• Monday, October 26th, 2009

It is possible to grow grapes in the UK as long as you choose grape varieties which are suitable for growing in your region. In my case however I simply bought a rootless stick from a small village market in Languedoc Roussillon for a mere £2.50.

Garden Grapes

Garden Grapes

I chose a red grape variety called Alphonse Lavallée which is well-known as a good accompaniment to cheeses such as Comté or Gruyère for example. I did have second thoughts about buying a red grape variety since I was concerned about the weather in England, in particular the fact that it would need a lot of sun to ripen into red grapes. East Anglia enjoys some of the driest weather in the UK and just £2.50 I was happy to give it a go if only for the decorative quality of the vine.

I planted my twig two and a half years ago in my south facing garden and I have trained it to grow along the top part of a white painted brick shed. I was amazed to see some healthy shoots sprouting from such a small and frail rootless stick.

I have always been told that you need to treat vines in order to avoid diseases of all types and get a good supply of grapes, in particular the Bordeaux mix is a must to prevent black rot. However I was curious to see if I could get a good harvest the organic way.

And I am delighted to say that I harvested about 8 pounds of grapes just before the first frost arrived a couple of weeks ago. A third of it was not quite ripe but it is ripening nicely at home next to the supermarket bananas.

As it was quite a lot of grape to store in so many punnets all at once I tried to make some jelly. I enjoyed making my first ever jam but I did not strain the liquid for long enough to give it a translucent jelly-like quality. Still it makes a nice jam which I have used with the big apples that I bake in the oven (cored & stuffed with jelly). Similarly I can use this jam in an alternative to gravy by mixing a couple of spoons with some white wine and add it to the tray used to cook my Sunday chicken in the oven.

If you are looking for a good grape jelly recipe I recommend the BBC Good Food website which provides easy recipes for beginners like me.

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2 Responses

  1. 1
    David Medd 

    Do you remember, please, where you bought your in the U.K. or did you bring it back from France.

    I am preparing to move house, and planning a new grden and greenhouse, and am investigating varieties which are grown successfully in Northern France, Belgium and Holland. I live in a sheltered area of northern England which gets plenty of sun.


  2. 2
    David Medd 

    Bought in Languedoc! There’s the answer to it. Thank you.

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