November 20, 2017

Vintage Vine

Concord grapes

Janine Pineo Photo | Concord grapes

A cultivar of Vitis labrusca makes peanut butter sandwiches happy wherever they are. The Concord grape is a native New England plant, first making its debut in 1854 in Concord, Mass. Stemming from some scrappy New England native grapes, this particular variety is a workhorse, growing in difficult conditions fairly easily and requiring not a huge amount of care from the gardener. If your soil can grow vegetables, then you can grow grapes. Just keep in mind, you are in for the long haul, for established grapevines can be in production for 25 years or more if properly cared for. One site says that the Concord is hardy to -15 below zero, but our location has easily seen more than -30 below zero and more, and still the vine thrives. The Concord grape is used for juice and jelly, although they can be eaten fresh, which is a great thing because they pack a punch of grape flavor when fresh. Apart from their food value, grape vines can be quite ornamental, as well.

For a tale of how Garden Maine got its grape on, click here. It’s a story of perseverance and Pliny the Elder. That would be a gardening dude from way back.