Friday, April 9, 2010

"Gray Street Grape"

Conventional table grapes grow poorly, if at all in Florida, and many people are not fond of Muscadine grapes. Four years ago I rescued a grape from a soon-to-be razed rental, named it "Gray Street Grape" and planted it on the south side of the henhouse. Last year, year three, it suddenly took off BIG time and utterly consumed the henhouse AND the quail pen QUICKLY where it offered the birds wonderful summer shade. It bloomed for the first time last year, twice, but made just one red grape with good flavor. But THIS year it is budding up heavily JUST as the leaves emerge vs. last year's oddly timed bloom phases, so I am hopeful I get a genuinely productive harvest of grapes. I have obsessively tried to figure out what it is....a cultivar or a species, at times thinking Vitis aestivalis a likely ID...but that one grape being red really makes that unlikely. It may also be a variety that requires a pollinator.

Since I have established purchased plants of grapes that DO perform well in Florida thriving in 5 gallon Water Wise Container Gardens, if this year this Mystery Grape does not set fruit well I am killing it to make way for one of these productive ones (Blue Lake, Conquistador and Southern Home). Why grow a monster grape vine that makes no grapes?!

The pic of the bud cluster is a few days old.....since then it and the hundreds of others have GREATLY increased in size and number. The other pic is from early last summer before it took off. John

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