My back yard is enclosed by a 7 foot arbor festooned by grapes. I never say the word “festooned”, but apparently I must “think” it. The arbor surrounds the back part of the back garden. Right now the Valiant Grape is ripe, evidenced by the 20 robins on the utility wires and post above the grapes. We usually have a pair or two nesting in the area. But this is a gathering of the birds. This year I am giving away most of the Valiant grapes. Later I will harvest another grape that produces a bigger, slip skin grape that we enjoy as pie. My recipe for Grape Pie was one of my first blog posts.
This is what I picked yesterday! Let’s look at how grapes grow:
Our last frost date is May 15. On the 23, I took this picture of the grape buds just starting. Notice the new green wood that is starting from last years wood. In late winter or very early spring I go out and trim back the vines. Since I grow the grapes for privacy I have let the vine sprawl out.
By June 6 you can see the green wood getting longer and the grape getting bigger.
By August 16 the grapes are looking beautiful!
Valiant grapes next to an unknown green grape that ripens late in September. Years ago I took cuttings of this green grape, with permission, from a vacant home. Cutting taken in the fall root very easily.
A view from the alley behind my garden. Last year we harvested about 100 pounds! For bigger better grapes, it is recommended to trim the vines in the summer. I let most of the vines just grow, trimming the vines inside the garden for neatness. This summer we had 5 hail storms. I think the excess vine protected the grapes.
The robins are still enjoying the grapes I leave on the vines. I think we have less grasshoppers. I think the robins like a little meat with their fruit.