Saturday, June 4, 2011

Grapes and Strawberries

My Reliance grape is getting out of control. Spreading onto the lawn making mowing difficult. One large cane that extended beyond the trellis broke during a storm. I realize that it's time to try some summer pruning. I wanted to improve air circulation and light penetration into this monster. Just as I was beginning I found this caterpillar. I'm sure it is great for my grapes. Note the sarcasm. I left him alone though. I will do some research to find out what he might be. Any ideas?
My raised bed strawberries are doing well. I'm not sure if this is a Sparkle or Sequoia strawberry, but it looks DELICIOUS. I'll let you know later. Whatever it is, I'm going to root the runners and start a new raised bed with them.


  1. Mystery solved! A helpful member on the GardenWeb forum told me that my cat is an Eight-Spotted Forester. After feeding on my grape leaves, it will turn into a lovely black moth with eight white spots.

    I can spare some leaves for him. :) It'll be fun for the kids to search him out daily and see how fast he's growing.

  2. First, sorry for the long comment.
    Second, I suggest taking the vines that protrude from the rest and use some soft yarn and guide them so that they wrap back around rather than cut them off. DON'T MAKE HARD BENDS OR THEY'LL SNAP OFF! You can guess how I found that out. Even though they might be 1/4 inch in diameter, they will not survive a hard bend. They have to be coaxed into directional change. They grow like crazy, so you'll either be tieing them or cutting them again and again. I found that if you train them to wrap around and go from one end to the other on the wires, you'll get a lot more grapes.

    Having said all that, mine look like they're dieing. They were the best growers last year! This year, one didn't come back, and the other was doing well with a lot of grape clusters on it. In two days, the vines started to look really bad. The little tendrils or whatever you call them are hanging down loose like spaghetti. The new leaves are all turning brown. The majority of the leaves have an odd shade of green. The VA cooperative extension is going to take a sample to their lab on the Eastern Shore on Monday and analyze it to see what happened. This is their fourth year and I was expecting a nice harvest. All that babying and nurturing for three years was for naught. I still have two other types that are doing wonderfully. I hope whatever it is doesn't affect them.

    Good luck with yours!

  3. Thanks for the tips. I did wrap some of them around. you can kind of see it on the lower left side. Those vines wrap around the stake from back to front. The rest I pruned back so they were no longer on the grass...In hindsight, I probably should have just pulled them over and tied them up....oops. This year I was only hoping to get a couple of bunches. Just to sample the flavor. I figure next season it will be bigger and better, and I'll leave more bunches on.

    My biggest issue is that my stakes weren't high enough. If they were, I don't think I would have had to pruned at all. Next season, after late winter pruning, I will be installing 8 foot stakes instead of these 6 footers. I'm learning as I go.

    I'd be interested to see what the VA Cooperative Extension says about your one grape vine. Maybe something is attacking the roots? Weird.

    At least you have two other types that are going strong. Maybe you could root the tips of those to replace the dying one. Although I wouldn't rush to plant it in the same place....until you hear the lab results. :)


  4. Wow I wish my grape vines would come alive.I planted 2 dormant plants this year and nary a bud or leaf yet.I'm gonna give them till next spring then I will try again,with different ones.

  5. Tommy,
    If I were you I would consider returning them. Or if you purchased them online, contact the company. Every place I've ever bought plants from have been really great about standing by their products if you have a receipt or order number.

    I ordered Reliance, if I recall correctly, from Indiana Berry when I was ordering raspberry plants. I just ordered a second grape, Himrod, from Jungseed last week. It's now in the ground, and I do see one bud (that it came with).

    I hope your wake up soon. :) If not, I don't know about where you are, but our Lowes has potted ones on sale now.