Friday, March 13, 2015

It's a new year, again.

Pruning Concord Grapes
Perhaps I can do better this year, both in pruning grapes and putting garden information here.

Right now the snow is still pretty deep in the yard, after a particularly snowy and cold winter. One advantage of the deep snow is that I could see and reach over the grape arbor. Before that I did some more research on pruning Concord grapes and this time it made sense to me. I certainly could comply with that part suggesting that about 90% of the growth should be pruned off. The question, of course, was which 10% to leave. I now understand how to leave a spur behind to grow into next year's fruiting canes. But not having understood that before I did not find any one year canes near the "trunk" of the grape plants.

I cut away all the old, dead canes, the small (clearly less than pencil thickness) one-year canes and canes that were right next to, or over, better canes. I think I have left plenty of buds and tried also to leave some single bud spurs that should become next year source of new fruiting canes. If nothing else I felt like I knew what I was doing. I am sure that one big problem last year was so much growth over the arbor that the fruiting canes did not get enough sun. The other problem was leaving too many one year canes. Hopefully I did not do that this year. And equally hopefully I did leave enough one year canes to have a decent harvest. Last year we had 14 lbs of grapes as opposed to 70 lbs the prior year.

Seed starting has started. I started parsley and leeks on March 6th and the leeks are just beginning to break the surface of the soil. I used what is labelled "John's potting soil" but I don't have a clear recollection of what it contains. I know that I froze some vermicompost and I would think that the rest is OCRRA compost.

Tomorrow is scheduled to be a big seed starting day - lettuce, kale, collards, spinach (yes!, starting it inside), peppers, red orach (whatever that is), broccoli, scallions, and some more parsley (because I didn't have the new seeds on March 6th).


  1. I am currently in fact for the last 2 years still confused as to which is which. Its amazing our summers are to hot for broccoli so we grow them through winter. Good luck with your seed planting

  2. Hello John, I am a master's journalism student at SU and was hoping to do a story this friday (11/6/15) about gardening in Syracuse's winter. I found this blog and was wondering if you'd be interested in interviewing. Please let me know today if you would be willing, my email is
    -Amika Osumi