Friday, April 2, 2010


It is cool tonight. There is so much green outside it is amazing. I think I can hear my grass growing! The lions are roaring very loudly tonight. The wind must be from their direction.

I am so glad I got all of the grapes in last night. Today it rained. Enough to completely wet the ground and fill the large puddles. Perfect!

Now the fun (and the lesson in patience) begins. Grapes can live for a very very long time. But they must have a strong start. That start lasts 3 years. And it began last night.

I will be treating these vines as if they are cherished. The first three years will be dedicated to training, fertilizing and pruning them. No grapes!

I will be adding my wire on which they will grow. I will lightly tie them the first year to train them to grow up. They will get light compost to fertilize the first year and I will mulch them heavily and water them often.

When more than three new shoots have emerged and grown to longer than two inches, I will choose the best three shoots and remove all others by rubbing or snapping them off the grape vine. This will promote faster and stronger growth for the three shoots that remain.

I will continue to loosely tie the new growth as needed to the wire, and remove any flower clusters that may form the first year. The flower clusters will steal energy away from the developing grape vine. I did this tonight as I cut the ties that bound the vines for shipping.

The second year of their lives, I will mulch them heavily with finished compost and renew their mulch. The compost will only be put on in early spring and again in June or July. No more after that.

I will continue to lightly tie the new growth and pinch off all the flower clusters. Also I will remove any buds that form below the three main shoots that I started the first year. When they enter their second winter, I will select a sturdy cane from last years growth that is woody and strong. This must be about 1/4" thick and tall enough to reach the top of the support wire.

On that cane I will start at the bottom and count up 10 buds. Then I will cut the rest off. That cane will become the main trunk of my grape vine!

All the other canes will be cut off just above the second bud. Do you remember french films showing men or donkeys coming from the vinyards with bundles of canes tied together. This is what they have been doing. I got to experience that many years ago in a very small town in the south of France called Trans en Provence. It was truly amazing.

During the third year I will continue mulching with compost, pruning and will begin training the shoots horizontally. It is in this year that I will let some of the flowers set. Only a few so as not to tax the young plant too much.

The fourth year they are fully mature and should be able to produce all that they can flower.

Some deep part of me wonders if I can wait this long.

This is the muscadine:

PS! This was dinner tonight; cucumber celery cabbage juice. Totally yum

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