Sunday, July 01, 2007

Grape Abuse

This morning I realized if things keep going the way they are by the end of August, I might be the only one reading my blog. And I probably won’t leave a comment.

Between home improvement projects, the wedding, and grapes you might be pretty bored by August. Anyway . . .

. . . last night I took a stroll into the vineyard. All three grape plants are doing remarkably well, maybe, to well. I severely pruned them back a couple of weeks ago and since then they have put on three to four feet of new growth and form quite a few new clusters. The vines to the left and right of the black trellis is all new growth. The grapes have started to form and are now the size of peas.

While I was pruning them back, I got thinking about Fred. Fred was a vineyard keeper. I met him eight years ago. When I met him he was seventy-three years old. He was out working in the vineyard when the lady working the tasting room called him so I could meet him. He came marching into the tasting room like a man on a mission. He went up to the lady in the tasting room and blurted out, “Where’s the guy that wants to know about grapes?” He smiled all the time I told him what I wanted to do. Yes, Fred loves grapes.

We spent the next couple of hours walking through the vineyard and Fred gave me advice about planting, watering, cane pruning, fertilization, verasion (the coloring), pushing the sugar, harvesting, and a lot more.

Then he told the most important thing. He said, “I know you are a forester and you probably have a lot of plants in your yard, but forget everything you have ever learned about trees, shrubs, and plants. None of it applies to grapes. Grapes love abuse.”

A couple weeks ago, when I abused my grapes by cutting them back so severely I actually felt quite bad. But, as usual, Fred had given me good advice.


Blogger Rhodent said...

All of my plants have to thrive on abuse and neglect!

10:46 PM  
Blogger Miki said...

Glad you took Fred's advice! You will have a crop on your hands, now what? Are you going to take winemaking 101 in your spare time? TEE HEEE! only kidding Ralph, and sorry I haven't been around too much, it isn't for lack of interest, it is jus tfor lack of time. Life got very busy around here over the past few weeks, and I need to try to slow it down, but when??????

4:22 AM  
Blogger Dan said...

I think everyone has been busy Ralph. And I suppose those grapes aren't that much different from us married men, they love abuse and wine a lot.

6:34 AM  
Blogger Britmum said...

I am going to have to report you to the Grape Authorities for Abuse to Grapes. lol

How could we get bored with you?

Anyway Scrags Mum once had grapes growing in this kind of hmmm room attached to the kitchen. Well it was odd. lol

Take care xx

10:51 AM  
Blogger Christa said...

I am planting my first grape tonight! I reclamed it from my parents house, it's amazing it's still alive - but it's only half the vine it used to be.

Thusly, I hope it positively prospers at my house. Between the heat and my occasional neglect - it will get all the abuse it wants! :)

2:03 PM  
Blogger Rachel said...

Britmum said a hmmm room....wonder what that is?? LOL

My Dad had some grapes and they always did well. Of course he had a green thumb and green fingers I think! He could make anything grow it seems.

I'm glad Fred gave you some good advice!

I saw in the paper where this couple are getting married on 7-07-2007 at 7 p.m. My neighbor is getting married that same day but not at 7 p.m.! I bet there will be lots of weddings that day all over the country!

BTW, we could never get bored with you Ralph!! Never!! I think we are all busy these days! Just take some time to smell the roses...or grapes!!

9:41 PM  
Blogger Cliff said...

Ralph, who is this Dan guy? I don't know him.
We have a cactus that we let run out of water often. It likes it. Abuse is a good thing. Sometimes.

9:53 PM  
Blogger Jim said...

My lemon tree only had two lemons set on this summer. Next year I would like some advice from Farmer Ralph. Thanks.

Have you seen the movie or read the book, A Year in Provence? There is some grape growing and wine producing going on there.
Our library has both book and movie.

10:38 PM  
Blogger Aravis said...

What a great story!

Hm. I don't have a green thumb, and I don't have a black thumb. I guess I have a sludge-colored thumb. So perhaps grapes would be the perfect crop for me.

I can heap abuse on a plant with the best of them.

10:47 PM  
Blogger 1 plus twins said...

maybe the grapes will be ready to make wine in time for blogstock!! if it is then count me in blogstock for sure!!! lol

11:17 PM  
Blogger nora said...

I'm sure my Dad would like to abuse those grapes with some sugar and yeast.
Have a lovely Independence Day.
I hope the plans for the wedding are going smoothly.

8:08 AM  
Blogger Sandy said...

I guess that's just what my grapes need is a little abuse because they aren't doing so well in the vine has even died.

2:15 PM  
Blogger Paul said...

We grew grapes on our back fence for all the years I grew up at that house. They were bitter, but my dad knew nothing about them. He just wanted them around for the bees we kept in the back yard. I attended a college in Oregon that had a grape arbor about 100 feet long on a romantic path. Those grapes were delicious. Well cared for.
I hope your 4tha July was a good one.

2:33 PM  
Blogger Cathy said...

Never doubt a man on a mission. He made sure you knew what you needed to know about grapes and vines. Obviously the advice worked. Glad your grapes are doing well. Do we see a vineyard in your future? How about wine? I've got a batch ready to bottle this weekend. But, no grapes or vineyard, just juice from concentrate. Sgh!

5:30 AM  
Blogger Mountain Mama said...

My grape has been neglected for a long time and it is now wandering over to the neighbors. I think I need to do something before it's totally out of control. Obviously I needs to be pruned but I will have to do that later.
Your grape looks really healthy. It must be very happy with its new trim.

10:25 PM  

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