Why do grapevines have aspirations to world domination? Every year I prune them back when they are dormant to the main framework with a few fruiting spurs on each branch and tie them in. But by midsummer they are sprawling all over the greenhouses, tangling in my hair as I move around, snaking out through the roof vents so they do not close and attaching themselves to any plant support they van find. I cut the worst offenders back again and still by the next winter there is a cats cradle of stems to sort out and remove!
Two of the greenhouses on the veg patch have wine grapes. However much I net the doors and vents the birds get in and feast. These days I have given up and allow them to enjoy the bounty. My winemaking skills are not great and do not seem to improve. in a good year the wine I make is just about drinkable – just about! So now I buy wine and, at least until I think of something better to use the space, the birds have a treat.
In the greenhouse at the house level is a seedless white eating grape. It is usually prolific and delicious. For some reason the birds ignore these. The only problem is that there is a limit to how many grapes one woman can eat before they go rotten. Luckily they are very easy to give away (unlike climbing beans which everyone is trying to offload at the height of their season!)
The third greenhouse on the veg patch had, until yesterday a vine producing red seedless grapes. It has been there for about 10 years but last year was the first when my netting efforts were enough to let me taste one! What a disappointment. It was not unpleasant but it tasted of nothing. So yesterday instead of pruning it (I know – last minute!) I cut it out. I always cut the prunings into short lengths and bag them as kindling for the wood-burner in the sitting room so I cut the larger sections to length too as small logs.
Now I need to decide whether to put anything else permanent in there. Perhaps a kiwi? Or maybe an apricot? – we had one up there years ago but failed to prune it to shape and it got too big and spreading but it did fruit well.