As promised, brutal honesty is afoot.
I’ve killed the Potager. We’re going to have to come up with another name for it.
What has, for years, been the place where good ideas and plants go to die, is now a wee vineyard (LOL, dare I call 2 whole grape vines a vineyard?)
2021, while an absolute desert of gardening for me, didn’t stop me from swinging by the local fancy nursery during their big end of season sale (even sad/anxious people love a good bargain). My efforts were rewarded with Itsaca and Frontenac vines for a song. All of which dovetailed nicely with our pandemic-diversion-hobby of home wine making (yes, I was making wine all winter, its another story for another time.)
The once-Potager officially became the Tiny Vineyard in September of last year. Complete with two whole vines, three blueberry shrubs that failed to be happy anywhere else, and four dwarf Highbush Cranberry shrubs that also vetoed every other location I tried them in.
Maybe a better name is the Island of Misfit Toys?
Either way, I am happy to report that the vines made it through winter and are leafing out beautifully. The blueberry shrubs are all far happier looking than they’ve ever been and the dwarf Highbush Cranberries? Well, they seem to be a bit on the dramatic side of the plant spectrum, so whatever they give me I’ll pretend to be happy with. There are leaves, they are green. That’s about it.
The next task is to build proper support structures for each of the vines so that we can train them correctly and maximize yields and harvests. 2 vines is (obviously) not going to turn us into a high-yield winemaking operation, but with a good year and proper pruning- and a bit of luck- we should be able to crank out a gallon or two of each annually.
I plan to supplement the area with some additional beneficial plants, however its been tough figuring out what is a) best for the vines and b) what will logistically work in the space. Many sites suggest peas, clover, hyssops, roses, or blackberries. Of those, only clovers would potentially work given the small space and need for good air flow. However, I’m inclined to use annuals like french marigolds and nasturtiums for the first few years and explore a more permanent cover crop of clover once the vines are well established.
In any event, I am hopeful for this space’s latest iteration and for future grape harvests. Stay tuned and wish us luck!