I still believe that we can learn from our Mistakes. Remember: Always be on the lookout on the lookout for the purveyor of all things bad - "Murphy". Rule #47: The simple things are always hard.
Always trying to find a way to make the "Turf" more productive, I did some research into the growing of grapes. I discovered that not only is Texas a good place to grow grapes but that a man by the name of "T. V. Munson of Dennison" is world famous for his research into grape culture and did much of his research right here in Texas. I also discovered that at some point in the past a disease called phylloxera infested much of the European grapes which was defeated by grafting European cuttings onto American rootstocks a process still in use today.
I have a large number of "Wild Grapes" growing all over the Turf. Some of the vines are as big around as my forearm. You know the kind that climb up into your best Oak trees, shade out the trees leaves and eventually kill the tree. Not only that, the only fruit they produce are the size of a "Scratch Anywhere Match Head" and are so sour, you will only taste them once. I figure that there must be a way to use this ability to grow and grow and grow for some good purpose.
Sooo…, I began to devise a "Simple" plan to do just that and perhaps even cut vine development time down considerably. The plan is to pull the vines down from the trees and train them to grow on wires that are stretched between the trees much like "Muscadines and Scuppernongs"! Train them to the same spur system that they prefer and later graft some of them onto the wild vines thereby gaining the benefit of its extensive root system and reap the bounty sure to come
The project began with the purchase of a couple of spools of "Horse Wire", six dozen large "eye-hooks" and half that number of large "turn-buckles" which should be enough to tame up 30-35 individual wild vines. Eye-hooks to attach the wires to the trees and turn-buckles to keep the wires taught over the years.
It took the better part of 2 years of spare time to pull the vines down from the trees, trim them to the length of wire from the original tree to the next closest tree (20 -30 feet on the average) about 6 to 7 feet off the ground . Attaching vines to the wire was easy - just wrap the vine around the wire several times over its length and tie it to the wire at the far end.
It took 2 years because in some instances the project required clearing brush and mowing just to get access to the vines. In other cases there were some vines that were unsuitable for the project and were remove altogether for the sake of the trees. The end result was 32 separate wild vines to begin the grand experiment with. The vines seem to flourish in their new environment, putting on lush growth with their meager grapes even growing a little bigger but not much. They are so vigorous I have to trim them back every winter as they like to escapee back up into the trees. Best of all - Even though the vines are the most luscious green things around the Turf - The Deer do not bother them at all.
The commercial grapes for use in the grafting phase on the other hand are another story. This has been an 8 year ongoing experiment with 4 separate plantings of the grafting grapes without a single vine maturing to a size that will allow cuttings to be taken. (You guessed it "Murphy" is in this game as well). Each planting is started inside its own chicken wire cage that grows with the vine as it grows to the top of the post it is planted next to for training. (About 2 years.) As it branches out and begins to get with the program - Here come the Deer! - Party Time!!! "Thank You Murphy"
Again, I have learned another of "Murphy's" rules: The Simple Things Are Always Hard". Next spring I'm thinking of planting some grafting grapes out in the wooded areas of the Turf. (Could this be another Mistake)? See ya'll again on "Mistakes Part 7".
Take Care - Belwether