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Bringing People and Produce Together™

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You may have heard our slogan, “Bringing People and Produce Together.”  Well on August 19th, we are taking the next bold step toward that goal with some very special news.  With your help, we can bring what most people take for granted – fresh and delicious backyard produce – to a much larger audience.

Stay tuned.

If you subscribed to our news letter you will be among the very first to know.  Watch for an email as we reveal our news.

As always, keep reading, keep gardening, and keep sharing!

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How to grow and prune grape vines

How to grow and prune grape vinesGrape vines are quite easy to grow. The basic elements you will need to successfully grow grape vines are sunshine, a good trellis to support the vines, mulch, and some pruning shears. Here are the steps for how to grow and prune grape vines so that you get years of fruit as a result.

1. Choose your grape

There are numerous grape vines to choose from. Some are good for wines while others are good for eating fresh. Still others have seeds and some varieties don’t. Obviously there are green grapes and red grapes and black grapes too. So, to choose your grape vine, decide what you want to use the grapes for. I choose two varieties that are good for eating fresh and that have no seeds. One type is a green grape and the other is a red grape.

2. Plant your grape

Now that you have selected your grape variety, you will need to choose a location to plant the grape vine. The base of the vine doesn’t necessarily need to be in a sunny place as long as the vines can grow to a location that has sun. My vines are planted in a shady spot along the fence between me and my neighbor’s property. Over the past couple of years, the vines have grown along the fence and the majority of them are now in a full sun location. When you select the location to plant your grape vine, dig a hole twice the diameter of the  pot size that the grape came in. Dig the hole twice as deep as well. Now, amend the soil by adding in some compost and organic fertilizer (composted chicken manure and some blood meal and bone meal works great). Then, plant the grape making sure that the vines will be able to reach the trellis. My grapes are close to a chain link fence and I used the fence as a trellis for the vines. I loosely tied the vines at various points to the fence and then let the vines grow along the top of the fence.

3. Mulch your grape

Once you have planted the grape vine, be sure to add lots of mulch around the base of the plant. I usually try to have about 4 inches deep of mulch around my grapes. This helps to retain moisture and keeps the roots from drying out. Over time, the mulch also breaks down helping to provide some nutrients for the grape vine.

4. Prune your grape

Now, the waiting game starts. Grapes take a few years to get established. Don’t expect to start eating grapes off of the grape vines for at least 2 or maybe 3 years. My grapes are currently in their 3rd year and I finally have a really good crop that set on. Each year, you can prune the grapes by cutting off the little runners and training the vines to go the direction you want them to. My second year of growing grapes, I had a few bundles of grapes set on but they ended up shriveling and falling off. I asked a gardener friend of mine what happened (he is about 75 years old and has been gardening for decades and has lots of delicious grapes every year). He gave me a secret trick that he uses. He prunes the vine 2 nodules past where the grapes are setting. So, this means that wherever you see a bundle of grapes forming, you will want to prune the vine beyond where the grapes are setting by count two nodules past the bundle of grapes (essentially, two leaves past the bundle of grapes). Then, cut the vine off at that point. What this does, he told me, is to allow all of the energy of the grape vine to go into producing the fruit rather than growing the vine itself. I tried this trick this year and it has worked amazingly! I have the best crop of grapes setting on and I’m excited for them to get ripe.

That’s it. Let us know if you have any tips or tricks for growing or pruning grapes that would benefit the TogetherFarm community.

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How to Clean Peas Quickly

Whether you grow your own peas or buy them fresh from your local farmer’s market, knowing how to clean peas quickly can save you a lot of time.  If you are a newbie leaving the world of freezer burned frozen peas behind in favor of fresh produce, here’s a time-saving tip:

Pea Pod

Pea Pod

Step 1:  Each pod has two seams, a light colored seam and a dark colored seam.  Find the dark seam on your pea pod.

The Seam

The Seam

Step 2: Snap the end with the stem and flower and then pull back the thread to the end of the pod.

Pea Snapped

Pea Snapped

Step 3: Run your finger along the inside of the pod over a bowl and the peas will drop into place. Make sure to thoroughly rinse and clean your peas to remove dirt from the garden.

Peas in a pod

Peas in a Pod

There are many great recipes out there for peas, but we simply lightly steamed ours and served them up with garden fresh carrots, roasted potatoes and organic barbecued chicken breasts.   They were extremely sweet and flavorful – no need for butter.  A perfect summer meal.

Other ideas include serving them up in salads, casseroles, pot pies, etc.

Fresh Peas

Fresh Peas

Let us know your time saving tips for prepping produce in our comments section.

 

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