Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Grapes, Boysenberries, and Lettuce

Cam and I now have three grape plants. We have two concord grapes and one Thompson seedless. The concords are still flourishing, and the grape bunches continue to get larger each day.

Unfortunately, it seems that we have grape bunches coming from the same concord grape plant. I don't know why the second concord grape isn't producing fruit, but it hasn't yet. Its leaves are green and the foliage looks healthy, but no grape bunches. The strange thing is that the concords are planted right next to each other, so their leaves overlap, and it's hard to tell them apart.

Photo Below: Growing concord grape bunches

We've had the concord grape plants since April. And we had thought that having two grape plants was enough... until we went to the nursery last Sunday and saw the Thompson seedless. It didn't have any grape bunches on it, but its leaves looked healthy, so we wanted to give it a shot.

I love grapes, and I'd love to have a vineyard one day. That would be fun to grow grapes all day. I've never tasted the Thompson variety of grapes, so I'm hoping that this plant actually fruits by the end of the summer. That would be a very nice reward!

Photo Above: The Thompson Seedless grape plant after it was transplanted.

I still have no idea how to prune my boysenberries, but the fruit is starting to ripen and it's all happening pretty fast. It seems that I have a new, ripe boysenberry each day. Sadly, the birds have been eating the best and most delicious berries off the plant, but I've been able to pop a few in my mouth. It's quite a treat!

Photo Below: The boysenberry plant, taken late last week. See how the berries are starting to eat their color?

And with my impatience, I ended up picking a boysenberry that wasn't ripe yet. I just couldn't contain my excitement over the fruit. It was my first ruby red fruit, and so I washed it and ate it... and it was SOUR!

Photo Below: The not-so-ripe boysenberry in the palm of my hand

After I devoured the sour boysenberry above, I decided that it was best to wait and let the fruit ripen more. I read that boysenberries are supposed to get a rich, dark red color before you pick them. And luckily for me, I didn't have to wait too long before some of the other berries started to turn into that deep red color.

Below: Recent photo of the boysenberry bush

I still need to figure out how to take care of the plant, so that it will continue to fruit throughout the season. If anyone knows, I'd love the answer. So far, I haven't done much to the bush. I planted it in the ground near a trellis, and so far it's continued to produce healthy fruit. Maybe I don't need to prune it like I do the tomatoes.

Finally, a word on lettuce. After I harvested the lettuce head last week, I decided to wait to see if any of the other heads actually formed into a head. So far, no such luck. The lettuce continues to look unruly. But they still look healthy. I'm debating whether I should harvest more lettuce heads or wait until they become an actual head.

Below Photo: The growing lettuce in the backyard square foot garden. The lettuce is growing nice and big.

During the first month of our garden, we noticed that the lettuce in the front vegetable bed was doing much better than the lettuce in the back. It took a while for the lettuce in the back to catch up, but it's finally growing very strong and large. I don't know how I'm going to be able to eat all the produce. I guess I'll have to give it some of the lettuce away.

Photo Below: The lettuce in the front vegetable bed.

Photos Below: Close-ups on the lettuce in the back

Does anyone know if lettuce grows back after you harvest it? Do you have to plant new lettuce seedlings (or seeds) each year?

One very nice thing about this lettuce that we're growing: it's SO delicious and jam-packed with flavor. The lettuce that you buy at the grocery store tastes like water compared to what we've grown. I was shocked at the difference in flavor when I first ate it. It's crazy how much better home-grown vegetables are. I guess the grocers just add a lot of preservatives that make their produce taste water-down.


Gail said...

Everything looks delicious.... I think I might plant some spinach and lettuce this fall, it will work in containers and I could use some tasty lettuce!

tina said...

I use kitchen scissors to cut lettuce from my plants for a salad. It grows back. This year I am growing gourds over it on an A-frame trellis to shade it and my goal is to pick lettuce the same time I pick tomatoes. Wish me luck!

One Acre Homestead said...

I pick my loose leaf lettuces one leaf at a time as I need them. The plant continues to produce leaves further up the stem. In this way, you can have multiple harvests from the same plant until it goes to seed. Home grown lettuce is very different from store lettuce, isn't it?

DP Nguyen said...

Hi Gail--Do let me know how the spinach and lettuce work for you in containers. I might do the same. We have a sun room and we might try to use it as a green house of some kind. :-)

Hi Tina--Good luck with your lettuce and gourds! Our lettuce in the front, where it's shaded most of the time, did much better than the lettuce that was in full sun. So I think your lettuce might work out really well!

Hi One acre homestead--Very cool idea! I'll have to try it out. But I have so much lettuce, lol, so I'll try your method when I start getting down to the last few! And home grown lettuce is So different than store lettuce. I'm still amazed!

butterflynymph said...

my daughter has been eating every single strawberry off the plant - green ones included. I'm seriously thinking of caging the pour plants in to get some red ones out of em!!
~plantgirl of
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