Sunday, November 21, 2010

Bountiful Harvest, Fit for the Bin

One of the garden tasks I had to do today was to harvest all the grapes hanging on our pergola. It was a bumper crop, much like last year. The difference though is that last years crop were all eaten by birds the very day most of them started to ripen, not a single fruit was left. This year however, they were virtually untouched for some reason, and all these grapes were still hanging there just rotting away.
I couldn't just leave them there to slowly rot away during the winter. If I did, it's just bound to make more mess on the patio underneath, and with its proximity to our Koi pond it's best to remove them to prevent any fruit falling into the pond and consequently polluting it.

So I spent a good hour harvesting away all these succulent grapes, in the middle of a cold, wet November day, far from the southern European conditions you normally associate grape harvesting with.

Also today is a landmark day for our new kitten Knickers (I know, but life's too short to just use serious names for your pets), he's been allowed to go outside for the first time! A bigger, wider world out there for him to explore and use up his very high kitty energy levels. He was having a good time, jumping and running about exploring our 'jungle'. Here he is, on top of our temporary plastic greenhouse which seems to be one of his favourite spots so far.

Knickers also experienced his first misadventure in the garden today. Whilst I was in the middle of harvesting grapes, I heard a loud splash on our natural pond, and within seconds out comes Knickers nearly flying away towards me absolutely dripping wet!!! Poor Knickers, absolutely soaked in smelly pond water and shivering away in the cold air. I thought it was funny though, but what followed was probably just as traumatic for him, a wash in the bath! I couldn't just let smelly pond water naturally dry out from his fur, so my garden task had to be interrupted by doing a kitten bath. And like most cats, he hates water and giving him a bath has given me a fair share of bites and scratches!

Oh well, that's one new lesson learnt by him today. I think he'll be extra careful next time he goes near that pond.

Back to my grape harvesting and after another half an hour, Voila!, a big tub full of succulent white grapes, ready to be tipped into the rubbish bin. It seems a shame to bin all of these grapes but they're wine grapes, Vitis vinifera 'Chardonnay' and too sour to be eaten even when fully ripe. We grow them for the lovely foliage rather than the fruits so it doesn't matter, and certainly we won't use them to make wine!
A little tip if you're thinking of growing grapes for the foliage rather than the fruits: It's best to choose white grapes over purple ones, so when the birds do eat them you don't end up having purple droppings in the garden.



  1. I was wondering why you weren't eating the grapes so was glad you clarified that at the end. I have bought a vitus for the back fence I cant remember which one at the moment, but like you it is purely for the foilage.

  2. We really did try to like the grapes, kept trying them but they really didnt taste good.



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