In which I get a grape


So, a fair few weeks ago we went to the Heveningham Country Fair and a fun time was had by all. Especially this man:

On the way back, my wonderful, loving OH surprised my with an impromptu trip to Darsham Nurseries, a tiny little plot which is temptingly placed just past our nearest petrol station. As ever I made a bee-line to the row of lonely looking fruit trees and proceeded to worm my way through the tangle of shoots and branches to suss out what was what and if there was anything I was desperate for (lets forget for a moment that I already have ....'several' fruit trees and a giant metal trough brought with us from Hampshire). Amid the 'Victoria' plums and 'Bramley' apples (yawn), were a few exciting apricots and peach trees, but for better or worse, they were awkwardly large for any pot I'd had in mind and were a pretty penny at about £40 each. So no go there.

The option of adding more trees to my collection being out, I then went to hover over the vine section. It was a hard decision between the Japanese wine berry, the yellow raspberries and the grapes, but after a much needed countdown to thirty from OH, I finally turned back to the patiently waiting attendant at the check-out shed, clutching a beautiful new grape.

I've planted my new 'Phoenix' into a temporary position in the greenhouse, where it's rubbing shoulders with the other high profile allocations; my 'Peregrine' peach and 'Red Haven' miniature peach and nectarine trees. And guess what! It has grapes!!!

These are what they looked like when I planted the vine about two months ago.

I'll train them to grow up as a cordon (like tomatoes, with little fruiting side shoots) along the back wall of the greenhouse. Grapes fruit on new wood, so each year from the central, single stem one of the buds will sprout new shoots with that year's grapes on it. I'll trim each shoot to three leaves beyond the grape cluster (these feed the grapes) and then back to one or two buds each winter after the leaves have fallen.

How do you train them? I've no idea. Oh, I responded with convincing enough confidence when OH asked the all important question 'Do you know what to do with it' but having never had a vine in the sense of not trying to kill it (think out of hand Virgina creeper) I'm a newbie. The pressure is on though as in the time it's taken to write this post in the odds and bobs of spare time, I've only gone and found two more grape vines, neglected and smothered by brambles growing against the walls in the garden. The leaves look different on each, so at least there will be some variety and I'm excited to see if I'll have enough to not only indulge on the ripe fruit but to thin and make some experimental verjuice.

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