Saturday, April 21, 2018

I called a few audibles today

Willow cuttings.  They are male Purple Osier willow.

The swamp.

A nice stand of wild iris.  I did not stick any cuttings where these iris would be shaded.
Can you see the cutting?

The cutting is about 24" long.  They are easy to stick into the muck.  These cuttings were placed to funnel deer traffic by making them feel safe when crossing the swamp.
A selfie to show that the blue jeans got wet while wading in the swamp.
I went looking for Vitis riparia (Riverbank Grapes).  I decided that I want to put in a row of Vidal Blanc grape and they benefit from grafting to a native rootstock.
An audible, in football, is when the quarterback recognizes an opportunity and changes the play on-the-fly.  Mrs ERJ commented that I had room to put in another row of grapes.  Vidal Blanc is one of those grapes that produces great white wine.  It grows from Texas to Nova Scotia.  It is hugely productive (up to 40 pounds per vine!!!).  

Image from Here.
It is resistant to spring frosts by virtue of budding out late AND having fruitful secondary buds.  At Purdue, it has produced 20 pounds per vine after having every primary bud flattened by frost.
Grape vine hardiness is often expressed as LT50. That is the temperature that is lethal for 50% of the fruiting buds.  Based on historical, minimum annual temperatures, I can expect full crops 9 out of every 12 years.

It is not without weaknesses.  It is 3/4 V. vinifera by genetics and shows damage at -10 Fahrenheit.  It also likes to be grafted onto native species rootstocks for longer life.  Today I went cruising to find V. riparia vines to use for rootstock.

Some of these grapes are very productive.

Very, very productive.  Wild grape vines tend to be either male (extremely vigorous) or female (much less vigorous).  I was looking for old, vigorous female plants.

I found a few.

And while driving home, I found a guy who was cleaning out his garage.  Hmmm.  Do you think I should buy them?  Yup.  I called an audible and they followed me home.


  1. ERJ, You won't be disappointed with the bee hive(s) when the honey comes in.

  2. Joe, check out this innovation - maybe you can replicate it somehow. It's pretty damn clever (I've been there with the smoker, the net, the gloves, the hand-crank centrifuge, the bee knees, etc).


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