Monday, May 17, 2010


Well, i finally got my grape planted. And it was tough considering how hard the soil was to and roots and all manner of hard packed ground.
I had to dig the hole extra large just to be sure the roots would actually be able to grow someplace.  I backfilled it with some of my own finished  compost and some of my dad's loam.
I wove it a support structure beforehand. I had to make it sort of like a dreamcatcher because i didn't have any heavy enough posts or the ability to dig the holes for the posts. I also had no wire. But this should work at least for a few years.... if the grape survives our winters up here, which i came to realize just today that it probably won't.
Unless we have a very mild winter and i mulch the dickens out of it...
And then it might not be hot enough up here for it to have decent quality fruit.

See...before i bought it, i read the label.  Its a Suffolk Red seedless....  the tag said its hardy to Zone 4.
Zone four!
I am in Zone 5, so i figured why not take out a bit of insurance in getting the type rated to an extra zone colder...  There were supposed 'zone 5' grapes available at Lowe's that day, but i thought it would be best to not push it.
This is its information page. I double checked to see if there was a problem in my eyesight...
Lowe's Plantfinder
Vitis labrusca 'Suffolk Red'
Suffolk Red Seedless Grape
Full Sun
6+ Hours Direct Sun (it can get that where i put it)
As trained
Zone 4
(-20 to -30°F)

 I usually do more research than just one source, but i didn't get around to it until now.
But now that i have, i think i can sympathise with a wet hen. Cause i am mad.
I can't find another source that labels this cultivar as hardy to Zone 4 .... consensus indicates it is hardy to zone 6!
Zone 6!!!
Also, it needs AHS Heat Zone 5...

I happen to be AHS Heat Zone 4.

I can't win. This grape is likely doomed and i just spent 3 hours digging a hole for it and weaving it a support system.
I'm not really upset about that, i'd have to do that for any grape, and i'm not mad about the $6.98 i spent on it.... its not that bad.
What i am mad about is the complete misrepresentation of this plant's hardiness and ability to set a crop.

I do hope this link is correct about the Zone 5 hardiness....  i hope i can lean that way and we have a few mild winters so it can establish itself. But with the heat zone needs,  i don't know if i could expect the fruit to ripen or to be sweet.
The thing is that hardiness sometimes just means that the roots don't die.  If the vine croaks to the ground every winter, i won't get grapes off it ....ever.
If i wanted fast, annual vines and maybe flowers, i'd have bought Dutchman's Pipe seeds.

I may have to just be content with Concords.  I wanted to try playing with winemaking someday to supplement the homebrew hobby, but i don't know if i will ever find good varieties for this because even when i try to get a grape to learn viticulture with, it turns out that its likely to be a losing battle.


 So, anyway, i used a 3/4"x 10' piece of PVC-( i seem to have a lot of that stuff lately), bent it over, pegged it to the ground and slid 1.5" pipe over the pegs to stabilize it a bit more.  Then i wove the netting. I would have done one or two more rounds of weave but i was running out of twine rather fast and as it turned out, i had just enough to get this much done. I need to center the knots more too so it looks better, but i ran out of 'nap time'.

I have some berry plant seeds coming that i can fret over and i'll take a wait and see approach to the grape.

On a bright note,  ALL my used books came in.

All today.

They look great, good condition and many, many days sooner than expected. All from 3 different sellers too.
I can't wait to dig in.
The book "A Countryman's Year" came with an inscription. It was given to "Dad"  for Christmas, in 1987 from Marcia and Dave.  I wonder if Dad ever got to read it.  I hope so.

I was inspired by another blog i read, to take an aerial shot of the *The Back Fourty (yards/meters)*....

Turns out, its a great photo of hubby's beautiful radio antenna....
I wish i could grow flowers up it, but it will make it not work very well....according to hubbs.
I only half believe him. It just seems too convenient. lol

Sprouts, round 2.
 And that one bulb is always going out....

So, we may be getting rain on Wednesday. We sure could use it. I have been enjoying the bright and warm weather, but its getting very dry.

I think that's pretty much it.  Digging that hole this morning was too much.


Faith said...

Wow. It looks like you can weave a web like a spider! LOL Cool!

If you can move that grape to a southern wall of your house, you might be able to gain a planting zone, especially if you mulch it well.

Maybe find an old metal headboard at a thrift store and fasten it to the house for the grape to trellis into?

Actually -- I know it's costly, but at Big Lots, do you have those up there?: - you can get a metal arbor arch for about 70 dollars. That would look so cool against the house with a grapevine growing on it.

If you can get a trunk to survive the first couple of years, you'll get grapes. But I hope that zone label is right as well, it's a pain to try to force something through.


Country Girl said...

That is quite the weaving job. Very cool. Doubt I could do that. Sheryl post a recipe and how to on Lilac wine

icebear said...

I would do that if it were possible. I was sort of wishing it were. The side of our house that it would need to be on is the driveway side, and the asphalt goes right to the foundation... no dirt to put it in. And hubby is not a big fan of climbing things growing on structures like houses... lol. So in the same vein of thought, i had hoped the fence i have it up near, will give it some shelter and the sunshine on the dark paint will make a slightly warmer microclimate for it. The hoop support i made for it will allow me to put a cover over it fairly easily, i hope. We'll see. If it dosen't make it this winter i will simply replace it with something more likely to thrive. As long as the plant labeles are honest this time! ;o)

icebear said...

Country Girl,
Thanks, its not really hard to weave it at all- which is great. I was able to figure out how to weave Dreamcatchers on my own when i was around 16 and into that sort of thing. Its the same technique.
Maybe i will do a tutorial on it for fun sometime. It can be used on just about any frame and the way it holds itself together is very convenient for smooth structures like bent tubes.
I really need to get more twine and weave the whole net, right to the center.

Thanks for letting me know about the Lilac Wine Recipe, i subscribed to Sheryl's blog also. I have about half my petals prepared and i just scrubbed out a 5 gallon glass carboy and airlock.
I can't wait to learn how well the lilac fragrance is preserved in the process.

Thanks for stopping by. :o)