I figured since it was trying so hard, maybe I should put a little effort into it. I began watering it daily. I placed fertilizer stakes around it. I also figured I needed some grape growing know how and hit the internet. I put up a trellis and attached it to the trellis. I was doing really well at this point. Shockingly well. I managed to get the vine trained down the bottom wire of the trellis and got the top started. I have it shaped like a "T" with the trunk in the middle and vines going left and right away from it. I also had another vine going up to a higher wire and it is also "T" shaped. The lower vine reached about 20 feet before winter set in and the top vine was about 8 feet. I was worried that because the vines were so thin, the ends were almost like little toothpicks, that they would freeze and die again. I just hoped for the best.
 Spring came and it budded all along the vine. Even to the very tips! This vine was determined to make something of itself. Well apparently to get grapes, you have to have a main vine that you grow one year and the following year the little branch vines that grow off that produce grapes. My little vine is currently so full of grapes that it is making my cheap PVC trellis posts bow.
 I have no idea what kind of grape it is, the label was lost the first time I thought it died. Hopefully the fruit will ripen and then I will know.
 I am just glad it did not give up as easily as me. It's really cool seeing all those bunches of grapes out there.
 The CD is to keep the birds off my grapes.

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