Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Gutless grapes

My bunches of grapes have been looking great! Big heavy bunches - all that was missing was a bit of ripening. Trouble is, as soon as there's any colour on a grape they are sucked dry. Prof Google suggested wasps, and indeed a friend also said "wasps". Well I haven't seen any wasps, but apparently that doesn't mean they aren't - well, anywhere! Seems they can even nest in the ground! The same thing happened last year, and I just gave up.

But this year I thought I'd make an effort to achieve some edible grapes. They're a Japanese dessert grape and worth saving!

In an attempt to protect my grapes I netted them but no, still more damage.

A friend's husband who works with grapes suggested wax-eyes, and that I make sure the bottom of the netting is secure. Hmmm, frankly it wasn't, so I went out to tie it to the plants - and out flew three little birds. Wax-eyes. Bugger. Well, probably easier to protect the grapes from birds than wasps, but the grape vines are against a tin fence, and last year when they died back I was quite fascinated to discover a birds' nest, between the tin and the vine, sitting on the horizontal fence supports. What a clever Mama Bird I thought! What a safe place to build a nest!

Well it was also a nest with an on-tap food supply if it was a wax-eye nest! I went looking for it but the vine is too thick in places, so I gave up (again! - this really IS a great place to build a nest!) and decided to concentrate the netting on the half of the vine I have some chance of controlling. Time will tell whether I've been successful! Watch this space!