Have you ever thought of growing your own grapevine? Not only is it undemanding, easy and prolific, but it also makes a most charming pergola, arch or fence feature.
Its strong growing climb gives a deep and beautiful shaded coverage, where summer lunches seem to taste far more delicious in its shade with the fragrance of ripening grapes overhead.
From my childhood, I still remember the taste and fragrance of the fast ripening Catawba grapes, covering arches to form a spectacular tunnel filled with refreshing shade and beauty as the summer sun got hotter, where Christmas holidays were exciting and filled with laughter.
Today I urge everyone to find a space for a grapevine.
With its leaves, tendrils, skin and luscious juice, the dark purple bunches are tied up in little voile bags that Sandy makes to protect the ripening grapes from wasps, beetles, and birds. The grapes are organically grown and nurtured with home-made compost.
Not only can a tasty tea be made from the leaves and tendrils, but it can be beneficial for your health too, by serving as an anti-cancer treatment, or easing an overloaded liver by relieving excessive heat and clearing toxins from the body.
To make the tea: Pour 1 cup of boiling water over ¼ of a cup of torn up leaves, stems and tendrils, as well as squeezed out grape skins. Let it stand for five minutes, strain it and enjoy. One cup of this tea daily is valuable to your health.
Catawba grape juice: As my children used to say: “Taste this to send your mouth to heaven.”
Squeeze the juice from well washed Catawba grapes pulled off their stems. Discard the skins and strain the juice. Serve it without sugar. Top it up with crushed ice. Remember fructose is richly abundant in grapes – this is a natural sugar – so people with diabetes need to monitor the intake of grapes.
Growing your own grapes is a pleasure and the vines prune easily in winter to keep the growth neat and manageable.
We sell grapevines in our nursery, and also green Catawba vines, which were almost extinct at a point.
- Contact: 012 504 2121, [email protected], www.margaretroberts.co.za
- Note: Never use plants as medicine before consulting your doctor