I spent most of last Saturday getting ready for the farmer’s market but I did find time to prune and trellis the grape vines, I also trellised the pear tree I recently moved and I was able to screen some compost for the potato bins. By evening I had the truck and trailer loaded with three compost bins, fourteen birdhouses and display board, six compost screens, a bucket of compost and some red worms.
I headed to the market early arriving at 06:50 before they had unlocked the gate to the dirt road leading to the market area. I was first to my area and I unloaded everything before moving the truck to a far-away vendor parking lot. I walked back and set up my booth and by mid-day I realized that everyone else had an umbrella or canopy for a reason. It was hot……Next business purchase is an umbrella and stand. The market was fun with a lot of discussions regarding compost and other related topics. I had my neighbors Kim and Brad visit with a plate of cookies, four friends showed up with their kids and my mom, my wife and son Mateo also hung out with me periodically during the day. Mateo did check in with me periodically as instructed but he was again awol when it was time to clean up and leave. I walked to get the truck and he was at the booth when I got back to load up.
After the market I dropped off a three bin to a customer and then headed back home to unload before going to dinner and swimming. Quite a full day….but that’s what retirement is all about I have learned.
Well back to the grape trellis. I planted green and purple grapes five or six years ago and every year they have grown out of hand but they have produced a lot of grapes, mostly for the birds that have enjoyed hiding in the dense jungle of vines eating in complete safety. Thinning the grapes will give the birds less privacy to eat so I should be able to harvest some grapes this year.
Last fall I cemented in two fourteen foot posts and installed five trellis wires to have the vines grow on. I used a turnbuckle style coupling that is designed to twist to tighten the wire. I quickly learned even though I cemented the posts in the ground, the height of the posts led to them bending inward with the tension of the trellis wire. I had to install a top rail to hold the posts straight.
I started the pruning/trellising process last fall attaching selected vines to the wires with a Velcro trellising tape that is easily adjustable. As grapes grow more rapidly in the spring I knew I would have to wait until now to get the new growth fully trellised.
I started the process by pruning out most of the growth that was coming from outside buds of the grape vines (away from the trellis wire). I then selected the strongest growth and attached the vines to the wires with the loose fitting Velcro tape. The vines have already produced the beginnings of grape clusters and it was hard for me to remove some of the unusable vines with grapes but it had to be done. I pruned out all of the vines that I did not trellis.
I tried to keep as many grape clusters as possible, pruning the growth on the tips of the vines just after the last grape clusters. It will take a month of so for the selected grape vines to fill in the trellis but by mid-summer it should be a solid wall of vines with alternating green and purple grapes hanging down from the wires. The end result will be the topic of a future fall blog.
This morning I ran over to the junior high garden to water after a hot weekend and took a few update photos. The radishes are ready to harvest and I will have the kids in the summer school program pick and eat them. For many it will be there first radish and it will be fun to see the expressions on their faces when they experiment with new foods.
I am excited to see my asian pear and my small pear tree bearing quite a lot of fruit this year. They say it is better to strip the plants of all the fruit the first few years but I just don’t have the heart to do it. Also my raspberries are full and fruit is setting on with many bees pollinating the crop.
I let the chickens out to watch some of my gardening progress this evening. Nosy birds.
I will end this lengthy post with a nice photo of my climbing rose.