Friday, November 29

We should have been more vigilant!

Back in 2009 we decided to plant a couple of grapevines on the plot - a green Madeleine Sylvaner and a red Boskoop Glory. To be honest we didn't really expect them to produce grapes but thought it was worth a try! One was planted to grow on the side of the shed. It gets really hot inside the shed when the sun is shining so we thought a grapevine would have a better chance of producing some fruit here. The other was planted to grow up an arch that our plot neighbour had erected between our two plots.
The vines produced lots of top growth and looked very healthy. In 2011 Boskoop Glory did produce one or two bunches of grapes but these didn't develop, staying tiny and green. In the photo below they look much better than they actually were as you don't get a sense of scale.
I guessed that was likely to be as good as it would get and dropped my guard. Then this August I decided that the vine growing up the arch needed some attention. It was then that I spotted dozens of tiny bunches of grapes hiding under the foliage.
I removed lots of the leaves - something that I should have done much earlier  - and at that point really should have thinned out the bunches but I figured it was too late to expect the grapes to ripen.

But look what happened - they actually turned colour.
Now I wish I had given the vine more attention. Next year I will be more vigilant and try to get some fully mature ripe grapes.


We have gathered all the bunches but the really tiny grapes each containing several pips are not really any good for eating. We had considered making grape cordial but once the pips and skins were strained out there wouldn't really have been much left so the tiny fruits will be left on the patio table as a treat for the blackbirds. The birds tend to be more daring and come closer to the house as winter tightens its grip. Last year our patio table doubled as an extra bird table.
Madeleine Sylvaner hasn't made any effort to produce fruit which is a shame as being against the shed if it had any fruit I would be sure to notice. It needs to be  pruned and trained against the shed.
As is the gardeners' motto "Ibi semper est in anno altero" 


35 comments:

  1. Have you considered making wine? The presence of pips wouldn't be a problem. Had to resort to my schoolboy Latin to understand the motto, but managed to figure it out!

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    1. There isn't really enough pulp Mark and our last attempt to make wine from grapes ended up in a late night explosion and a ceiling covered in grape pulp. PS I wanted to set a challenge!

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  2. At least they produced something! And now you know to keep an eye on the leaves. I've read elsewhere that you are meant to prune away some bunches to allow the others to ripen (much like harvesting the smaller immature fruits on most things to encourage higher yield). I'm not sure how long they take to ripen though, I'm guessing it depends on the variety. Where did you get your vines from? I wanted some green snacking grapes maybe next year or the one after (when I have an arbor trellis thingy in place)

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    1. I would have thinned them out if I had spotted them Rozzie, We have an eating grape - Himrod - in our garden greenhouse which produces lovely sweet grapes without fail but needs severe pruning. I used to thin out the grapes in the bunches as recommended but don't now as it is neck aching work and as the grapes are seedless the smaller size of the individual fruits isn't a problem. I think we got the two plot grapes as an offer from somewhere but can't remember where.

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  3. It's a shame you didn't notice them sooner, but at least you know to keep an eye on them next year now. The birds will be pleased anyhow.

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    1. I will keep a close eye on it next year, Jo.

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  4. I suggest you continue neglecting them as you get such superb results.
    Pruning them properly is quite a chore for lazy gardeners like me.
    However I did spend a couple of hours on ours last week. If you leave them they really do go rampant.
    Not only are we too lazy to grow them properly we are too lazy to pick them but the birds love them and they are a visual delight to see the hanging for weeks in Autumn
    I wonder if your Sylvaner is too shaded? Its one of the best for the north
    Oh and I hate those pips! Brenda just chomps them!
    As to making wine Mark, give me a bottle from the supermarket!

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    1. The Sylvaner is in all day sunshine Roger, Basking against the heated wood of the shed, We do hard prune the greenhouse grapevine every year - royal we here - as otherwise we wouldn't manage to get anything else in the greenhouse which is 20' x 10' so not exactly small. If we don;t net the door the blackbirds fly in and carry out smash and grab raids!

      As for superb results on Boskoop - it would have been if the grapes had grown to a decent size so next year if it grwos grapes I'll cut down the number of bunches.

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  5. I think it's that thing when you visit your plot often that it's easy to miss things. Derek is very keen to plant some vines on our plot so this makes an interesting read as I wasn't sure that they'd grow.

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    1. They definitely grow SG now whether they will produce grapes every year and whether these will be edible is another story

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  6. fabulous - much better than mine which produced nowt

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    1. But not quite fabulous enough, Elaine.

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  7. I am glad for you. Next year you will be better prepared. Here we get plenty of sun for grapes to ripen but we need varieties that survive very cold winters. Nowadays there are more and more of these. Once you have pruned for shape, to cover you shed and arch, you can prune for production

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    1. I will definitely be on red alert, Alain.

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  8. Wow. I'd dismissed grapes as being something that had to grow in a greenhouse, and mine is much smaller than yours.
    I put the motto into Google... and just came back here!

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    1. Maybe because it isn't a real motto Jessica, Translated from the Latin it just means "There's always next year" I just thought it made a good motto.

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  9. I had loads of grapes on my Glory of Boskoop this year, but I also let the blackbirds have them. My neighbour makes grape jelly, but I really didn't need any more jam. In hindsight I should have tried more seedless varieties. Four out of the five I have have substantial seeds in the grapes, and the grapes aren't large. Fiddly indeed. The blackbirds have been loving them though, we have lots at the moment - a whole family I think.

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    1. We don't really use jam. Our greenhouse grapevine doesn't have seeds in which is great and it produces lots a sweet grapes.

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  10. Oh, I wasn't expecting to see grapes at the end there, I thought the vines had died. Wonderful!!!! Here's to next year!xxx

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    1. And larger grapes, Snowbird! Although I don't suppose the blackbirds will mind small ones.

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  11. Wow, wonderful grapes. I have never success planting grapes. I think the climate is not compatible for them

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    1. Our climate is on the edge of compatibility Endah. Not all varieties would grow here

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  12. Brilliant! What a wonderful surprise for you!
    I'm hoping to plant a vine next year in the tunnel to give a little bit of shelter to one end on the really hot days, haven't a clue what I'm doing but if I get results half that good I'll be chuffed.

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    1. I'd have liked half as many grapes only larger, Linda. A vine would probably do well in your polytunnel.

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  13. Our grapes went mad this year and they even climbed across to our garage and still produced fruit on these tendrils. The taste wasn't bad but we mainly grow them for their leaves to make Dolmades. Our freezer is full of them for winter treats.

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    1. The one in our greenhouse will escape through the windo, Chel and up a nearby tree if we let it. Never tried dolmades

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  14. My vines produced small grapes but nothing of worth, like you I have given them no attention at all. Now the vines are empty of leaves and the bunches stand out starkly but I think I will just leave them for the birds this year and try and get on with some much needed tidying on the plot!!

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    1. Maybe we will both be luckier next year, Tanya

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  15. What a lovely surprise. Flighty's success with grapes has encouraged me to dream about growing some myself.

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    1. We have had a vine in our cold greenhouse for years, Janet - so far no edible outdoors ones but it's early days.

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  16. Grapes from own plot! That's great! We need to buy them for hefty price from super market! ;(

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    1. Theses ones weren't really fit to eat Malar but we had lots of lovely sweet seedless ones from the garden greenhouse.

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  17. A good year for me from both grapevines but like you I should have done some thinning out.

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    1. We must remember next year, Rooko - then again maybe there will be no sun next year.

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