Today is the first day I noticed the yellow starting to show on my forsythia bush. It is such a busy time of year here. My strawberry patch took a hit from the cold over the winter, so today I bought 24 plants to fill in spaces where I pulled out dead dry plants recently. So much to do and so little dry weather to get it done!
In addition to the Concord grapes I have been sharing recently, our property also has three Interlaken white grape vines. I have been nurturing them along all summer but they are just not what I would call a pleasant tasting table grape. I have a feeling that the previous gardener must have been a winemaker. Too bad because that is not at all what we would do. They look pretty, but are not sweet. Maybe they are not totally ripe yet? It seems late in the season now, but I will just let them be.
Thursday evening I learned a little more about fruit gardening by attending a meeting of the Kitsap Peninsula Fruit Club. These folks really know their fruit! I think I have identified the three grape varieties in my garden that were planted by the previous gardener: Interlaken, Seedless Concord and Candace. Today I harvested Seedless Concord.
Harvest for dessert!
Our home property came with five grapevines which I have ignored for two years, partly because I do not know anything about grapes and have never seen them grown. Another concern is that I do not know what I would do with all those grapes when they ripen in September. Last year I think the birds and critters ate them. Not wanting to continue wasting good food, today I pruned the vines to aid the ripening.I understand that I should have done that second pruning in June when the clusters started forming. Also, since grapes are indeterminate, pruning vines during the growing season is necessary. I think one vine is Interlachen, a seedless white table grape. I found a tag near the ground. Does anyone recognize these grapes? They are in the second set of photos below. Some local folks told me about covering the grapes to help keep the birds and critters away.
We have become stewards of several fruit trees planted by a previous gardener. Yesterday, Mike climbed up the larger cherry tree with a chain saw and thinned it out. I so wanted a picture of him up that tree, but did not plan ahead and get a camera outdoors. I was the spotter under the tree. After cleaning up all the branches and leaves, we wondered if it is also time to do the same to the plum tree on the property. This is a large, not very beautiful tree, in a corner that shades a nice area for growing roses. When I first saw that tree, two plus years ago, I wanted it taken down. Boy am I glad that did not happen! It has the most tasty plums you can imagine. Unlike any in the grocery. So this year it has a large crop of plums and I decided to pick the ripe ones today. Luckily, my neighbor over the back fence shared his invention for getting fruit high up in the tree and I got a big bowl full of plums plus some to share!
Since I have had no grapes in two seasons, this year I decided to hire a landscaper to prune the grapes last winter. We would always get lots of vines and leaves but no grapes. Now I understand why. The landscaper had experience with grapes and really pruned hard and went on about fruiting spurs…
I went away for one day this week and the crows must have known I was gone, because when I returned and did my morning rounds, I saw the tell-tale signs under the early fruiting cherry tree. Grrrr! They take one bite out of a cherry then drop the rest. Plus there was a mess of green leaves covering the grass. Time to spring into action. Now my strawberries and blueberries are covered with bird netting. Soon I will need to cover the grapes also. It is so ugly, but if I expect to get any fruit, it must be done. I also put flash tape around to startle the birds before they even consider landing. The last thing I want is to see would be birds tangled up in the netting.
A few months ago I explained that I have a Jonagold apple tree that I am making into an espalier apple tree. Today I noticed that there are a few tiny apples starting so I decided it was time to put on the footies to keep the coddling moths and apple maggots away. One side of the branch has been covered and the other shows the size of the fruit. Check back later in the season for the progress on this project!
July 2, 2013 progress