While I didn't always garden without chemicals (My old home still has the nasty bags of weedkiller and pesticides that are a constant reminder of that), I made the changeover about 4 1/2 years ago when I planted some concord grape vines. Not only are the grapes themselves edible, but the leaves can be used for cooking.
I didn't want any chemicals to touch those grapes, so I switched to organic methods to control pests, as well as weeds. Later, I let mother nature take over, and that's when my two vines began producing large amounts of sweet berries.
Since I hadn't been to my old home in a very long time, I was steeling myself for heartbreak. I expected dried out vines and brown leaves. I thought that my beloved grapes would be nothing more than a memory.
Boy, was I surprised!
Not only were they alive, but they were healthy! The mulch I had placed around them helped provide nutrition and increased moisture retention in the soil. My beloved grapes are growing quite nicely, and they'll be around to provide happiness for the next occupants of my home.
The only thing that could've made me happier was seeing grapes actually taking shape on the vines.
The most important thing to remember when growing grapes is that the vines must be pruned back before the first frost each year. This not only aids in health, but also ensures that the grapes will be sweet, rather than sour.
And yes, they were pruned last season. That's why the first image looks like I have a very small plant. By the end of the summer, the vines will grow up to 8 feet in length, given proper care.
My beloved grapes are healthy beyond belief! While I may never be able to enjoy them again, it gives me joy knowing that someone else will have the chance to enjoy them.
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