Our first ever Sultanas are dried and ready to eat.
The vine covers much of the Southern end of the block and, along with the Olive trees, provides a windbreak for us and some shade for next door. This year, I’ve been training it to cover the rain tanks as well so that that water remains cooler. It’ll eventually provide a living pergola for that area and the entrance to the shed.
There’s just on 500 grams (nearly 18 oz if you still use that measurement) of sundried Sultana grapes in that bowl. Last year, we lost all of the grapes in a freak, very strong, furnace like wind that lasted 2 days.
This year, the vines are more mature and self protecting. All I had to was to net them properly. We picked 6 Kg (13 pounds) of grapes in total but many of these weren’t ripe enough – I panicked after last year’s experiences and picked them all at once, many too early.
We turned 2 kg into juice for making vinegar, gave away a lot, ate 2 kg and the rest went to Sultanas.
This year’s success can be put down to one thing. We kept the water up to the vine this year. In other years, its only been watered when the rest of the garden was watered.
Watering it every two days made it grow faster and stronger. The extra leaves helped shade and cool the increased amount of fruit.
It’s good to have grape vines around the house. Not only do they produce food and shade, their leaves transpire a lot if water which cools the air around and passing over them. They’re natural air conditioners. Check out ‘cooling with our garden‘ on this website to learn how we use plants and garden design to cool our house and ourselves.