Permaculture solutions

I’ve recently planted a couple of seed-grown grapevines at the rear of the carport. One is a purple grape bought from the greengrocer and the other is an American native species, the Concord, which I grew from seed collected at Louis Glowinski’s garden some years ago (Glowinski is the author of the Complete Guide to Fruit Growing in Australia and his garden was open as part of Victoria’s Open Garden Scheme).

Each one has been planted beside a post. I hadn’t decided how I would train the vines—whether to train each one up the post or put up some sort of wire framework from post to post, which seemed like a lot of work.

I’ve been watching the Permaculture Design Course DVD set I bought recently, and Geoff Lawton was talking about chinampa culture (I’m not going to explain that here—go to Google). Geoff mentioned that chinampa systems can be ‘roofed over’ using lengths of poly pipe, much in the way it’s used to net fruit trees, and vines can be grown over it. At once, the unused length of polypipe which had been lying under the house for ages and the grapevines came together in my mind.

Fifteen minutes work and it was done, and no new materials had to be bought. Instead of fitting the ends of the pipe over smaller stakes, I found a length of slightly larger pipe and hammered a short section into the ground at each end. The 25 mm polypipe fits inside this pipe. A supporting stake in the middle (I’ve sown some climbing beans at the base), and it was done!

The area faces due east, so the vines will receive the full summer sun till midday and then some late sun in the afternoon. In winter, they’ll be shaded by the house, but they’ll be dormant and leafless then. Another good permaculture solution!

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