Friday, June 16, 2006

Baigo and his grape arbor

These grapes were started in 2003. The arbor was built in 2004. It was designed so that, during the summer when the vines are actively growing, they will cover the arbor and shade a sliding door on the south side of the house. This way, in the summer, the vines keep the room cool, and in the winter, they let in the light and let the sun warm the room.

The grapes are Interlaken, Venus, and Canadice. They are easy to grow from cuttings, although I didnt know that when I bought the vines. I have started several vines, as cuttings from these vines. All it takes is some winter prunings, about 1 foot to 18 inches long; store in cool, moist frost free place over the winter, and in early spring stick them up to the top bud in the ground. Every vine cutting, that was given this treatment, grew.

Last year, there were several bunches from Interlaken and Canadice. The Venus was in its first "leaf", and did not bear.

This year they do have some powdery mildew. I'm trying to control it using neem oil. Maybe it will work, and maybe it wont. It looks like the mildew is stopped, so I'm hopeful. There are dozens of bunches hanging from the top of the arbor, with tiny 'embryo' sized grapes.

Even if they are not successful at growing grapes, they look nice, they provide a shady place to sit outside in the summer, and they cool the house. Since the deck, which they cover, was already there, they take up virtually no yard space.

Grapes should not be fertilized with chemical fertilizers. Their roots grow deeply, seeking out nutrients deep in the soil. Too much nitrogen, and the vines are rampant, but few grapes form. I used leaf compost to help build the soil, and have mulched them wtih some bark dust.

Grapes were grown by ancient Greeks and Romans. Sweet varieties were also grown by ancient Arabs. These varieties are descended from both the old world, and the new world varieties, melding flavors and ability to grow in local soils and climate; and ablity to survive local plant pathogens.

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