Finished putting in a new vegetable garden. Tomatoes doing fine; lettuce, spinach are up. Bought new red variety of rhubarb for this garden. I have my Dad’s, which was from my grandmother and grandfather’s yard, which I think is Victoria and makes very good sauce, but has mostly green stalks.

Thinking about fruits, I looked at the grapes I planted three years ago and was assured were hardy to zone 4. Boy should I have checked that! Nope; Canadice, Himrod and Concord are only reliably hardy to zone 5. Here, they come up from the root every year, put out a few leaves and vines, but haven’t flourished. They’re puny with absolutely no production. So I’m getting two Swenson grapes from Burpee Seeds. They were $25, which is what I paid for the puny six, but isn’t it true: you get what you pay for. I checked several nursery sites, but zone 4 grapes were all sold out, and this was the time to ship to my area. So out come the old grapes, in come the new.

This grape was developed at the University of Minnesota is is hardy to zone 4 with protection. According to the university site, “Swenson Red was introduced by Elmer Swenson and the University of Minnesota when Mr. Swenson was on the staff at the U of M Horticultural Research Center. This midseason, red, seeded grape is one of the highest quality selections produced by Mr. Swenson with its large clusters, refreshing flavor, tender skin, and crisp texture.” The site also states it is susceptible to powdery mildew.

The Minnesota U grape production program was interesting to read about. I want to get some Vitus Edelweiss white grapes and some Bluebell, but that will have to wait until next year. Isn’t always funny how gardeners, no matter what age, are always looking forward to next year?