The Grapevines

It all started with the Warrior’s Road Trip. The group of us headed out for lunch and some sampling of the local wines in Niagara on the Lake. From that point on I’m not sure how the plan became, but by the end of the day, it was decided that the Love Shack needed grapevines.

When it was first suggested I thought how hard can this be. I grew up in Upstate New York. Every backyard had grapes growing over a trellis. Surely, this can’t be that difficult.

As it turned out, this grape journey turned into a major learning curve for Husband and me.

First, I really didn’t know anything about grapes and as for Husband, he had built a lot of garden structures but not for supporting fruit.

After reading two books on how to grow grapes, I learned, that they aren’t as easy as I thought they would be. Grapes are picky about their soil. They need space all around them to provide airflow. They have to be planted with enough hours of sun or they won’t produce fruit and no standing water as they do not like wet feet. They also have to be trained to grow on the trellis which brought us to the interesting part, what is best for them to grow on.

Cedar post, metal post, and steel wiring were what we learned.

Husband has put in hundreds of posts in the past, but these ones of course had to be different. As it turns out their post are actually put in the ground facing away from the planting area. Yes, tilled out. When the grapes grow they get heavier and pull the post upwards which will actually straighten the post. If you plant them straight, the post will tilt in and not support the grapes.

Next, we had to find steel cables to run through the post for them to attach to and the post in the middle, the metal ones, can only be found in farm country.

Grapes also need mulch at their base to avoid weeds so they don’t compete for the water but most importantly, so the weeds don’t bring pests.

After having a general understanding of their needs, came the selection of grape vines. I cannot tell you how many different types of grapes grow in Southern Ontario, but since it is also known as wine counrty, I’ll leave that open to a guess.

For this part of the project, I headed to the greenhouse to talk with a grower. Here I spent a great deal of time talking with a grower who kindly helped me pick out our grapes. We ended up going with a Concord Grape.

Concord Grapes

It was chosen because it is sweet, seedless, and tolerant of our hot Summers and wet or dry Springs.

The Concord can be eaten off the vine, made into jelly, or used for juice. And since I had no desire to become “I Love Lucy” and stomp grapes to make wine, an eating grape, not a wine grape became our winner.

My final step of the process, was to pick up grape netting (to keep the birds from eating all our fruit), bamboo post, and meshing. Yes, we also needed all of this. When I left the final shopping place, in total, I had spent enough money to buy fifty years’ worth of grapes and put more kilometers on the car than I care to admit.

Now we were ready to plant our expensive little darlings, but before we could, back to the sun issue and water requirements. We had to dig up the lilac bushes and move them as the grapes needed their area to meet their needs.

Once the lilacs were moved, it took the rest of the day to dig the holes, pour the concert, and set the post.

The next weekend we drilled the holes in the cedar post, set the metal post, ran the wire, and then finally planted vines.

After they were placed in their holes and mulched, of course, they were too short to reach their support wires. Bamboo posts had to be added to support them while they are growing. And last but not least before giving them their first watering, they had to be wrapped in mesh to protect the stems from squirrels and mice.

Baby Grapes put in their new home

Once this project was complete came the next steps. I know what you are thinking, what could be possible to do next? Lighting and reflectors of course.

Since we hung steel cables on posts, for safety reasons twinkle lights were placed on the wires so no one walked into them at night. Then reflectors were placed between the cables so the birds could see them and not fly into them. And last, yes really last, reflectors were placed on the end of the post so no one drove into them at night trying to park in the dark.

Grapes with lights

My lord, what a project! I will never look at a bottle of wine or open a jar of grape jelly again without the ultimate respect for grape farmers.

On the positive side, my neighbors are excited about the grapes as they too love them. The vines really does look awesome lit up at night and I also got told I was a kind and considerate neighbor for thinking of everyone’s safety which was nice to hear.

And so there you have it. That was project number one for the Love Shack this year.

Today on our Sixth Anniversary of the blog, I shared with you our first project of this year. I think we are on project number six.

It has been a very busy time at the cottage and in our lives.

On the upside of the craziness, I am four days left to finish my schooling after two long years of school while working full-time during Covid as a Nurse and trying to build the Love Shack, and still managing some type of life and writing.

It’s been a crazy time and I thank you, my fellow bloggers, for hanging in with me. I really have so much to write about that I will make the time. This is a promise. I can’t wait to tell you what happened next.

For today, wish me luck on growing grapes. and Thank you for following us for the past six years.