Fruit Set vs. the Microclimate

The garden is accelerating nicely now, aided by warm sunny days after a rainy start to spring. Even the grapes are producing masses of fruit set, which is the stage after fertilization just as grapes are formed when it kind of looks like a bunch of grapes but in miniature and without the grapes. It’s a time for optimism – maybe this will be the year the grapes finally thrive. But I’ve been here before, and without shading the vines the fruit will wither in August heat.

I planted the grapes early on, with a vision of trellised vines with lovely red grapes dangling down ready for the plucking. But I made a critical mistake back when I planted them; they’re pressed too close to the house, living in a microclimate that is way too hot and dry for them to survive. I tell myself I’ll shade them every year but never get around to it, and so the annual cycle reaches its inevitable conclusion with dried out fruit. But this early burst of fruit set has inspired me anew. This year I’ll put up some shade cloth and harvest some grapes. After this business trip. Or maybe in July… Well, I’ll get to it eventually.

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