"Self-sufficiency does not mean 'going back' to the acceptance of a lower standard of living. On the contrary, it is the striving for a higher standard of living, for food that is organically grown and good, for the good life in pleasant surroundings... and for the satisfaction that comes from doing difficult and intricate jobs well and successfully." John Seymour ~ Self Sufficiency 2003

Saturday 6 February 2016

Grape Harvest

Thank you, kymber - you are a special friend indeed :)

Well, t'would seem that I finally got the pruning of the grape vines right last winter.

For the first time ever I have been able to harvest more than 1 or 2 bunches of grapes from our grape vines.
Some of the grapes I harvested this summer
I always thought that it was the hares that were emptying the grapes from our vines before we had had a chance to munch some, but have just discovered that the mousebirds don't need any help from that quarter and that I had erroneously attributed the loss of grapes to the hares.

When I set about protecting our fruit trees from the mousebirds with the foil trays, I didn't have enough to protect the vines.
Recycled onion net bags - used to protect the
 grapes from the mousebirds
I did, however, have a few empty onion net bags from waaaaaay back when I was still buying them (yes, I am a hoarder, and proud of it ;)  ) so they were wrapped round the larger bunches of grapes.

Thankfully, the limited number of net bags I had worked their magic and allowed me to harvest a third of the bunches of grapes - the mousebirds got the rest.

Big bowls full of grapes to munch on after dinner...
Dessert in the evening :)
... and some to turn into raisins and sultana's.
Dried fruit in the making - they will be a good reminder
 of summers harvest in winter when we eat them :)
 All the squishy grapes weren't wasted either...
Soft, almost discard-able grapes weren't wasted
 ... they were quickly gobbled up by the chickens.
Did you know that chickens l-o-v-e grapes?
I have recently seen those net bags for sale at the co-op, and I will need to get a stock in for next summer.

It has taken 3 years to come to grips with how to prevent (larger) pests from eating our fruit - be that the strawberries, youngberries, apples / pears / apricots / plums / pomegranates, or grapes.  Next year, hopefully, I will be able to harvest more so that we have enough to eat, and a surplus which I can preserve through drying and canning.

That is my aim for summer 2016 / 2017 - to have enough of summer's fruit bounty left over, in one form or another, to tide us through the winter.


  1. I've just looked up how to make raisins from grapes and I'll definitely be having a try at it next summer. We don't have any predators for our grapes which are grown in a greenhouse. Well done for your recycled solution.

    1. Mum - I can't abide waste, so if there is any way that I can prolong the enjoyment of the harvest from my garden, then I'm game :)

  2. A luscious harvest, Dani! Glad you identified the culprits and were able to outsmart them.
    Oddly, my hens have never been enthusiastic about grapes - but yesterday they enjoyed finding every molecule of flesh remaining on several avocado skins :)

    1. Quinn - My lot are currently climbing into watermelon skins and pips - left over from a watermelon one of our neighbours gave us.

  3. Hey Dani, I am sorry i was unable to comment on your last post. My sincere sympathy is sent to you for the loss of the lovely Scallywag. I hope that the good memories make this hard time pass quickly.

    On to the grapes. In previous houses, everyone told us that grapes would not grow in our clay soil. They did and were prolific and we did nothing to them but prune them hard like they do in the south of France. We asked a man there what to do and he wrote and drew on a piece of paper and even gave us a whip to try and grow (it sadly died, my fault I think).

    I have 4 whips growing in the garden at the moment, I hope they survive the winter and that we can put them in the ground at some point.

    Massive hugs beaming through the ether

    Sol xxx

    1. Sol - Thank you. Yes, good memories, and photo's help.

      We are growing our grapes in clay soil - actually, come to think of it, most of the vineyards I've seen are clay soil(ed).

      My pruning is what I have tried to understand from the Net - but seeing, and then doing when you're faced with your plant isn't always the same thing lol But, I guess I must be getting better.

  4. Ive also managed a small harvest from a vine that's growing all the way up a huge tree in my backyard. My pest of hate is that big yellow and black beetle. As soon as the grapes are gone, they move onto the quince. Any ideas for humane elimination would be welcome.

    1. pqsa - Sorry - I have no idea what to do about the beetles - apart from squash them...

    2. I tried drowning them, but they're pretty good swimmers. So I ended up squashing them, which wasn't easy, they have very thick shells. Don't like to kill anything, but they're in the same category as snails and ants now - public enemies 1, 2 and 3.

    3. If I am picturing the beetle you are talking about it is similar (the same?) as the beetles which attack roses.

      Perhaps this will help - CONTROL ROSE CHAFER BEETLES

      (hope my link works...)

      Also : http://www.hobbyfarms.com/crops-and-gardening/14-plants-to-repel-beetles-and-other-garden-pests.aspx

      Seems the secret is soapy water ;)

  5. I always love to hear what you are doing. The grapes look wonderful and you have a much larger yield than we have had here !

    1. Jane - Thankfully, the grapes were sweet and delicious. Not sure how we achieved that - guess (sufficient) watering and loads of mulch may have something to do with it? With the heat we've had I'm surprised any of our fruit survived.

  6. Dani - you are very welcome.

    as for grapes - this year is the first time we got any that we could actually eat. the previous owner planted the vines years ago, they got run over by weeds and birds and we just haven't paid much attention to them. but after getting a small harvest of grapes this year, we will try and do something with them in the coming year. we've been reading about pruning and it's pretty confusing. we are also thinking of covering them in burlap over the winter. we don't have probs with pests or birds eating them so far so fingers crossed. just another thing to add to the list of stuff we are growing ourselves.

    sending much love your way! your friend,

    1. kymber - It's the funniest thing - Canada, to me, is those snow capped mountains reflecting in gorgeous lakes. Yet, watching the programmes on History, Discovery and NatGeo channels here I have been blown away at the amount of insects (and HECTIC) mosquito's you have there. Now, similarly, I would never have imagined that it was warm enough to grow grapes in that far northern country!!

      I'm living proof that you're never too old to learn something new lololol


Thank you for taking the time to comment - it makes my day and removes the "loneliness' of sitting at my screen blogging supposedly to myself ;) I try and reply as quickly as possible so please forgive me if sometimes my response is delayed.