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Grapes are a delicious long season-crop that not only make a great addition to your little home farm, but their pretty vines are an enchanting garden aesthetic as well. If you take care of the plant in its initial stages, you’ll get a good crop that can yield a harvest for many years.

Grapes can grow in multiple environments, but the key to getting a healthy crop is to choose the right variety that can thrive in your area. Look through varieties of red grapes, like New York Muscat, Boskoop Glory, and Regent, and white grapes such as Muller Thurgau, Foster Seedling, and Schiava Grossa, to find one that will grow in your locality.

Make sure to get grapevine plants that are a year old at most, because these will grow vigorously compared to older ones. Purchase them from a reliable source so you know that you’re getting disease-free plants.

Planting

Set up a sturdy trellis before you get started because your grape vines need support in order to grow vertically. This makes your grape vine less susceptible to attacks by infections or pests. Prep your soil to be, well-drained, loose and free from invaders like weeds.

Before you plant, keep the roots of your grapevine plant moist by wrapping them loosely in a wet burlap sack – this keeps the root system from drying up. For each plant, dig a hole next to a supporting trellis. The hole should have a depth of 13 inches and width of 11 inches.

Add 3 inches of soil before placing your plant, and then add 5 more inches of soil to surround the roots and hold the plant in place. Add the rest of the soil till it reaches your soil line but make sure that it isn’t compressed- leave a good amount of air pockets for circulation.

Improve Quality

During the first few years, the grapevine will have to establish its roots before it’s able to carry the weight of the grapes. Vines shouldn’t be growing any fruit in those years so trimming is important and must be completed before sprouts start to swell. Hence, the best time to get trimming is around mid-spring, during March and April.

You’ll want to trim 4/5th of last year’s increase in growth, at the very least, so that you end up with a good yield. In year one, trim off all the sprouting buds and leave only the most healthy-looking ones. When these buds bloom in the second year, remove surplus flower clusters because they’ll grow and leave buds on all your trail arms.

Unless your garden is suffering from bad soil, don’t fertilize the soil surrounding your grapevine in the first year. You can begin adding small amounts next year. Remember that it’s a bad sign if, in the following years, you begin to observe your grapevine yielding an unusually large amount of grapes. A large number of grape bunches results in bad-tasting grapes. This can be avoided if you make sure to trim off any extra flower clusters that appear odd and remove grape bunches, aside from the ones you selected, that grows.

Harvest during the end-months of summer till the beginning of fall. You’ll know when your grapes are ready for harvest when they have achieved good color and are sweet in taste. This is a no-brainer but doesn’t pick your grapes before they’re fully ripe.

You can check if they’re ready for harvest by tasting a few from different bunches. If you notice that your grapes aren’t growing well, check to see if they’re getting enough sunlight and whether the soil is rich enough in organic matter. Happy farming!

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Change Your Diet: Give Your Liver A Boost

The liver is one of the five vital organs in humans and carries out hundreds of roles in the body. However, the liver is best known as the body’s processing plant, removing toxins from anything you ingest. It is also one of the most forgiving organs, as it has the unique ability to regenerate. However, if the damage is too severe, it cannot recover, and so good care is necessary to support a healthy lifestyle. This article provides five foods known for their liver enhancing capabilities, which are straightforward to introduce into a balanced diet.

Garlic

Garlic is an excellent food to add to your diet for many reasons, but it has particular benefit for liver health. The key component is the sulfoxide alliin, which, when chopped or crushed, converts to the active ingredient allicin. It is this allicin which is understood to have the most effect on liver health, due to its antioxidant properties that help protect the liver from damaging free radicals. Garlic also contains many additional compounds that contribute to reducing liver hypertension and fatty liver disease, making it an excellent choice for maintaining a healthy liver.

Leafy Greens

Nutrient-rich vegetables such as spinach, kale, or chard make a great addition to a liver-friendly diet. They reduce stress on the liver by neutralizing many of the toxins that burden the liver. In doing so, the organ has more time to recover and repair any damage before it becomes permanent. Also, like many vegetables, you can eat as many leafy greens as you want without any negative impact, so they make a great addition to almost every meal.

Green Tea

Green Tea falls on a fine line between benefiting and hindering your liver. In small amounts, it can do wonders for liver health, but it is important not to overdo it, as too much can cause hepatotoxicity. Green tea contains antioxidants known as catechins that have shown to assist and protect the liver. However, too much and the opposite can occur, resulting in permanent damage to the liver. The key is moderation, with the recommendation set at one or two cups a day.

Apples

Yes, an apple a day can help keep the doctor away! The major benefit to liver health comes from a soluble fiber known as pectin, which helps clean the blood by removing toxins and cholesterol. In addition to this, apples also contain compounds known as flavonoids, which stimulate bile production, helping the removal of toxins from the liver.

Turmeric

It seems that turmeric is the answer to virtually every ailment these days, but there has been conclusive research showing that turmeric excels at reversing the effects of some liver disease. Turmeric contains a polyphenol known as curcumin, which has anti-inflammatory properties. This feature prevents overburdening of the liver, which is understood to reduce the risk of fatty liver disease and liver cirrhosis. When these conditions are already present, turmeric has been shown to slow down the progress of these diseases, and, in the case of fatty liver disease, reverse it.

As with any dietary change, it is important to maintain balance and variety in the foods chosen. The key is to substitute the less nutritious parts of your diet with alternatives. By adding some of these five into your daily plan, you should ensure that you have all of the nutrients and vitamins available to maintain a healthy liver.


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